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One thing I know for certain….. Australians really know how to do a good, quality domestic lounge.
- Introduction and Trip Planning
- LAX Oneworld First Class Lounge
- Qantas A380 LAX to SYD Economy
- Park Hyatt Sydney Part I
- Sydney Qantas Business Lounge
- Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas
- Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
- Cairns Qantas Club Lounge
- Park Hyatt Sydney Part II
- Exploring Sydney
- Sydney Qantas International First Class Lounge
- Qantas 747 SYD to LAX Economy
After a fantastic first few nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney, we hopped back on the train headed towards the airport to catch a flight up to Cairns, the largest airport near the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the bright spots in the new Avios award redemption chart is domestic Australian flights on Oneworld’s Qantas. Availability was wide open when I checked BA.com so we went with a mid afternoon flight on a 767 as opposed to a flight on one of the smaller aircrafts that service this route. The cost of this trip in each direction was 10,000 Avios points and 27 USD in tax per person. The Qantas flights were pricing out well over 500 USD roundtrip per person so this was a good value for Avios.
Upon reaching the Domestic Terminal stop on the train, we disembarked and headed through a few long corridors until reaching the sleek and modern domestic terminal. The architect definitely used a less is more approach here with just a few check-in kiosks and lots of open space.
We skipped the kiosks and opted to use an agent at the desk to drop off our luggage. We had hoped to carry on my small-ish Tumi rollerboard however the agent asked me to weigh it and noted it did not meet the strict 15 pound limit.
As is fairly common on non-US domestic flights, security was a breeze and did not require any of the oft-frustrating policies such as liquids out, shoes off, and laptops separate.
The domestic terminal is Sydney is rather compact so it was just a short walk through a door and up an escalator to find the Business Lounge, which I have access when flying Economy as a Oneworld Emerald member.
We showed our boarding passes to the desk who directed us into the Business Lounge. There is also a Qantas Club lounge here though we did not check it out.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect from a domestic lounge but our first impression was, WOW, this is WAY better than the Oneworld FIRST CLASS Lounge in LAX that we had recently visited.
This lounge has a stylish, contemporary design. It was hard to believe this was domestic. We did a quick tour of the facility and found lots of open seating including couches, elevated tables for dining, a business center, and shower rooms.
A nice self-service buffet was set out with hot dishes along with a large open bar with draft beers, wines and bottled drinks.
At this point we ran into our first major hiccup of the trip.
Fortunately, with a little patience we were able to weather the storm (wait 15 minutes) and grab a few brews and watch a few ‘roos. My favorite kind of Lunch.
After about an hour of open bar, we dished up a few plates of food before heading for the gate.
The approximately 3 hour domestic flight up to Cairns was smooth and uneventful. Qantas provides meals and yummy frozen inflight snacks on these flights. We had filled up on the lounge food which was better but felt obliged to give the Economy food selection a try. No complaints.
We touched down at beautiful Cairns airport in the mid-afternoon and headed straight for baggage claim to pick up our bags and give driving on the left side of the road a whirl.
The bottom line
The real takeaway for me was how much nicer this domestic lounge in Australia was over some International First and Business Class lounges I have experienced in the US and other locations. While the selection and experience didn’t quite match up with the world class International First Class Lounges, the space is so stylish and comfortable that its easy to forget that this is just domestic. Furthermore, this is a great reminder of how valuable Oneworld Emerald status can be. The Qantas Business Lounge in Sydney is a fantastic lounge to be given complimentary access while on an award ticket in Economy Class.
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