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TRIP REPORT: Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney, July 2022

TRIP REPORT: Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney, July 2022
Series: Trip: New Zealand 2022

After the indignity of the closed First Class Check-in, we moved through immigration’s Express Lane, and on to security. Very efficient, although it would have been nice to have those new bag scanners that don’t require the unpacking of computers, electronic devices and liquids. Time for Sydney Airport to make a little investment in T1, although I bet they will wait till they are fully privatised before upgrading.

After some obligatory Duty-Free shopping – the shops were virtually empty – we headed for the escalator to take us up to the Qantas First Lounge so we could indulge in a much-needed breakfast.

a black sign with white text and numbers
One of several retro flight boards. Ours is QF161 to Wellington

Introduction: Qantas International First Class Lounge, Sydney

I had forgotten how great this lounge is in the 2 years without international travel, however, the hardware is showing its age, and could do with a little TLC, maybe a refresh and some maintenance.

On the service and food front, everything is up to scratch, in our experience, from the glass of Tattinger champagne, through to the Signature breakfast.

a group of people standing in a room with plants on the wall

Location

The Qantas First Class Sydney lounge is located up the escalators to the left if you are heading out of the security and passport control area through the Duty Free shops before the entrance to gates 24 & 25 and 30 to 37. Its the first lounge you pass, with its frosted hexagon patterned glass doors, with a tropical living wall behind it. You follow the curve of that luscious wall, and up a further set of escalators until you reach the semi circular lounge overlooking the airport apron.

a large room with windows and tables

I had forgotten what great plane spotting can be achieved from the lounge – given its view of runways and airport apron.

a plane on the runway
Planes being towed from their gate, planes taking off and aircraft being fueled and loaded
an airplane on the runway
JAL 787 at the gate

Design

I love the 2007 Marc Newson / Woods Bagot design of this lounge, from the retro departure flip boards to the living wall, to the chairs and marble bathrooms.

a room with a red counter and chairs

However it is beginning to look its age. Maintenance hasn’t been what it should have been during the 2 years of closure after the pandemic started. Qantas needs to attend to this upkeep issue, even if it is planning a refresh or refurbishment soon.

a metal knobs on a marble surface
Missing coat pegs in the bathrooms

That said, the design means the wear and tear on the leather and wood work is minimal, and those red laquered consoles mainly look as good as the day they were installed. The marble bar looks as sleek and modern as it ever did. It’s really only the coffee and side tables that look the worse for wear. Maybe the should be replaced?

a bar with many bottles on shelves
The bar.

Food & Drink

It was breakfast time, and we were offered a glass of Tattinger the moment we sat down in one of the dining areas. My standard rule is never to say no to champagne. A rule I was willing to honour.

a bowl of oatmeal with a spoon
Bircher Muesli

I followed that with some Neil Parry Bircher Muesli, a flat white and a Signature Breakfast with poached eggs.

a plate of food on a table

I had been up since about 4:30 am, so by 8am this substantial and delicious breakfast hit the spot. I love freshly made Bircher muesli, and who doesn’t love an expertly cooked full breakfast full of quality ingredients, especially when it is cooked by someone else.

I wasn’t quick enough in getting an image of the breakfast menu, but here is the All Day dining menu:

a menu of a restaurant

Bathrooms

The bathrooms were much as I remember them from my last visit, back in 2017, but maybe a little worse for wear if those coat hooks are anything to go by.

a bathroom with a sink and a mirror
Back in 2017 the bins had no dings in them – unlike today.

Marble stains easily, but yellow stains on the floor in a toilet are not a good look, even if what you think maybe the cause of the stain is not the origin . . . need I say more?

WiFi

Is hot and strong in the lounge, and the log-in process has been simplified, although there is an obligatory ad animation to watch before connection is complete.

a group of people sitting at tables in a room with a wall and ceiling

Comfort

The lounge is extremely comfortable whether you choose the dining area, or the lounge areas. It wasn’t full by any means, but it was doing a brusque traffic in departures during our visit.

a group of people in a room
Those glassed areas are private rooms, reportedly not well airconditioned and therefore stuffy

Departure

There was a time when no announcements were made in the lounge, and an attendant would come and find you when your flight was due and advise you when to leave depending on you departure time and location of your gate. No more. Departure announcements are now made, which slightly alters the atmosphere of the lounge. Maybe that practice will return once staffing is fully restored, or maybe back in 2017 it was only offered to those actually traveling in First Class, instead of those who achieved entry by loyalty status – like me.

Our flight was delayed by about 30 minutes by the time we departed the lounge, with some further delays totalling an hour before we took off. If I suffered any more than an hours delay on an international flight, I would choose to spend it here in this beautiful lounge, being attended to with excellent food and drink.

a large white and marble room with a staircase and escalator
Entrance, escalator, entrance desk and lounge (Qantas supplied image)

2PAXfly Takeout

I love digital, except when my phone dies, which happened to me on the last night of my recent visit to New Zealand

Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I love this lounge, and I was looking forward to visiting it again, after that pleasure was denied us on our early morning departure to Fiji back in February of this year.

It’s a splendid lounge, with catering that is better than what Qantas and Neil Perry offer in the air, in my opinion. The staff are fantastic and attentive, although maybe there were fewer available than pre-pandemic.

Next time I’m here, I’ll get a spa treatment, if an appointment is available. This time, no time. Breakfast was more important.

I look forward to my next visit, hoping that those maintenance issues have been attended to. I hope I fly enought in the coming months and years, that I become tired of this lounge. Wouldn’t that be a treat.

Other Posts in the Series
<< TRIP REPORT: Heading to New ZealandTRIP REPORT: Qantas 737 Business Class from Sydney to Wellington, New Zealand >>

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