The Qantas First lounge at Sydney T1 International is the Australian carrier’s flagship lounge, designed by Sydney-born Marc Newson and first opened in May 2007.
Opening Times: 5.00am to 10.00pm
Multi-standard Power Sockets: No (Australian three-pin)
USB Charging Sockets: Yes
The Qantas First Lounge at Sydney International is on level 4 of the airside departures area, past immigration and security. Follow the signs to the Qantas lounges which will direct you up the escalator from the main shopping concourse to level 3.
The first lounge entrance is immediately on the left, where your boarding card will be checked. This leads you along a wide corridor with an impressive 30 metre long vertical garden by French Botanist Patrick Blanc. At the end of this corridor – a second set of escalators brings you to level 4 which take you to the main lounge reception.
This lounge is available to passengers flying on a Qantas or Emirates flight, or on a oneworld member operated flight:
- in First class; or
- in Business, Premium Economy or Economy class and holding Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status, Emirates Platinum Skyward status or oneworld Emerald status.
This lounge is also available to passengers flying on an China Eastern or Jetstar flight:
- in Business, Premium Economy or Economy class and holding Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status.
We reached the lounge around 8.20am and were warmly welcomed by the reception staff and advised to remain in the lounge until boarding for our flight was called. Two things struck us when we first entered:
- The lounge is large and filled with natural light from the huge floor to ceiling windows running along the entire side, with great views of the runway and parked aircraft.
- The lounge was already really busy.
Despite operating for over 10 years, the lounge design still feels fresh. This is largely thanks to the timeless influences from Marc Newson. More details on his inspirations can be found here.
“Marc used sculptural wooden dividers made from European oak to separate the long space into open, bay-like sections; aerodynamically shaped, like a section of an airplane’s wing, these open frames highlight the curve of the ceiling and slope of the window wall, and give definition to the entire space while creating a sense of intimacy and privacy by dividing the space into smaller areas.”
The Wi-Fi in this lounge is easy to join, just select the Qantas First Lounge network then accept the terms.
By a long way – our lounge Wi-Fi speed record holder, despite how busy it was at the time (around 8.45am). We recorded a Wi-Fi speed pretty close to our fibre connection at home in Singapore and there was no issue at all remaining well-connected throughout this lounge.
As a point of comparison, we achieved about 5Mbps download and upload speeds during our last visit to the Singapore Airlines T3 KrisFlyer lounge (still good – but not a patch on this).
À la carte dining is the main focus of the Qantas first class lounge, and three of the ten or so ‘sections’ of the facility, each with a huge window vista, are dedicated to the restaurant area.
Two of these sections are directly alongside one another, with a single section a bit further down.
Simply approach the staff at one of the restaurant areas to be seated and they will try to accommodate you, even if that means finding you a seat in one of the emptier restaurants.
We managed to secure a table in the furthest restaurant section from the lounge entrance, but by that stage all the window seats were taken as other guests had clearly arrived nice and early to enjoy breakfast.
The extensive à la carte breakfast menu featured a variety of lighter and heavier food options, plus an extensive drinks list including a couple of morning cocktails and three Champagnes.
Having skipped breakfast at the hotel in anticipation of a food-filled day, we opted for the Eggs Benedict and the Signature Breakfast.
The Eggs Benedict was good, without being as exceptional as it looked. Nicely presented but the egg yolks weren’t runny enough for my personal preference, and by the time it reached the table it wasn’t that hot.
The ‘Signature Breakfast’ on the other hand was excellent, perfectly cooked, hot and well presented, not to mention very tasty and a generous portion size.
For those on the go with a bit less time for full-service dining, there are a number of self-service breakfast bars throughout the lounge stocked with a variety of lighter options alongside tea and coffee machines.
By 9am some long queues had started to form for a table in the restaurant sections, and the dining bar remained fully occupied, so we’d certainly advise to try and get to the lounge earlier than this if you don’t want to wait.
Children are also catered for in the lounge with their own menu, comprising the following items:
Breakfast (until 11am)
All Day Dining (after 11am)
For those interested in the ‘All Day Dining’ menu – which actually means Lunch and Dinner and is served after 11am – here’s a copy from High Tech Flight’s review from July 2017:
Do be aware though that the ‘All Day Dining’ options are regularly rotated, while we understand the Breakfast menu remains relatively similar all year.
There are serving staff throughout the lounge who will take drinks orders and deliver directly to your seat, so there’s no need to approach the bar directly if you’ve already found a comfy spot. They will of course happily oblige and pour you a drink of your choice from the extensive selection if you wish.
There is also the option to dine at the bar area, looking directly into the kitchen where the cook to order food is prepared.
Some of the seating areas furthest from the main bar are equipped with their own manned bar areas stocked with the most popular drinks including all three varieties of champagne, which should make delivery of your pre-flight fizz an expeditious affair no matter where in the lounge you’re sitting.
Rotating Flap Flight Display Boards
One of the standout features of this lounge are the split-flap departures display boards, the largest of which is in the main entrance atrium with smaller installations in other parts of the lounge. Marc Newson included these “to remind visitors of bygone days of travel”, and they are certainly a great focal point.
Fans of the traditional departures display board at Singapore Changi Terminal 2 will know exactly what we’re talking about here.
Various seating options are available throughout the lounge to suit various user requirements. Dining areas have sensibly sized tables and upright wood and leather chairs. Red and brown ‘easy chairs’ are situated in banks. Some of these face out towards the aircraft parking area and consequently are the most coveted and slightly worn.
The single leather chairs also have a comfortable recline function if you want to take some rest.