There are great airline lounges. The Capital One Lounge in DFW, for example. It’s my favorite lounge in the USA right now.
But then there are the world-class airline lounges. You know, the ones spoken about only in hushed tones:
Singapore’s The Private Room at Changi
Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai
Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal at Frankfurt
Cathay Pacific’s The Pier and The Wing at Hong Kong
and probably none can compare to the enormity of Qatar’s Al Safwa Lounge at Doha.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit most of them, and they’re all great in their own ways.
Qantas has a First Class Lounge at Sydney which has warranted mention among the greats, historically. I was in Sydney recently and gave the lounge a visit to see if it still deserved to keep such elite company.
For the video portion, check out a fancy Reel I created on the ol’ Instagram account, which you should be following:
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The Qantas First Class Lounge at SYD
The entryway into the First Class Lounge has long been legendary for its enormous Living Wall.
After the Living Wall you take an escalator up into the main lounge area. The First Class Lounge isn’t the biggest lounge, and it hasn’t really been updated over the years, but, honestly, it doesn’t need it.
The entry foyer has the famous old-school split-flap display of Oneworld flights leaving soon. Call me a child but I sat there and watched it for a few minutes.
The lounge area consists mostly of a large semicircle. The semicircle is split into different areas by huge vertical boundaries which emulate the structure inside an airplane wing. These area separators are the genius behind the Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney. The areas are either general seating or restaurant “zones” and each area has its own customer-facing staff.
As a self-appointed Lounge Scientist, I love this service model. It caps the number of guests each team member looks after and gives them obvious boundaries for the physical space they need to cover.
I checked in with the host at one of the dining areas and grabbed a seat facing the tarmac in front of me. Champagne was promptly proffered, chosen, and dispensed.
I chose a Qantas classic for my appetizer: salt and pepper squid.
It was exquisite! Fried without feeling too dense, the salt and pepper squid has some wonderful dipping sauces with just a hint of heat to bring the flavors alive.
For the main dish I selected the glazed pork belly rice dish. At first glance it was a weird choice because I was flying into Asia, but it had been forever since I had a good glazed pork belly.
The flavors were wonderful! I did not eat much great food during my trip to Sydney so it was nice to have some powerful flavors before getting on a long flight.
Last, but certainly not least, was dessert, a brookie ice cream sandwich.
It was simple and tasty, a nice complement to a meal with such bold flavors.
After lunch, I had a few hours to kill in the lounge. I explored the various seating areas and caught up on life back home.
The leather chairs in the lounge are IMMENSELY comfortable, having been well-worn over the years.
I inquired at the front desk about the possibility of a massage (they complimentary massages are just wonderful at this lounge) but unfortunately they were not offered to me since I was flying British Airways and not on Qantas.
I grabbed a final picture as my flight time drew near.
I made my way back to the terminal for the rather long walk over to the British Airways departure gate for their Kangaroo Route to London via Singapore.
How does the lounge hold up today?
This is still one of the best airline lounges in the world. The Qantas First Class Lounge does not have the extreme furnishings of Al Safwa or The Pier
Going to be in Dohar in March any good lounges there? Flying on Qatar Airlines Business Class.
Yep! The Al Mourjan Business Class lounge is amazing, but you should be able to buy up into the Al Safwa First Class Lounge which is hard to describe, it’s like a museum!
The split-flap display is called a Solari board.