The Qantas Club – Jetset or Jolimont? (Part II)
by The Editor
Adelaide – 0730 Thursday
The 2005 redevelopment of Adelaide airport was a Godsend. The previous facility was so abject even Goulburn would have spurned it. Given the concourse of the new building exists in two seemingly endless wings, finding the entrance to the lounges is easy, especially if one has packed binoculars.
Reception is much more traditional, with a pair of bright young things flashing teeth pearly enough to match their earrings. Waving my membership card and ticket, I join the procession of suits and skirts making their way as quickly as possible from the ugg-boot catwalk that is the main concourse.
Ah… How’s the serenity?
The most immediate offering in the lounge is the thirty or so shiny aluminium iMacs arranged in stations of three for members to utilise at their leisure. It’s a complete service, with the option of using the native Apple operating system or, for those who prefer ugly plastic boxes without a sense of aesthetic, Windows 7 is also available.
The lounge lacks the openness of Canberra, with bar spearing the space between the entry and a second, larger seating area. Straight ahead are large windows, with an ill-considered view of the departures flyover, perhaps intended to remind guests they made the correct choice in leaving Adelaide. It looks woefully industrial in the cloudy morning gloom, a vista enlivened only by the appearance of huddled of workers in high-viz jackets smoking cigarettes. It’s a truly depressing scene.
Newsom’s design looks a little tired after six years. Mulling over the space while munching on some honey and cardboard, with my back to the bar, the space on this side of the lounge is admittedly well organised with a similar range of natural colours and textures in the more modern Canberra style. There certainly is room to move, with Qantas following an apparent commitment to sacrifice at least some of their profit for increased comfort. With a short stopover there is only one thing left to do: try the coffee
I walk around to the machine, located behind the bar on the entry side of the lounge. There is a queue of fellow addicts waiting patiently for their hit, and as I take my place at the end, I’ve time to watch the whole process a number of times. It goes something like this:
- Grab a cold cup from the stack to the left. You’ll notice the vessel is smaller than your average shot glass, so don’t lose it under your sugar sticks.
- Place the cup on the drip tray. This is a Franke push button affair, so read carefully.*
- Select your brew. Options include Espresso, long black, decaf flat white, etc. No latte, no macchiato here.
- Wait for the reconstituted milk to fill the remaining millilitres in your cup and slink away to your with shoulders slumped, and just be bloody grateful for what you’ve got. There are people starving in Africa for Christ’s sake.**
Looking glumly at the cup in front of me, the process has removed any hope or expectation. Sure, it looks like a coffee, but
The first sip has the usual bitterness, enhanced by the lingering taste of honey, but I push on through the pain. My immediate reaction is it reminds me of a rotting lemon, so tart and bitter on the palate. Thankfully, this assault softens, and by the third sip I am left with only with endless bitterness that barely recedes between sips. This is masochism in every way – pain delivering what the body craves. Hell, there’s probably a DVD about it on sale in Fyshwick
Having duly suffered for my art I make my way back past the coffee queue, comprised of the ignorant and the slow-to-learn, out of the lounge and back onto the melee of the concourse. My flight is boarding. It would be another three hours before I turned on my phone to discover this:
*A note to Qantas: The typography on the machine’s buttons was so close to Comic Sans you would do well to never let Mr Newsom within sight of the thing lest he heave the whole operation out the window onto the taxi-rank below.
**You’ll feel better, anyway.