The Qantas Club – Jetset or Jolimont? (Part III)
by The Editor
Darwin – 0045 Friday
Much like the rest of Darwin, the airport’s Qantas Club seems to live by its own set of rules. Take for example the opening hours – It seems there is no continuous three-hour period the facility is open, rather doing obscure sessions in the morning, during the afternoon and very late at night. Due to poor scheduling in my diary, I had no choice but to fly back east on the horrendous 0145 flight via Sydney, a time and route that in every way prevents a traveller from any meaningful sleep.
It’s the middle of the dry season, so the airport is heaving, despite being almost one in the morning. Stumbling through the perennially inefficient security process, I make my way up the escalator, past the hordes slumped on the blue vinyl benches and make a beeline for the Club, hidden in the corner almost so as not to attract any more attention than is necessary. Good thing, too. As soon as I make my way past reception I quickly realise, similar to the main lounge, this place is filled to the gills.
I sigh, slump my shoulders and head for the coffee machine. Given the hour, I’m hardly surprised it’s receiving little attention. The bar on the other hand is doing a roaring trade with men in shorts queuing for free, chilled beverages. I grab one of the now uniform cups, shove it under the coffee dispenser (paying no attention whatsoever to the brand of machine), and hit ‘Flat White’. A sorry stream of steamy liquid pools in the cup, and I take it across the room, noticing as I do the décor looks worse than Canberra before it was renovated.
Spying a spare seat opposite a fat bloke in a Jack Daniel’s shirt, I wander across, ask him if he minds, then sit in the dilapidated chair. Due to the darkness no view can be had out the windows at the end of the room. There’s still forty minutes until my flight. Four men dressed like their wives weren’t watching laugh loudly about some sort of fish they caught. I sigh and sip the coffee, wishing immediately I hadn’t. One more sip confirms my suspicions, and that’s were I leave it in case the caffeine prevents me from sleeping on the Sydney leg.
And so I wait.