Sydney – 0615 Friday
Usually one is grateful when a tailwind results in early arrival at the desired destination. In this case, I felt hard done by, an early arrival meaning denial of an extra twenty minutes sleep on the flight from Darwin and being forced to add that time to my Sydney stopover. Disembarking the Qantas Club is almost directly opposite the gate from which I have just emerged. Without any hesitation I make my way towards the large, frameless glass sliding doors and scoot up the escalators in pre-dawn silence.
This is one of Qantas’ flagship lounges, situated as it is in the air transport hub of Australia. A world city with visitors from all points of the compass, the international reputation of the company must exude from every pore of the space they occupy in Terminal 3. One imagines, from a branding point of view, this is the place where Qantas must invest a lot of energy. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
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? Read the rest of this entry »
Multi-national brands dedicate significant resources to ensuring consistent branding and user experience around the globe. In the highly competitive aviation market, Qantas has remained a consistently strong performer through the ten years since September 11, and particularly through the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.
It is as safe as the airline’s record to say in the modern age of cut-price airfares, air travel has lost the glamour of the days of old. No longer the domain of the jetset, pilots seem these days more glorified bus drivers than masters of flight.
With these facts in mind, the Canberran spent 24 hours travelling 7,000 kilometres to check out four of the Qantas Club lounges. Were they more Jolimont Centre than realms of exclusivity? The highs and lows of our cross-country jaunt after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »