Greetings from Australia, where I just flew from Brisbane on Qantas and had the best economy experience at an airport ever. I’ve taken a lot of flights in the past few years, so it takes a lot to wow me.
For the first time in a long while, I was absolutely shocked by how good the airport experience was, especially flying in economy. My ticket was an Avios redemption that cost 4,500 miles. It’s a great deal especially close-in, since even a ticket on a low-cost carrier like Jetstar or Tigerair is at least a hundred bucks.
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Domestic flights in economy (or even business), is nothing special flying in coach in North America. NEXUS gives me expedited security lanes. I get lounge access thanks to my status or through the Platinum Card. That’s about it.
Qantas Premium Lounge Entry
At the Qantas terminal in Brisbane, there is a premium security line for business class passengers and elite customers. This isn’t a normal priority lane, but a separate dedicated queue that was very sleek.
Because I have OneWorld Emerald status, I was eligible to use the lane. Security regulations in Australia also allow you to keep your water bottles and liquids through security, which was great.
After security, you enter directly into the lounge area. The Qantas representative checking my boarding pass proactively blocked the seat beside me, so I got an empty middle.
The lounge itself was stunning. It was recently opened in March, and was an excellent space to chill before the flight.
There was a full bar, and excellent hot beverages made by a barista.
There was a food station where you could order hot dishes and a full (alcoholic) bar with excellent hot beverages made by a barista. Thanks to Priority Pass, you could even get a full meal if you wanted at one of the restaurants in the terminal.
Additional Reading: Priority Pass Adds Restaurants in Brisbane and Sydney
All of this, cumulatively, was totally awesome.
Was this the Best Economy Airport Experience Ever?
Yes. There’s nothing like this in North America. With the average flight, you arrive and clear security. Then, the terminal is full of people around the gate areas and shops, and the lounge is mediocre.
With my flight, everything was new. The premium entry path was fantastic, and the lounge was solid. On top of that, I had free a la carte food in the terminal.
In my opinion, this experience would be well above average for an international business class flight. To get this as a domestic economy passenger? Amazing. Other than the accessing the Lufthansa First Class terminal as HON Circle, I think there are very few scenarios that can match this spectacular pre-flight experience.