The Best Economy Class Airport Experience Ever

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.

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport

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.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

BA Avios Redemption

Avios is transferrable at a 1:1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards. There are four charge cards which earn these points, all with increased bonus offers which may change any time. AMEX has also just improved their application eligibility requirements, making it easier for many people to obtain a card.

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.

Brisbane Qantas Lounge Entrance

Brisbane Qantas Lounge Entrance

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.

Qantas Business Lounge Brisbane

Qantas Business Lounge Brisbane

The lounge itself was stunning. It was recently opened in March, and was an excellent space to chill before the flight.

Qantas Brisbane Business Lounge

Qantas Brisbane Business Lounge

There was a full bar, and excellent hot beverages made by a barista.

Qantas Business Lounge Latte

Qantas Business Lounge Latte

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

Priority Pass Brisbane

Priority Pass Brisbane

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.

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  1. Yes, nothing like it in the US because the airlines and US business models like to make the experience suck unless you shell out big money. Can’t last, won’t last. Glad you enjoyed your flight.

  2. Jeff

    I think that this article is misleading – you did not describe the best economy experience but the best One World EMERALD experience. You never did describe the economy experience which was the flight itself.

    I agree that the lounge experiences in Australia can be awesome compared to anything in the US and even better that AC Maple Leaf Lounges – but this has nothing to do with the titled Economy Experience because the lounges are closed to economy passengers without status.

    • Your article is still misleading. It’s the “best economy AIRPORT EXPERIENCE” if and only if you have OneWorld status. This is a premium ground services review, not the standard economy class airport experience review.

    • Sorry to pursue this but an economy passenger does not have access to the lounge. Your elite status gets access. An economy passenger without status (like most economy passengers) cannot get this experience.

      • Have to agree with Alan on this one. The first thing that I thought of when I read the title was the standard economy passenger experience at the airport.

        Not the OneWorld status or lounge pass experience

        I went from thinking.. hmmm I need to check this out.. to ooh I need status to experience this

        • Yes, I thought the same thing as you and the others. This is not an economy experience. This is an elite experience.

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