Brisbane Airport (BNE) is the primary international airport serving Brisbane and South East Queensland. The international terminal has five airport lounges. We review which lounge is best, whether you are flying Business Class or if you are a Priority Pass or Lounge Pass member.
Once you arrive in Brisbane, we have reviewed the best hotel executive club lounges in Brisbane and the best lounges on the Gold Coast. In our top position is the Air New Zealand lounge, which has great views and great food.
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can access lounges at this airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. Air New Zealand, Star Alliance lounge
Access to this lounge is granted to Business and First Class passengers flying Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways. You can also get in if you are an Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite, and Elite Priority One member or a Star Alliance Gold, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club, or United Club cardholder and are flying on a Star Alliance flight.
Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum, and Exclusive members, and Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum, and The Club members can additionally access this lounge if they are heading out on an Etihad Airways flight.
Just to be confusing, Star Alliance Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers can choose between the Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand lounges, so we look at which is best so you know which you should pick at Brisbane Airport. Spoiler alert: The Air New Zealand lounge has better food and views and is the one to pick if you have the choice.
The Air New Zealand Star Alliance lounge is a great lounge. It has light flooring and stylish black and pinky seating arranged around dining tables with armchairs and couches as well as small booths on the side. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out at the planes, and almost every seat has an AC and USB power points.
The buffet looks really smart in terms of food, and there is plenty of it, ideal for filling up preflight. You can choose from pastries, muffins, croissants, and fruit, as well as a really great selection of sandwiches and wraps containing delicious fillings like smoked salmon and chicken. There’s a hot offering at breakfast, which includes sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, and beans. There’s also an espresso and coffee machine and fridges containing soft drinks.
There are also plenty of spirits, wine, sparkling wine (Dulcet), and beer and cider in the fridge. The bathrooms are immaculate and include shower rooms which means that this lounge ticks all the boxes. It is a great airport lounge and definitely one of the best in Brisbane airport.
2. The Emirates Lounge
Access to this lounge is granted to Business and First Class passengers flying Emirates. Passengers who are flying on Emirates and who are also Skywards Gold, Platinum as well as Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One, and Chairman’s Lounge members also get access. If you are flying on Qantas, Qantas Gold cardholders and above, and Skywards Gold members and above get access depending on your final destination.
Australian Emirates Citi World Mastercard holders may also use one of their two yearly complimentary lounge passes for access when flying Emirates. Skywards members can also buy access at the door for around $100 USD (ouch!). Anyone else can buy access for around $140 USD (as long as they are flying with Emirates or on an Emirates codeshare flight operated by Qantas). It’s hard to imagine any lounge access being worth this kind of fee.
The Emirates Lounge at Brisbane Airport lounge is located near Gate 75, where their A380 is always parked. This enables lounge passengers to board directly from the lounge.
This lounge is lovely and light with floor-to-ceiling windows, and there’s a business area with booths and computers and a printer, a bar area with spirits set out, and a fridge of beer. There’s an ice bucket with Moet & Chandon and white wines, and red wine is placed next to the spirits.
There’s a wall of magazines, and the tan leather seating is set out, living room style, next to the big windows, so you have nice views of the planes.
A tiled dining area can be found to one end of the lounge and offers a nice array of food with fresh fruits, cold cuts, cheeses, cereals in little boxes, and little plates of cold meals (beef, boiled egg, and gherkin on a plate). There are some delicious bagels, including smoked salmon and cut fruit, and yogurt.
The massive advantage of this lounge is the aerobridge which takes you directly onto the A380, which is about to leave. This means that if you are flying on this Emirates flight, you should only pick this lounge.
Personally, we prefer the look and feel of the Air New Zealand lounge. It feels more modern, and we prefer the food selection in the Air New Zealand lounge. We also really love the fact that the Air New Zealand lounge has so many power outlets.
3. Qantas International Business Lounge
Access to this lounge is granted to Business and First Class passengers flying Qantas, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Air Vanuatu, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, and Philippine Airlines.
Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge, Oneworld Sapphire, and Emerald frequent flyers such as AAdvantage Platinum, frequent flyers who are about to fly on Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, China Eastern, or Oneworld flights can also access this lounge. American Airlines Admirals Club members traveling with Qantas on a QF or AA flight number can also access this lounge.
This three-level lounge has a barista coffee bar, a buffet area, and lots of seating downstairs. Upstairs you will find more seating, more floor-to-ceiling windows, and the full buffet with showers and toilets. On the top floor, you have a buffet and a dedicated service bar where you can ask for the lounge’s ‘plate of the day’, which the wait staff will deliver.
One disadvantage of this lounge is that most of the lovely floor-to-ceiling windows look down onto the airport concourse and then out to the planes beyond, so you are quite a way from the tarmac from most of the windows in this lounge.
The top and bottom floors of this lounge only seem to be open in the mornings (until 11 am) while the middle level is open all day and is the floor with the main bar where you can request free Perrier-Jouët Champagne depending on your class of travel and elite status with Qantas. There are also all the usual spirits, sparkling wine, and beers. This strange opening of the upper and lower levels of the lounge is simply because most Qantas flights leave in the mornings, so the lounge needs extra capacity in the mornings.
The buffet on the middle floor is extensive with hot and cold options. For breakfast, expect pancakes created by a machine, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, yogurts, cereals, and fresh fruit. There is also juice and soft drinks. For lunch, there are big bowls of salad and noodles that you can help yourself to. There are also soups and chicken and vegetable dishes (truly delicious ones!).
This is a great lounge with the disadvantage that Champagne is only available to Qantas Platinum One frequent flyers and above.
4. Plaza Premium Lounge
The Plaza Premium Lounge is opposite the Air New Zealand lounge. Access to this lounge is granted to Business and First Class passengers flying China Airlines, China Southern, EVA Air, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Nauru Airlines, Samoa Airways, and Solomon Airlines.
You can also access this lounge if you are a Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyer, flying on Malaysia Airlines. SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers flying with China Airlines, China Southern, and Korean Air
and Star Alliance Gold passengers flying with EVA Air can also access this lounge.
Best of all, even if you are flying in Economy, members of Priority Pass, Dragonpass, and LoungeKey get access to this lounge along with those flyers holding an AMEX Platinum Charge Card, AMEX Centurion Card, and Diners Club-issued Diners Club cardholders. Non-members can buy access for around $40 USD.
But is this Plaza Premium lounge any good? For a start, it looks really nice and has floor-to-ceiling windows. I prefer the look of this lounge to the Emirates lounge, although I find the Air New Zealand lounge and Qantas lounges aesthetically nice.
This lounge has super rustic wood partitions and lots of lovely greenery. The seating is fun, a mix of hanging seats and sofa seats in partitioned-off areas. Usefully, almost all the seating has access to AC and USB power points.
Food and drink wise, a really nice perk of this lounge is the complimentary barista-made coffee instead of the usual self serve machine. The buffet food here is excellent with hot and cold options. The breakfast buffet includes hot baked tomato, scrambled eggs, Singapore Noodles with vegetables, chicken sausages, rice, and an Asian breakfast dish. There are also salads, cut and whole fruit, pastries, and delicious desserts with whipped cream on top. After lunch, there are various bolognese and pasta dishes as well as Asian rice dishes. This is one of the best food selections I have experienced in any Plaza Premium lounge around the world.
Alcohol is chargeable for guests who enter the lounge using Priority Pass, which is a major disadvantage for many travelers. If your access is provided by an airline or your AMEX Platinum or Centurion Card for entry, alcohol is free. They have the usual selection of spirits, wines, and beers within the lounge.
5. Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge is close to the Air New Zealand and Plaza Premium lounges. Access to this lounge is granted to Business and First Class passengers flying Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air China, EVA Air, and Thai Airways, as well as high-level members of relevant frequent flyer programs.
This lounge is smart with a “Singapore Airlines” look. It was recently refurbished (2016) and offers a very decent buffet with satay sticks, Singapore noodles, cheeses, cold cuts, fried chicken wings, Roti, smoked salmon, and wraps. There’s a coffee machine, fridges full of soft drinks, juices, and alcoholic drinks, including wine, beer, and spirits. While there is plenty to eat here, the variety and appeal (mainly cold) are not as good as the other lounges in Brisbane airport. Hence its position at number 6.
The picture above was taken from the House Lounge at Sydney Airport.
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