Flying Qantas First Class - Photo: Mal Muir |

Flying Qantas First Class – Photo: Mal Muir |

I was beginning my day off the way any premium cabin passenger should; spending time in the lounge prior to my flight.  But this wasn’t just any lounge and this wasn’t just any flight.  For two and a half years I had dreamed and worked towards this day.  I had been earning Qantas points purely for this reason:  First Class flight on a Qantas Airbus A380.

Arriving at Melbourne Airport I was dropped off in front of the dedicated First Class check-in area, which can be easily missed if you don’t know where to look.  Thankfully my driver did know as the check in was hiding behind a line of trees.  I was a little too early to check in for my flight, but was able to sit down in the lobby area (which looks almost identical to the First Class lounge).

Qantas First Class Check In, Hiding being a discrete line of trees - Photo: Mal Muir |

Qantas First Class Check In, Hiding being a discrete line of trees – Photo: Mal Muir |

Free Wifi from the airport kept me going until I was able to check in and once that was done I was handed the coveted Gold Boarding pass holder. My bags were also labeled with the yellow first class tag and I was off through security and immigration.  Quick, clean and painless… the only way to fly right?

After winding my way through the endless duty free store and the terminal I went up the escalators and turned right to the lounge entrance.  I was ready to enter my new.

Sydney and Melbourne both host Qantas First Class Lounges.  These two lounges are reputed to be among the best in the world.  Melbourne’s lounge is like the little brother to Sydney since it has all the same bells and whistles, just a little bit smaller.  But Melbourne doesn’t have as many first class flights as Sydney, so that is to be expected.

Only first class passengers or the very top tier of One World frequent fliers (Emerald) can access the lounge. This means there are never more than a handful of people in there at one time.  When I arrived, it was me and two other guests.

The staff are all trained by Sofitel the Luxury hotel chain of french hotels from Accor.  So you feel like you’re entering a luxury hotel more than an airline lounge.

The Qantas First Class Lounge in Melbourne, designed by Marc Newson - Photo: Mal Muir |

The Qantas First Class Lounge in Melbourne, designed by Marc Newson – Photo: Mal Muir |

The atmosphere of the lounge was wonderful and for good reason: it was designed by Marc Newson.  The seats, the tables, the chairs everything.   The seats looked fantastic and the design was clean, functional and stylish all mixed into one —  I loved it.

There were several different areas of the lounge where you could relax with a book or watch TV.  There were even two fully enclosed offices, stocked with all the business essentials, so you can keep working right up until flight time.

"Click Clack" Flight Boards in the Qantas First Class Lounge - Photo: Mal Muir |

“Click Clack” Flight Boards in the Qantas First Class Lounge – Photo: Mal Muir |

There is one (well kinda of two) thing in the lounge that will likely catch your eye:  the two old ’œclick clack’ style departure boards.  These are extremely rare, and to see two of them in the one place is amazing.

While I took a heap of photos and explored, the staff were doing everything to get me fed.  No worries, it was early in the morning and I was definitely planning on eating.

Time for some Breakfast in the full restaurant with food by the Rockpool Group - Photo: Mal Muir |

Time for some Breakfast in the full restaurant with food by the Rockpool Group – Photo: Mal Muir |

Sure, I could have selected a small snack off the side buffet, but this is First Class and they also offered a full restaurant.  I was shown to a table by the window (just like any AvGeek right?) and the menu just took me for a spin.  So many options… what to choose?  Do I go light, do I go healthy? My head was swimming with choices.  No matter what I chose, I knew it was going to be good.  The entire menu is designed by Neil Perry and his Rockpool group.

Bonus: Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne Spring Breakfast Menu

Perry is one of Australia’s top chefs and he designs the menus and food for all Qantas flights in First & Business class.  I decided that since this was meant to be an indulgent day I was going the whole hog!  Buffalo milk yoghurt with honey and toasted almonds, fresh fruit, toasted rye bread from one of the best bakeries in Australia, an omelette loaded with goodies and of course… bacon.

Having a Massage in the lounge? Wouldn't any Avgeek want a view like this? - Photo: Mal Muir |

Having a Massage in the lounge? Wouldn’t any Avgeek want a view like this? – Photo: Mal Muir |

With a loaded belly full of breakfast and coffee (did I mention they have a fully stocked bar and a barista?), what more is there to do?  Well it was time for my massage!

Bonus: Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne Full Gallery

The lounge has it’s own day spa run in conjunction with Payot.  Each lounge guest is entitled to a 30 minute treatment of their choice.  Facials, massages, you name it, you can have it.  Add that into the fully stocked bathrooms and you can enjoy a relaxing massage and shower, feeling 100% refreshed after a long day in the office or flying.  The view wasn’t too bad either.

My Ride to Los Angeles waiting for me below the lounge - Photo: Mal Muir |

My Ride to Los Angeles waiting for me below the lounge – Photo: Mal Muir |

My head was filled with excitement and I didn’t even want to leave the lounge it was so amazing. The only thing that could make me leave was that first class seat on the Qantas Airbus A380. I will be telling you about that flight in future stories.


This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.

Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.

@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email:
Catching a Lufthansa Airbus A321’s Rapid Descent Live

Please edit to include the airport you checked in at, it took quite a while to surmise it was Melbourne.

Hi Craig, i have done this now for you.


Second picture shows Melbourne Airport under the First logo.


I tend to avoid these gushing PR pieces as one would view a National Geographic. Contains lots of pretty pictures of places I’m never going to visit! 🙂 But does look nice for what $10-15K a trip?

This isn’t a PR Piece. The cost of these flights was entirely my own expense. I worked hard for the points on this actually and it set me back personally 140,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points and $350 in Fuel Surcharges. The retail is around that amount for a round trip and quite expensive for a one way. But AA points are the best way to get it with a seriously lower amount required, but less access to availability compared to Qantas.

It is a “gushing” report purely because it was just an amazing experience. It is all totally my opinion and in fact Qantas wasn’t able to help out with anything at all, they were not able to arrange pre flight access (it wasn’t able to be done in time) so all of this was arranged and paid for out of my own pocket.


Unfair and harsh.

I cant wait for the next part!


Malcolm – Amazing that you’ve invested so much into this experience. And like most things in life – go for what floats your boat, or in this case offers you bliss! And join the chorus …. ‘can’t wait for the next part!”

James Burke

The lounge looks terrific. I love the old school clack-clack departures board. The lounge has a comfortable 1920’s chic look to it. I look forward to Pt. 2


Looks nice, but since Qantas caved in (via their craven partnership with Emirates) to having no alcohol, no pork and only “halal” approved foods –yes, for ALL passengers– on certain regularly scheduled flights) I won’t fly them. Cannot support the monstrous unspeakable barbarity of halal nor creeping sharia “law”. Any airline that is proudly haram and has an Airbus 380 is good enough for me.

Hi Rasmussen, i think your comment is a little bit incorrect and slightly inflammatory. Yes Qantas has removed pork from their menus on certain flights. This is in line with other airlines (such as Virgin Australia) who do similar on flights to the middle east out of respect for people on board and to ensure that people can eat the offerings they serve no matter what their culture.

Alcohol is still served on board the flight it is just not used in the preparation of the meals, so you won’t see any “Beef in Red Wine Sauce” etc on the menu again, out of respect for these cultures. I don’t know where you got your information but it is incorrect.

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