Alan Joyce, all is forgiven after my day in the Qantas lounge

Alan Joyce, all is forgiven after my day in the Qantas lounge

Sorry to be a prat, but I am writing this in the Qantas Lounge at Sydney Airport.

I have never been in a Qantas Lounge or any airline lounge for that matter except for the British Airways First Class Lounge back in 1997 when the newspaper I worked for thought that Princess Diana was moving to New York and that I could get the scoop if I accompanied her on the flight.

Turns out she wasn’t flying to New York but was on a boat in the Mediterranean, but I spent a very pleasant day drinking French champagne and picking my jaw up off the floor as several celebrities came and went.

To be clear, I am not in the Qantas Lounge because I have whatever cash/membership/contacts/status/freebie you need to cross into luxury land but because my daughter has gifted me access.

Amusing isn’t it – our Prime Minister somehow gets his 22-year-old son into the Qantas

Chairman’s Lounge and my kid, who is the same age, does similar for me (she had a one-off

pass and thought I’d enjoy the treat). I can’t decide which is more extraordinary – the tables

being turned and my child giving to me rather than the other way around, or the thrill of


Qantas, mired in controversy this month, has a long way to go to restore its battered reputation but I think I may have the solution.

As a first-time lounger I’m amazed that instead of being gouged $25 for a cheese toastie and a coffee in the terminal, I am nestled in a leather chair, sipping a glass of riesling and snacking on a plate of crudites. Of course, there are fancier things but vegetables cut up by someone else is like having your hair washed at a salon. What you might call an elevated basic.

As I marvel at how many people are in here necking the free beers, a man comes over and asks if he can take my order. My order? Turns out that as well as the crudites, the cheese, the Thai green curry, the Moroccan pasta and the four posh salads, including one with figs, there’s an a la carte menu I can choose from.

When the nice man delivers the mini portion of shepherd’s pie topped with chilli relish and

accompanied by some dressed rocket, I think I’m going to die from happiness. Is there anything a harassed working mother enjoys more than sitting in her smartest lounge pants, in a comfy chair, with a lovely view of the skyline, an open bar, delicious food and smiling people tending to her every need? Yes, there is – it’s getting all that caboodle for free.

Which leads me to think: why are these lounges only at airports? Why is there not one of these down the road from where I live so that I can drop in for a few hours’ relaxation without the stress of having to fly anywhere?

Forget candles and soap, a day pass to a lounge where there’s free booze and food, reading

material, WiFi, a hot shower and amenable staff is all anyone wants come Mother’s Day, so why don’t they exist?

Indeed, why is “lounging” not an activity up there with hot-air ballooning and wine-tasting and bungee-jumping? Goodness knows, there’s plenty of us who if asked about our favourite

hobby, would likely nominate sitting on our arse anywhere where there is no laundry to fold

and no dishes to wash.

It’s different from a day spa where you have to get naked and worry about rogue hairs and

whether the masseur might be moonlighting from his other job pummelling the Wallabies. And

it’s more relaxing than a restaurant where you’re obliged to dress up, talk to others and

pretend to like the food because the waiter is banging on about its provenance and you’ve paid a fortune for it.

“Lounging”, particularly if you added a spa and sauna, could blend all the elements of your local library, cafe and spa into one and, now I’m thinking about it, you could have “social” areas and “quiet” nooks. Honestly, this could be better than the “girls’ weekend” where there’s always one who snipes about having to have the single bed.

Alan Joyce has missed a trick. All that time he was selling seats on flights which had already

been cancelled, losing everyone’s luggage and blocking Qatar from getting more flights here, he could have been devising a money-spinning lounging business which would see our national carrier through to the next millennium. It’s even environmentally conscious – no need for those pesky carbon offsets and before long AI will have developed “experiential” travel where you can smell, taste and immerse yourself in say, Lisbon, without having to go there.

Lounging could also absorb all those unused flight credits that Qantas is now having to pay out or extend.

Perhaps it’s time I emailed the new Qantas boss, Vanessa Hudson, and pitched my idea properly. She’ll love it. In the meantime, yes, I will have another one of those cheeky shepherd’s pies.



I’ve seen the trailer for Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla and it looks like a promising riposte to Baz

Luhrmann’s Elvis, which treated the singer’s wife like a sideshow, not the key element in the

troubling Presley story.

Self-Tan Lotion

If you don’t want a stinky orange fake tan but a bit of spring glow, try Garnier Ambre Solaire

Natural Bronzer Self-Tan lotion which I’ve used it for years. You can pick it up in the

supermarket for $16.

Chilli prawns

Melt butter and oil in a fry pan, add a smashed garlic clove and chilli flakes and quickly fry your prawns. Scatter with chopped parsley and mop up the juices with crusty bread.