CNS: Cairns Qantas Qantasclub
NEWS: Renovations of the Qantasclub at Cairns are complete. There are new seats, iMacs, and even in-lounge toilets.
Just as Cairns Airport is surprisingly large, surprise isn't a sufficient words to express how large the Qantasclub is, and you may be forced to resort to astonishment. It occupies over 1000sqm, and it cost the airline $2.5 million to develop. Well worth it, it is the largest by a long way of any regional airport in Australia, and triple the size of the old area with double the number of seats.
The Cairns Qantasclub is new, clean, modern, and often way too big for the few flights that now leave from the far North of Queensland to head down south, particularly now the morning flight to Sydney has been replaced by a Jetstar flight.
Never the less the Qantasclub Cairns is decent, once you track it down. You find the Cairns Qantas Lounge on the side corridor to the central square part of the domestic terminal. Go left by gate 16, walk up the vast historical aircraft hall (which includes the propeller from the old DC3 that for many years was at the main gates to Cairns airport, until the sea air made it rot away) up the escalator, to the right, and past the friendly lounge-guardians.
As you walk in you can see pretty much the whole of the Qantas Cairns lounge spread before you – it is in effect once large box, overlooking the (only) runway, and above the old club in the departure area.
The Qantas Cairns domestic lounge is brand spanking new, which much more space than the old one, with the standard 'new look' which is adopted throughout Aussieland, using white walls and tiled areas, brown carpet with white streaks and maroon, red, brown and beige seats. It is more modern and open and feels less formal.
It has very good air conditioning.
The lounge is split into three separate areas, with large white walls separating them, but with pretty much identical seats. As you enter, there are the computer workstations (all three of them) on the right, and banks of armchairs. Then in the centre there are two large white tables, and finally at the end more armchairs.
The bar and food areas are all along the 'inner' wall, while along the outer wall are by far the most comfortable areas to sit, with a great view of the vast palm tree lined bulk of Mount Whitfield, and the distant hangars.
At three places in the Cairns lounge are coffee stands; the bathrooms are along the inner wall behind the divider, and right at the end of the lounge is the Children's room, with soft toys a slide and special children's TV programs playing.
FoodFood is pretty good, but not as good as they once were. In particular breakfasts are no longer the spreading feast that they used to be, reflecting the reduction in the number of flights down south. Indeed, other than the usual toaster, raisin toast and rolls, there isn't a lot.
By lunchtime there is quite a decent salad, and on rare days during the week there is the delight of the local mushrooms goulash, which is pretty tasty. Other than that the salads have pasta, lettuce, potatoes, and that Australian staple Tabouli. There is ham and three types of cheese. It's not exactly decent pre-flight dining, but it comes close.
There is of course also hot soup, and rolls.
No deserts of course, but there are also biscuits and fruit.
BarThe bar opens from midday, in the small part of the counter to the right of the main food servery. And it's vastly better than it was when the lounge opened – obviously competition from the Virgin Australia lounge next door is starting to have some effect.
For a start there are two red, three whites, and a sparkling wine on offer in the strange low down wine fridge. These are self service, but for everything else you need to ask the bar staff.
There are quite a few of the locals beers on offer, including the lager from the Blue Sky brewery, and the usual "four 'ecks" and VB.
Spirits are good - in the evenings this means a roaring line in the local rum. And don't miss the delight of the 'cocktail of the month'; these can be very tasty, come in a special cocktail glass, if you're lucky you'll even get a tiny umbrella too!
Business FacilitiesThere are only three internet computers, and as usual in the Qantas Club, these are iMac only, however they will boot in either windows or Mac OS X.
It can be a bit of a hassle getting hold of one, but thankfully the dragons are pretty good at monitoring kids who just use them to play games.
Beware that, oddly all three of the screens face the lounge – so everyone can see what you are reading on your screen.
BathroomsThere are full bathrooms in the lounge; just go behind the small divider screen and through the doors.
There are separate showers, with towels available from reception.
AccessPaid Qantasclub membership, or access with oneworld status or a Business Class ticket. There are no daypasses available.
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