Walking into a Qantas lounge, you might feel like a VIP, with delicious food being served at the buffet, glasses of sparkling all around you, and a general feeling of being far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the airport chaos right outside.
But if you think that’s special, wait until you visit Qantas’ other lounge — the super-elite Chairman’s Lounge. Once kept very hush-hush, it’s now an open secret, and the lounge is so elite that you can’t even buy a membership — you simply have to wait to be invited. After that, there’s no cost to accept the two-year membership invite.
So, how exactly does the Chairman’s Lounge work? Well, for starters, the Chairman’s Lounge is a membership tier that comes with access to Chairman’s Lounges tucked away at airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
Reportedly, the lounge doors are marked “Private”, leading non-eligible airport patrons to think it’s an office. It’s also said that among the lounges, Brisbane’s is arguably the best — with the newest facilities and a completely unmarked entrance.
Inside, the Chairman Lounges themselves aren’t too dissimilar from regular Qantas lounges, with a buffet, an a la carte menu and a bar.
There are a few differences though. For instance, there are no boarding announcements inside — when it’s time to board, a lounge staff member will come and find you. Also different is the fact you’re surrounded by other VIPs, so don’t be surprised if you happen to spot an A-List celebrity, the CEO of a well-known company, or even a top Australian politician.
Other differences are that there are private suites for taking calls or meetings, that the staff ratio is high, with highly personalised service, and that you don’t even need to be flying Qantas to access the lounge.
Interestingly, Qantas operates its Chairman’s Club at a loss, with the payoff leverage. “For the chosen who are allowed to enter a world that few will ever know, the feelgood factor is off the dial,” notes publication Traveller.
“When a corporation or a government agency decides which airline to spend with, when federal government has to make tricky decisions such as helping the national airline through its current pandemic-caused downturn, having the decision makers onside is money in the bank for Qantas.”