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Being able to access an airline lounge, especially a premium one, feels like winning the lottery when you’re travelling internationally. It’s a chance to kick off a holiday in style or relax after a big work day in a haven of comfy lounges, with a glass of wine or barista coffee and something tasty to eat. However, unless you fly on a corporate credit card or travel regularly enough to justify the often exorbitant fee associated with most airline club memberships, airline lounges tend to be out of reach for most travellers.

That is where Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane trumps their airline opposition. Plaza Premium Lounges offer pay per access rates and welcome all travellers, no matter what airline they are flying with. There are Plaza Premium lounges all over the world but we tried the one at the international airport in our home town of Brisbane. Expectations were high as this lounge was recently named as one of the world’s Top 10 Independent Airport Lounges at the recent Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane

The Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane access conditions are pretty simple. Just pay and you’re in! Entry includes unlimited food and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (responsibly served, of course) plus loads of other benefits. Entry to the Brisbane lounge costs A$60 for two hours but there are often specials. On the day we visited, you could get 25% off the walk in rate which brings it down to A$45. Great value when you consider how much it costs to buy a few glasses of wine and lunch or dinner in the main terminal.

If your flight is delayed beyond the time you were planning to leave the lounge, don’t worry as you can pay A$10 per hour to stay longer and wait for your plane in style. Business class passengers flying with airlines such as Aircalin, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Solomon Airlines, plus a variety of credit card holders can also access the Brisbane lounge.

Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane cost
Specials are common at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane

The Plaza Premium Lounge loyalty program, Arrture, costs nothing to join and earns rewards such as additional lounge access passes and other goodies you can take advantage of on subsequent visits. So, what exactly do you get for your entry fee? Firstly, a very comfy seat. Depending on where you want to sit and what you are planning on doing, there are lounge chairs overlooking the tarmac, dedicated private work spaces and a bench area for a quick snack or a coffee.

Kids play area
Kid’s play area at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane

Our favourite spot was the row of comfy seats overlooking the airport concourse. Fast complimentary Wi-Fi is included throughout the lounge plus two computer terminals are available on a first come first served basis. There’s also a kid’s play area with colouring in to keep them entertained. There are multiple power points for changing laptops, tablets and phones, with power and USB ports located next to almost every seat. Seating is offered in a variety of configurations with choices to suit every traveller.

Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane
Lounge seating overlooking the airport concourse
Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane
Bench seating near the bar
Fruit infused water
Fruit infused water station
Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane seating
Cafe style seating
Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane desk
Private work areas

Food offerings range from snacks such as cheeses, mini meat pies, and excellent arancini to substantial meals from a simple but delicious changing daily menu created by Chef Kalesh Kamal. The buffet of hot meals is impressive and features the best kung pao chicken we’ve had outside Beijing. There’s also a salad bar, delicious desserts and freshly brewed barista coffee, plus a menu of specialty coffees which are included at no extra cost with lounge entry. Milkshakes are a hit if you’re travelling with kids and a much smarter choice than a sugary ‘let’s go crazy’ soft drink before a long flight.

Chef Kalesh Kamal
Chef Kalesh Kamal
Daily menu at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane
Daily menu at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane
Arancini and meat pies
Arancini and mini meat pies at Plaza Premium Lounge
Desserts at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane
Desserts at Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane
Specialty coffee menu
Specialty coffee menu
Sweet jar
Sweet jar (cleverly stored just out of reach of little hands)

Beverages include an assortment of soft drinks, barista coffee, spirits with mixers and wine and beer, with beers on tap plus bottled options. If you are flying on a budget airline, you can grab a bottle of water for the flight on the way out. There is one shower with towels and toiletries provided if you would like to freshen up. Next door to the lounge, a separate Wellness Spa offers treatments delivered by a qualified masseuse. Make sure you pre-book as there were no spots available during our late afternoon weekend visit.

Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane spa
Wellness Spa entrance
Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane spa
Treatment room
Plaza Premium Lounge Brisbane spa
Pre- or post-treatment relaxation area

As with any airline lounge, Brisbane’s Plaza Premium Lounge can get busy, particularly in the morning when there are lots of flights going out. However, when we visited there were only a few other passengers enjoying the facilities, so it all comes down to luck. We would not hesitate to visit this excellent lounge again.

Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Plaza Premium Lounge.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.