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 cup of freshly brewed 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 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 lounges all over the world but we tried the one at the international airport in our home town of Brisbane.

Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane

Lounge entry includes unlimited food and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (responsibly served, of course) plus loads of other benefits. Rates at the Brisbane lounge are based on how long travellers are planning on staying, with options such as A$60 for two hours for one person, A$110 for two hours for two people, and $70 for five hours per person (which equates to less than $15 per hour). 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 the plane in style.

Business class passengers flying Virgin, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, Nauru Airlines and Solomon Airlines, plus a variety of premium credit card holders can also access the Brisbane lounge. The Plaza Premium Lounge loyalty program, Arrture, costs nothing to join and earns rewards such as additional lounge access passes and other goodies.

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. Our favourite spot was the nest of comfy swing seats overlooking the airport concourse, which were perfect for single travellers. Fast complimentary Wi-Fi is included throughout the lounge plus two computer terminals are available on a first come first served basis. There are multiple power points for changing laptops, tablets and phones, with power and USB ports located next to almost every seat.

Bench seating near the bar

Lounge seating overlooking the airport concourse

Cafe style seating

Swing seats overlooking the airport offer great people watching

Private work areas

Food offerings range from snacks such as cheeses, hot spring rolls and made-to-order popcorn to substantial meals from a simple but delicious changing daily menu. Beverages include an assortment of soft drinks, barista coffee, spirits with mixers and wine and beer, with two beers on tap plus bottled options. Wines are from the premium Tempus Two range. If you are flying on a budget airline, you can grab a bottle of water for the flight on the way out.

Cheeses and desserts, including cute cake pops

Order a hot meal for dinner or lunch

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 an impressive array of treatments delivered by a well-trained masseuse. It’s a top spot for a mini-massage or manicure before you fly out. 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 four other passengers enjoying the facilities, so it all comes down to luck.

Wellness Spa entrance

Treatment room

Pre- or post-treatment relaxation area

Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Plaza Premium Lounge and will be paying to return. This lounge is as good as, if not superior, to the other lounges at Brisbane International Airport.