My feet take me through a lot of airports each year, but the one I find myself in the most is Brisbane International Airport. The vast majority of my adventures start and end here, which I personally believe entitles to me some kind of special treatment whereby I never have to join a queue ever again. Sadly, nobody else seems to agree (insert eye roll here). But here’s the upshot of spending so much time at Brissie’s International Terminal, I know all the tips and tricks to help you survive it, whether you’re waiting for your next adventure to start or hanging out on a layover. Here are my tips on how to survive Brisbane International Airport.
Get ya bad self into a lounge
I don’t care what anyone says, being inside an airport lounge makes a world of difference to your trip. If your ticket doesn’t automatically entitle you to enter one of the fancy-shmancy lounges at BNE Airport, hook ya self up with a trip to the fancy-shmancy Plaza Premium Lounge and Wellness Spa. It offers up a really comfortable space to just relax, away from all the chaos of the airport terminals. You’ll find cosy places to sit and chill or catch up on work if you need to (me). Also, the wifi in there is top-notch, good enough even to watch Netflix! You also get access to yummy food, like their sweet treats, barista-made coffee and noodle bar which provides great dishes like pasta and laksa.
If you really want to bliss out pre-flight, visit the Wellness Spa and indulge in a dreamy treatment, like their De-Stress Massages or hand and foot therapy treatments. I gotta tell you, it’s the perfect way to set yourself up for a long-haul flight! At the time of writing this, it’s $66AU for 5 hours lounge access. If you’re in-between flights, 5 hours to sit and stretch out, refuel at the buffet and have a shower is absolute heaven.
Pro Tip: There are a whole bunch of credit cards which gift their owners FREE access to Plaza Premium Lounges! True story! I even laid my eyes on the list of eligible credit cards and there are a lot of them. So, before you travel, check your credit card providers website to see if you’re eligible (you can also go to the lounge and ask them to check to see if your credit cards qualify you!). You could be missing out on free access to airport lounges and not even know it. Here’s an example.
There’s an app for that!
Of course there is. But in this case, it’s actually a super useful app. Okay, so firstly, the app is free (winner!) and, secondly, it’s going to make your airport experience easier. You know how whenever you go to BNE Airport (or any Aussie airport really) you have to fill out a Departure Card? Well, using the app, you can pre-fill your Departure Card, scan a QR code at the airport and print it out. So easy! The app also does other great things once you’ve put your flight deets in, like sending you a text if there’s been a change to your flight and giving you directions to and from the airport. Check out the free BNE Airport App here.
Time for a whisky tasting
For relaxing times, make it Suntory time. If you don’t know what the heck that means, you better watch this. Okay, now that’s done, it’s time to get yourself to the JR/Duty-Free shop and humbly request access to the 100 Bottle Tasting Bar… yeah, you read right, that’s a real thing and it means you get to try the world’s finest whisky’s, for free! Please Insta-Story the entire journey and tag me.
Get the heck outta there
If you’ve got a long layover and nerves of steel, BNE Airport operates the free TBus, which can take you to Skygate. It’s 10-15 minutes from the terminal and you’ll find a tonne of shops because it’s home to DFO which, if you aren’t from Brisbane, stands for Discount Factory Outlet. Basically, it’s a mall with outlet stores so you can get your hands on some cheap stuff. I gotta be honest, I don’t ever usually go there wanting something specific, it’s more the kind of place where you go with an open mind, heart and wallet and whatever happens, happens. That said, you can often scoop up a bargain on good quality shoes, sheets and other linens, clothing, sports apparel and even homewares. There are also places to get a bite to eat.
If you have a particularly long layover and a lot of trust in Brisbane’s public transport system, catch the AirTrain into Brisbane. It’ll cost you $32 per adult return, children up to the age of 14 travel free to the city (central station) and you even get a 15% discount on tickets if you book online. The train departs every 30 minutes and it takes around 20 minutes to get from the airport to Brisbane CBD. Like I said, nerves of steel, I’m way too chicken to leave any airport ever during a layover.
Pro Tip: Don’t drag your luggage around Brisbane with you, store it at one of the on-site luggage lockers for $10-$14AU for up to 24 hours. You’ll find the lockers at the International Terminal on the ground floor, at the entrance to the public carpark. They’re single use and you can pay with credit card.
Shop up a storm at the Airport
If you don’t have the time or nerves required to leave the airport (me), go shopping. AmIRite?! If nothing else, going for a walk around the terminal is a great way to stretch your legs before or after your flight, especially if you’re transiting #MySpineHurts. You’ll find the usual airport suspects, including a decent sized duty-free shop so you can get your paws on electronics, booze, make-up, perfumes and other stuff like handbags and wallets. Excitingly, there’s an R.M Williams there, so if you’ve been thinking of investing in a good pair of leather boots, look no further.
Eat the pain away
As we all know, food solves every single one of our emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Pretty sure I heard that on The Biggest Loser… or was it ’causes’ every single one… Either way, F O O D! If you’ve got a big hunger and the thought of crappy airline food makes you want to cry (me) then it’s time to feast. Probably my favourite place to grab a bite at BNE Airport is Burger Urge. They do really delicious burgers, with options for vegetarians, and their fries are divine. There’s also Spoon Deli Cafe, Mad Mex, Tuk Chop and Windmill & Co. as well as a whole bunch of other cafes and fast food joints (Red Rooster, anyone?!)
Charge your phone and get a workout
Hilariously, BNE Airport has set up peddle-powered phone chargers. So you can hop on one of the Watt Bikes, plug your phone in and rack up a few K’s on the bike, while charging your phone and browsing the FREE BNE Airport Wifi. It’s guilt-free web browsing, you guys. Bonus points if you can do it while eating a burrito. I’d be really proud of you.
Watch: our ‘Coast to Country: Brisbane to Girraween’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.