Passengers under 18 can still purchase a Business class ticket or attain frequent flyer status – which comes with the advertised benefit of lounge access. Nonetheless, the Qantas Club terms & conditions state that:
Children under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult when visiting any lounge.
Customers under the legal drinking age must be accompanied by an adult in any Qantas operated lounge. Legal drinking age may vary in different jurisdictions and countries.
Similarly, the Virgin Australia website says that “children, under 18 years of age, are welcome in the Virgin Australia Lounge, but must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian”.
It would appear that the “no lounge access for under 18s” rule applies at all times, even in the morning when no alcohol is available at domestic lounges. This rule is generally enforced, too. As lounge access for under 18s travelling alone is not allowed, some airline staff will even check the IDs of younger passengers.
I have been asked for ID when entering Domestic lounges before and they’re fully within their right to ask that. In the int F lounge I’ve either been asked for ID by the roving staff or had the first hosts check my details on the computer to check my age.
But passengers under 18 can enter airport lounges when accompanied by an adult. In practice, this generally means that parents with frequent flyer status may bring their children into the lounge when flying as a family. But it can work in reverse. A child with frequent flyer status or a Business/First class ticket can bring an adult (such as a parent) into the lounge with them as a guest. For domestic flights within Australia, the adult does not need to be flying.
If the child is travelling alone, they could technically ask an older person that happens to be in the airport terminal if they would like to accompany them into the lounge. But many of our members say they would not encourage this for numerous reasons.
In the experience of one of our younger members, Qantas may at least offer a food voucher to unaccompanied minors that would ordinarily enjoy lounge access but are under 18 years old.
I can say from my personal experience that whilst you won’t be allowed into any Australian airline lounge unaccompanied they will give you a food voucher (at least from my international travel experience) so it doesn’t hurt to ask at check in for one
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF lounge access for unaccompanied 17 yr old