Top Brisbane Airport transit tips so you are not one of those people scuttling like a cockroach, desperate to get to the gate before it closes.

I used to cut it fine to avoid wasting time, but that changed when I missed a flight and had to pay an exorbitant amount to get a seat on the next plane.  Sigh. Now I’m more likely to be in the queue when bag drop opens or transiting through security with plenty of time to spare, especially when I am travelling through Brisbane Airport, which won Best Airport in Australia / Pacific 2019 at the Skytrax World Airport Awards.

I always focus on the gate closing time rather than the departure time, and I like to be there at least half an hour before that for a domestic flight at Brisbane airport.  Even when you have carry-on luggage, you never know what the queues may be like.

Airports have changed too.  I can find plenty of good food at the airport for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I have my favourite coffee spots and some shops where I can’t resist a browse.  I’d rather sit down with a good brew working on my computer using the free Wi-Fi than stressing in a car trying to get to the airport.

Here are my top five tips for a happy transit at Brisbane Domestic Airport.


Read more airport transit tips

  • Best coffee
  • Best eats
  • Shopping
  • Live music
  • Art trail

It always starts at the airport with coffee

There are two places in the airport where I can be guaranteed to find my favourite coffee fix.

I like to escape the airport bustle with a great coffee and the soothing world books at Watermark Books, opposite gate 23.  It’s also an excellent place to pick up a new read, buy that birthday card that’s on your list or read the paper.  They have lovely fruit salad and a great range of gluten-free, raw, vegan slices too.

Around gate 41 at Virgin end of the terminal is where you’ll find me stopping for a Fonzie Abbot coffee.  Voted as one of the top caffeine dealers in town, Fonzie Abbot is a locally-grown business that supplies many cafes with what they call their ‘sweet F.A.’ carefully sourced and roasted coffee beans.

Eat up at the airport

Getting to the airport early means you’ll have time for breakfast, lunch or dinner on your flight.  I’m always surprised at what I’m served on a plane.  It might be a tiny power ball for breakfast on a three-hour flight or cheese and bickies for dinner.  Best to eat before you board or take something with you, unless you want to trust buying something from the airline cart.

Brisbane’s Domestic Airport has a food court with plenty of options. 

Seeds by Bruno Loubet is a great place to get healthy food all day long. Bruno is an amazing, Michelin-stared chef and at Seeds he shares the sort of food he likes to eat at home.  It’s good for you and tastes great too.

Sushi Sushi sushi is my favourite carry on choice as it’s easy to carry and eat.  Burger lovers will find it hard to go past Carl’s Jr’s Angus beef thickburgers, and hand scooped ice cream milkshakes, but the guacamole bacon thickburger (minus onion) has a special place in my heart. It doesn’t matter if your passion is Mexican, Vietnamese or Japanese, Mad Mex, and Roll’d have that covered.


Shop till you fly

At Brisbane’s domestic airport the shopping options alone will see that time fly.  You will be able to catch up with the latest fashions, bag a bargain from the sale rack, pick up some pyjamas or find new sunnies from the Sunglass Hut.

There are some of my favourite women’s clothing retailers including Mimco, Witchery, Peter Alexander, Seed Heritage and Victoria’s Secret to browse. Typo is perfect for that upcoming birthday or a thank you gift for your next destination.

Go with the beat

You are not dreaming if you think you hear live music on Friday and Sunday evening.  From 4 pm to 7 pm there’s a late-week BNE Beats program with local musicians playing at the Domestic Terminal’s Great Northern and Glasshouse Bars.

Art Up

Since you’ll be sitting on the plate for a few hours, why not stroll around the airport.  I like to check out the Bricks BNE Display on level two created by the airport’s Artist-in-Residence Ben Craig.

Need a sleepover?

Got an early morning flight or can’t make your night connection.  Located right next door to Brisbane Domestic Airport, The Pullman Brisbane Airport Hotel and it’s sister Ibis Hotel next door, will have you sleeping comfortably with only five minutes of travel.

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Disclaimer:  This is not sponsored content. Kerry Heaney is a frequent traveller from Brisbane Airport and also a contributor to BNE Airport Magazine.