Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge
Hours – 4:30am until last departure
Location – Level 1 of the International Terminal, after Security
Access – Business Class passengers, Gold and Elite Airpoints members, Koru members, Koru or Elite Partner members flying on a Singapore Airlines flight with an Air New Zealand flight number
Facilities – Newspapers, magazines and television, business centre, wireless internet, toilets, showers, towels and hairdryers
Food & Beverages – Light refreshments and bar facilities, barista coffee
The Auckland International lounge location can be found once you have cleared Customs, walking past The Loop Duty Free on your left and looking left walk towards the Relay shop. Then you’ll take the escalator upstairs to the lounge entrance.
The lounge opened in September last year (replacing the older, smaller lounge in a different location) and it’s full of luxe touches and unique features.
AirNZ CEO Chris Luxon aptly describes the lounge as a “haven” for the airline’s business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers, and of course it’s also a premier Star Alliance lounge.
There’s room for almost 400 guests (40% more than the old lounge) in the 2000 square metre space, and they’ve had the foresight to plan for even more seating to be added as the airline grows.
Air New Zealand has committed to a $100 million investment in its lounges and the Auckland one is the latest in a string of refurbishments and new openings. Designed by architectural firm Gensler, and following on from the success of the Sydney lounge, there’s a common theme design-wise with its contemporary look and definite stamp of Air New Zealand’s identity. Adding to its appeal is plenty of natural light coming through the space.
One of the best features of this lounge is the covered outdoor terrace, which has been built out from the airport’s former observation deck. There’s a living green wall growing native New Zealand plants and the views across the airfield make it a little slice of heaven for avgeeks. The ceiling can be opened in sunny weather (similar to the Delta T4 SkyDeck at JFK airport), and there’s a fireplace for those days when the weather is less appealing.
In keeping with current lounge trends, the bar is fully-staffed and stocked with premium New Zealand wines and signature cocktails. For breakfast flights there is barista coffee, always a welcome sight and so much better than a self-serve coffee machine when you need that early morning hit to start your day. Your coffee can actually be pre-ordered from your iPad or via Air New Zealand’s smartphone app. One of those unique touches features here in the form of a ‘digital ceiling’ over the bar area which reflects the New Zealand sky.
If you’re in the mood for a meal the restaurant has the choice of a self-serve buffet, or a station where the lounge’s resident chefs prepare daily specials for guests.
One idea we particularly liked is that Air New Zealand has done away with the idea of scattering a few televisions around the lounge, and created a media lounge instead. There are fifteen wide comfy armchairs to settle into and a large screen TV to enjoy. The big advantage here is that it makes it easy to avoid the noise for those who prefer, and on the other side of the coin, provides a brilliant space to enjoy the big sporting events with other like-minded travellers.
Moving on to the Business Centre, not too much to report here with the usual set-up of desks and printing facilities. Happily all desks have inbuilt AC and USB ports. No need to spend your time there topping up your tech gadgets if you don’t want to though, as there are AC and USB ports located within reach of almost every seat in the lounge. They may take a little searching for, as they’re not in the obvious places, presumably for aesthetic reasons. As a head start for you then, there are ports underneath the banquette seating, underneath the small white occasional tables and also the black side tables.
You may have gathered that there is a variety of seating available and you’re right. We noticed everything from conventional chairs, to banquettes, to a row of day-beds facing the terrace (you’ll probably have to get in quickly for those, they look super-comfy and perfect for a quick nap). Air New Zealand claims to have 24 different seat styles in the lounge but we’ll leave it to you to make the count if you’re interested.
If you’re travelling with your little ones this lounge has a pretty cool play centre for the kidlets, set up in their very own Kid’s Lounge area. There’s some seating for parents to use while watching their offspring and the play space is split-level, being modelled on a treehouse. There’s books to read, interactive toys and children’s programs showing on the television. The Kids Lounge is glassed-in and reasonably soundproof so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about offending solo travellers.
Finally, this lounge is one of those with an elusive lounge-within-a-lounge for Air New Zealand’s Elite Priority One members and VIP’s. Entry is by invitation only and tucked away in a discreet corner. We’ve not been privileged to use this area ourselves yet so can’t report on its facilities, but it’s more than likely a lovely start to your journey.