|Features||Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Highlights|
|Access||Complimentary for passengers flying Business or First Class on Star Alliance flights departing Auckland, Air New Zealand Business Class passengers, Airpoints Elite, Gold, Elite Partner and Koru members|
|Amenities||Kids' lounge, showers, business zone|
|Food and Beverage||Buffet with food theater|
|The GET.com Verdict||Good place to refuel and relax before a flight|
After three glorious summer weeks of exploring Auckland and Queenstown in the South Island in January 2018, it was time to say goodbye to volcanic cones, sheep and jandals, and take the flight from Auckland to Singapore. We redeemed a total of six Suites First Class tickets on Singapore Airlines (Singapore Airlines A380 Suites First Class SIN-AKL review here) using miles earned from some of the best credit cards. Staff at the Suites check-in desk at the Auckland International Airport still remembered us being there with Grace's parents a few days ago as they boarded the same flight back.
After checking in our luggage and getting the gleaming golden Suites boarding passes, Grace, Ram, Ran and I went through security and immigration, then walked past The Loop Duty Free and other stores...
... before heading up the escalator (to level one of the international terminal) toward the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Review
Opened in September 2015 following a NZ$14 million overhaul, Air New Zealand's flagship lounge in New Zealand is huge at a whopping 2100 square meters with seating for 375 guests. In contrast, its flagship lounge in Australia (Sydney) has an area of 1450 square meters. The lounge is open from 4:30am until the last departure.
We showed our Suites boarding passes at the lounge's reception and then proceeded into the lounge.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Access
Access to Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge is pretty broad; certainly not as exclusive as the Singapore Airlines Private Room Lounge in Singapore's Changi Airport.
Passengers flying Business or First Class on Star Alliance flights, or Business on Air New Zealand departing Auckland can access the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge, as well as Star Alliance Gold, Airpoints Elite, Gold and Koru members. Airpoints, by the way, is Air New Zealand's loyalty programme.
Partner airlines include Aerolineas Argentinas, Air China, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, United, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Eligible travelers in transit can also access the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Amenities
Near the entrance is a cool-looking kids' lounge where we ate and relaxed with the kids before the flight.
The kids' lounge is modelled like a Kiwi tree house, and has a split-level small mezzanine above. The interior decor is unlike that of a typical kids' club in a resort. Instead of having outlandish bright colors everywhere, the carpet and walls are mostly covered in black and dark gray tones to evoke a calm and modern feel, and the glass panels are tinted black. The pink chairs in the TV room and the colorful stairs leading up to the mezzanine brightened up the kids' lounge.
Having a nice kids' lounge is such a brilliant concept that more airport lounges should consider incorporating when thinking of a redesign as having a dedicated room offers more privacy to families with kids and at the same time helps to maintain a different ambience in the main communal hall.
Even though the lounge was crowded at the time we were there, the place didn't feel cramped as there were supposedly 24 different styles of seating in many zones.
There was a section of the lounge which felt particularly relaxing as it's situated away from the dining area.
A unique aspect of the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge is that it has a covered 'outdoor terrace' overlooking the runway. A standout feature is the vertical garden wall which cheered up the otherwise dull-looking terrace. There's also a fireplace which I guess will be much used during the cold months.
Most of the terrace's ceiling is covered with retractable roofing which was closed even though we were there in the middle of summer. The flooring inside the terrace could have been made nicer.
There is a business zone where you can work on your laptops and charge your devices from one of the more than 300 powerpoints and more than 300 USB outlets.
There are also toilets and showers with towels and hairdryers for those who need a pre-flight shower.
The shower rooms and toilets were all spotlessly clean.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Food and Beverage
The Air NZ Auckland International Lounge offers a small selection of hot buffet meal options, as well as a 'food theater' where the lounge's resident chefs would whip up daily specials.
It was around lunch time, so we were all feeling quite hungry. I had to make sure we only had small bites at the lounge as I knew there would be a 10-course lunch waiting for us in the Singapore Airlines Suites on the A380.
I walked over to see what the chefs were cooking at the food theater. They were preparing mini sliders cooked on the spot.
I got a couple of sliders for the boys and myself. They were tasty and of a good snacking size.
There is a long island table in the middle of the dining section and there you'll find appetizers, sandwiches, wraps, fruit salad, cheese, crackers and small pots of desserts.
To the right of the food table, there is a self-serve bar where you can help yourself to soft drinks, three different types of water (chilled filtered, sparkling or hot) from a cool-looking dispenser tap, a selection of fruit juices and champagnes.
Tea-lovers have the choice of four different types of tea from Twinings.
Beneath the counter tops are chillers stocked with New Zealand and other imported wines and beers. Anticipating champagne overload onboard the SIA Suites, we stuck to plain 'ol water.
Near the back of the lounge, you'll find a bar that serves barista-made coffee, premium New Zealand wines and cocktails.
You can order your coffee using the iPad placed on the bar table or via the Air Zealand app.
There is complimentary wifi in the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge. It was pretty fast; there was no problem surfing the web or sending emails.
Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge: The GET.com Verdict
The Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge surpassed my expectations. It was bold in having 24 different seating styles spread out over a huge area. I applaud the design team for having the foresight to cater to different demographics of travelers, which include families with kids who fly Business or First Class. Dining at the lounge was given bonus points for having a show kitchen that whipped up quite a decent snack. There could have been more varied hot meal options, but other than that, it was all good.