I arrived at Auckland Airport a few hours in advance of my highly-anticipated Singapore Suites flight to Singapore, and was handed an invitation to the Air New Zealand Lounge upon check-in.
This is Air New Zealand’s flagship international business class lounge, open to premium passengers on Air New Zealand or Star Alliance carriers, as well as passengers with Star Alliance Gold status and members of Koru, the airline’s paid lounge access program.
Security and immigration were an absolute breeze, and within minutes I found myself making my way through the winding pathways of the Duty Free shops and arriving at the escalator to the Air New Zealand Lounge.
As you arrive at the upper level, Air New Zealand’s distinctive koru logo is on proud display, letting you know exactly which famously hospitable nation will be taking care of you for the next little while.
After a brief check of my boarding pass, I was granted access to the lounge. Stepping inside, you find yourself in a large open-plan space, featuring a central seating section with separate areas serving various purposes branching off on all sides.
Immediately upon entry, the Air New Zealand Lounge regales your senses with its striking design. The Kiwi colours of black and white are the dominant theme throughout, adorned with splashes of hot pink to create an ultra-modern design. The visuals alone did a wonderful job of setting the lounge apart from any other airport lounge I’ve visited in the past.
The main seating area consists of a mixture of traditional upholstered chairs, swankier swivel chairs, and two-person spots featuring fancy banquet chairs opposite an attention-grabbing hot pink seating booth.
Attracted by the flashy hot pink, I briefly took up residence here, before moving further back into the lounge where it was a little quieter.
Here, the seats are partitioned into smaller zones by a series of white canopy threads suspended from the ceiling, creating a dreamlike setting in which to relax and unwind before your flight.
There are also a series of daybeds, where you’d be forgiven for dozing off for a little while. The daybeds were empty when I first arrived in the lounge, but (as with the rest of the lounge) soon filled up as the afternoon departures from Auckland Airport drew closer.
On the other side of the glass pane is the covered outdoor terrace, which is controlled at a suitable temperature for year-round use. There are couches, individual seats, and swing seats for guests looking to enjoy the outdoor ambience, as well as a small section of high-top seating.
Back indoors, yet another tailored seating zone takes the form of a long communal work bench, which was a suitable place to get some casual work done. Note that the Air New Zealand Lounge doesn’t have dedicated bureau-style workspaces, so I found these seats to be the best option for productivity.
USB and power ports are available throughout the lounge, although I was surprised that the power ports were not universal, and that an adapter would be required if you aren’t coming from Australia or New Zealand. That’s a bit disappointing, as I certainly would’ve expected the flagship lounge at the hub of a global carrier to feature universal power ports.
Near the front of the lounge is the TV room, housed in a fuchsia-tinted glass pane. This part of the lounge didn’t seem very popular with guests, and remained pretty empty throughout my stay.
There was also a kid’s play room branching off the same hallway as well. I loved the look of the mood lighting here, and overall I think it’s fair to say that the lounge’s design motifs were exactly to my taste.
That brings us to one of the most important parts of any airport lounge experience: the food and drink. A dedicated dining section plays host to a long communal table, flanked by two rows of dining tables on either side, all leading towards the buffet spread at the very end of the hall.
Take note of the gorgeous Silver Fern sculpture, an instantly recognizable symbol of New Zealand, overhanging the communal table. Well done, Air New Zealand, on incorporating your national identity into this lounge!
I was looking forward to enjoying a veritable feast onboard Singapore Suites in just a few hours’ time, so I limited my consumption to just a few bites of each item from the buffet. Among the dishes I tried, I loved the braised lamb shoulder and the chickpea curry, while the spiced cauliflower soup was also very well-executed. You’ll definitely have no reason to go hungry when visiting the Air New Zealand Lounge.
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In addition to the hot items, there’s a smaller cold selection, including a salad bar and a cheese and crackers spread, as well as a variety of sweet and savoury snacks.
In terms of beverages, you can help yourself to soft drinks and juice…
…and local and international beers and wine, although sadly there was no champagne available.
For coffee, you can make yourself a machine-brewed drink…
…but you’re probably better off heading over to the bar and ordering a hand-crafted brew instead.
The self-serve tablet for ordering coffee was probably my favourite feature within the lounge, and the cappuccino I was served was of the highest quality. Supposedly, you’re also able to order coffee directly through the Air New Zealand app, if you happen to have it on your phone.
If you’re looking to get refreshed before your flight, the Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland has a couple of shower rooms that you can use.
These are located down a brightly-lit hallway near the TV room and kids’ play room, and I briefly checked them out despite not actually needing to take a shower. Unlike some other airport lounges around the world, you don’t need to speak to anyone to access a shower room, and can simply help yourself to one that’s available.
The shower rooms looked clean, simple, and functional, and seemed ideal for getting in a quick rinse in-between connecting flights.
Perhaps the best part of the lounge (besides the coffee) was the incredible tarmac views that are afforded by the floor-to-ceiling windows.
After catching up on some work, I mostly spent my time enjoying some light food and drinks while camped out by the window here, drinking in the views of tarmac traffic here at Auckland Airport (including some airlines whose planes I don’t get to see very often, such as New Caledonia-based Aircalin.)
Eventually, I headed for the gate about 15 minutes before it was time to board my Singapore Suites flight, so that I could board the aircraft as early as possible. The walk to the gates took me alongside the windows of Auckland Airport’s main terminal, where I got a sneak preview of the majestic Airbus A380, whose forward cabin would be my home for the 10-hour haul to Singapore.
The Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport is quite the treat for travellers departing New Zealand, with the stunning Kiwi-inspired design, all-day barista service, and sweeping tarmac views standing out as my personal favourites.
While the lounge is well on par with most business class lounges around the world, there were a few minor issues that I thought Air New Zealand could address, such as the lack of universal power ports, the relatively unremarkable alcohol selection, and the fact that the lounge started to get quite crowded as the afternoon approached. If these were fixed, then the Air New Zealand Lounge would step up from merely an enjoyable place to kill time before your flight into a high-calibre airport lounge worth visiting in its own right.