The Air New Zealand International Airport lounge opened in 2015 as the airline’s flagship lounge.  It boasts a sleek modern design including a buffet, barista bar, movie theater, children’s area in a 2100m2 space.  That’s roughly 23,000 sq. ft, which is enough for to seat 375 guests!  Team GTE recently spent an afternoon at the lounge to enjoy and evaluate what the Air New Zealand Lounge had to offer.

Location

The Air New Zealand Lounge is very easy to find.  Once you pass immigration, you are forced to walk through the Loop Duty Free and the lounge is just pass that to the left. Here is a map just in case.

 

General Layout

Grade: A-

We were impressed at the sheer size of the Air New Zealand Lounge in Auckland.  The floor plan was definitely open in each of the different seating zones.  They had a standard lounge type seats, cover outdoor “nature” seats, reclining chairs, cubbies, bar seating, and even a movie theater.  Not to mention, a great view of of the airport runway so you can soak in all the Air New Zealand silver fern livery.

Interestingly enough, all the different seating configurations were more designed for you to relax.  We found none of the seats that comfortable to eat your food or use your laptop.  What we liked the most about the layout was the open floor plan and the abundance of natural lighting.

Beverages

Grade: A-

The Air New Zealand Lounge had quite the variety of drinks.  There was a bar section which serves both as a barista bar (where you can pre order your drinks on a tablet), and a traditional bar.  They had two beers on tap, wine, and a signature cocktail.  What was impressive was there were two more selections where you can get your own coffee, beer by the bottle, wine, and even sparking water.  On the non alcoholic front, they had some fresh juices, soda, and even New Zealand’s own L&P (Lemon & Paeroa) Lemonade drink.

While the generous selection was great, we wished they had more of a cocktail list since the bar was so big, like a Amex Centurion Lounge.  That would have put it over the top.

Food

Grade: B+

 

Entrees of the day 

The food section had two rows of buffet style items, with one section being the entree section and the other having more light snacks such as sandwich bites, salad, fruits, etc.

We skipped the snack section and went straight to try all the entrees, piling on the orecchiette and pesto, braised lamb shoulder, white bean and kale, and sautéed greens.

Along with the pre-made options, there was a made to order section where they had asian style braised beef in a steamed asian bun served with asian salad.  While it took a bit for the chef to prepare, it was quite tasty and we appreciated how they took the time to steam each of the buns to make sure when it was served they were warm, moist, and fresh.

Ambiance

Grade: B+

Just like what the departure sign says about your flight, any flight with more than 2 hours before departure, the sign playfully tells you to “relax”.  This is the exact ambiance that the Air New Zealand Lounge personifies, from the movie theater, place to play for the kids, and ample room to lounge, enjoy a drink, and talk to your friends.  Instead of having the usual news or business channels on the TVs, we found that all the TVs had sports on.  All a reminder for you to put the work down and just.. RELAX.

Showers

Grade: B-

We were excited that there were showers available at the Air New Zealand lounge.  Surprisingly, there was no reception or queuing system for the showers.  One could just go right into one of the 3 shower rooms available.  What this means is that unlike some of the  lounges of Skytrax 5 star airlines such as ANA, they don’t clean the showers after every use.  This makes it pretty much like a communal shower at your local gym.  While it looked decently clean, we decided to skip the shower and not risk it.

Overall

Grade: B+

The Air New Zealand lounge was very good.  The sheer size of the lounge helps alleviate (but not complete get rid of) the main problem with airport lounges, which is that they are overcrowded.  Team GTE always recommends having access to two lounges at every airport.  Surprisingly, Air New Zealand Lounge definitely had enough space for al the lounge-happy passengers.  Hopefully since this lounge was recently renovated that other lounges will follow suit in terms of increasing the capacity.

All in all, the lounge was just missing little touches, such as a signature dish or cocktail, and super clean showers for us to rate it as an “A” level lounge experience.

Until Next Time,

Team GTE



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