Review: Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland (AKL)

Review: Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland (AKL)

NAME: Air New Zealand International Lounge
Airport: AKL
DATE: September 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland has lots of natural light, plenty of seating options, a good selection of food, and excellent drinks, including barista-made coffee.
20

To finish off my two trips to the Southern Hemisphere, I flew Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9 business class from Auckland to Los Angeles. Prior to that flight I had the chance to visit the Air New Zealand International Lounge Auckland, so I’ll be reviewing that in this installment.

Air New Zealand’s lounge at its hub airport is quite good — it has nice views, a solid food selection, and barista-made coffee. While it’s my understanding that this lounge gets incredibly crowded during peak hours, fortunately I was on one of the last flights of the night, so the lounge stayed pretty empty.

Air New Zealand check-in Auckland Airport

I arrived at Auckland Airport at around 6:30PM, plenty early for my 11:15PM flight from Los Angeles. The international terminal departures area was nice and quiet, and the Air New Zealand check-in desk was more or less deserted.

Check-in hall Auckland Airport (AKL)
Air New Zealand check-in Auckland Airport (AKL)
Air New Zealand check-in Auckland Airport (AKL)

I had already checked in online, so headed straight for security and immigration. After all the travel chaos of the past several months, it was nice to see a significantly emptier airport. I was through both automated immigration and security within five minutes, and that included a roughly three minute delay at security, as I was questioned about why I had so many credit cards. Lol…

Departures hall Auckland Airport (AKL)

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland location

Once through immigration and security, I first had to walk through the typical duty free maze, as you find at so many airports. I followed the signage in the direction of lounges, and then soon enough the entrance to the Air New Zealand Lounge was to the left.

Airside international terminal Auckland Airport (AKL)

The lounge is one level above the main concourse, though the path leading to the lounge doesn’t feel particularly grand.

Air New Zealand Lounge signage Auckland

You can choose to take either an escalator or elevator up a level.

Escalator & elevator to Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland
Elevator to Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland

Once there, I was admitted after having my boarding pass scanned, and was reminded that there would be a boarding announcement in the lounge.

Below you can see a map showing the location of the Air New Zealand Lounge.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland location

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland hours

The Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland opens daily at 4:30AM, and stays open until the last departure. On some days Air New Zealand’s last departure is around midnight, while other days it’s much earlier than that. Regardless, the lounge should be open well ahead of any Star Alliance departure from the airport.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland entry requirements

The Air New Zealand Auckland follows standard Star Alliance access policies for a business class lounge. It can be accessed by:

  • Departing Star Alliance business class passengers, including those traveling in Air New Zealand business class; business class passengers can’t bring any complimentary guests
  • Departing Star Alliance Gold members traveling on a Star Alliance flight; Star Alliance Gold members can bring one complimentary guest

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating & layout

The Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland is 2,100 square meters (~22,600 square feet), and has seating for 437 guests. Below is the emergency escape map in the lounge, which gives you a sense of the layout.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland layout

Air New Zealand is remarkably consistent when it comes to lounge design, and the space looked similar to the lounges I’ve visited in Melbourne and Sydney. Upon entering the lounge there was a main room with plenty of seats arranged in rows, facing one another. The lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows, so if you’re here during the day, there’s lots of natural light.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

Also near the entrance is the dining area, which has a bunch of cafe-style tables, as well as one long communal table.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

Deeper into the lounge is more seating, which is a bit more original than the typical lounge decor that you’ll find. Not only does the Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland have some pizzaz in terms of color palette, but the lounge also has lots of cozy nooks and daybeds where you can relax.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

While the lounge consists primarily of one big room, I appreciate the semi-transparent partitions that make the lounge spaces feel a bit more private and divided.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

Toward the back of the lounge is a second self-serve bar with drinks, and more seating.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

The lounge also has a terrace area. During my visit it was fully indoors and enclosed, though weather permitting it’s my understanding that they open the roof. This space has great views.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland seating

Back near the entrance to the lounge and in the other direction is a media room, with rows of seats facing a large wall-mounted TV, playing the news.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland media room
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland media room

There’s also a separate play room for kids, to minimize noise in other parts of the lounge.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland kids play area
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland kids play area

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland food & drinks

The Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland has a large, single buffet that guests can help themselves to. I was impressed by the selection.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet

Cold options included several sweets (mango and chia pudding, cacao and coconut bars, and blueberry tarts), several types of salad (quinoa salad, potato and green pea salad, and more), a selection of cheese and crackers, whole fruit, and a variety of finger sandwiches.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet

Hot options included a pumpkin and tahini soup, sautéed greens with garlic and onion, quinoa and bean mole, braised pork and cannellini beans, and apricot and almond rice.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet

There was also a selection of self-serve drinks, including a coffee machine, tea, wine, beer, soda, water, and juice.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland buffet
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland coffee & tea
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland wine
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland drinks
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland drinks

The lounge also has a bar area, featuring cocktails.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bar

The bar has a few types of snacks, including pretzels, snack mix, cookies, marshmallows, and more.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bar snacks
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bar snacks

And then there’s the best feature of the bar (and the lounge, for that matter, if you ask me) — barista-made coffee! I love how Air New Zealand’s lounges have tablets on which you can order coffee per your preferences.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland coffee order system

You can choose if you want the coffee in a mug or in a to-go cup.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland coffee order system

You can select what kind of drink you want (flat white, cappuccino, latte, etc.), your preferred kind of milk, and how many shots of espresso you want.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland coffee order system

The drink will then be ready within a few minutes.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland coffee order system

I enjoyed a flat white in a mug, and also enjoyed a cappuccino in a to-go cup.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland flat white
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland cappuccino

Awesome!

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bathrooms & showers

The Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland has both shower suites near the entrance, and then bathrooms closer to the center of the lounge. There are several shower suites down a hallway, each of which features a walk-in shower, a toilet, and a sink.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland hallway to bathrooms
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland hallway to shower suites
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland shower suite
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland shower suite

The bathrooms in the lounge were well maintained, though otherwise nothing special.

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bathrooms
Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland bathrooms

Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland crowding

I think there’s one important thing to acknowledge, which might give me a more favorable impression of this lounge than others. I’ve heard that crowding in the Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland can be awful during peak hours, especially in high season.

This is not an issue I dealt with, due to the time my flight was departing. When I first arrived in the lounge it was quite full, but then the 8PM bank of flights left. The only remaining flights that evening were Air New Zealand flights to Los Angeles and Singapore. So while the lounge may usually have people from a dozen different flights visiting at one time, during my visit the lounge was nowhere close to capacity.

Auckland Airport international terminal

Since I had quite a bit of time at the airport, I enjoyed walking around the international terminal, which was deserted (again, because I was on one of the two last flights of the night).

Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal

It’s quite a nice terminal. The only thing I’d note is that if you’re departing from gates 15-18 (as I was), it’s quite a haul from the main part of the terminal. The below gives you a bit of a sense of just how far it is (though doesn’t fully do justice to it).

Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal
Auckland Airport terminal

Bottom line

The Air New Zealand International Lounge Auckland is quite good. The lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows, views of the apron, an appetizing selection of food, plenty of drinks (including barista-made coffee), and a variety of seating options. The lounge was especially pleasant during my visit, given that it was pretty empty, but I’ve heard that’s often not the case.

If you’ve visited the Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland, what was your experience like?

Conversations (20)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Robert & Robyn Guest

    We have often frequented the Auckland International lounge. It's extremely clean and all aspects are presented well. Food selection right throughout the day is excellent, we've experienced breakfast, lunch and dinner and the occasional late evenings. The team who both service and clean the lounges are polite, helpful and very professional despite at times when this lounge gets full of travelers It's a credit to the team that maintains such a standard. We have always...

    We have often frequented the Auckland International lounge. It's extremely clean and all aspects are presented well. Food selection right throughout the day is excellent, we've experienced breakfast, lunch and dinner and the occasional late evenings. The team who both service and clean the lounges are polite, helpful and very professional despite at times when this lounge gets full of travelers It's a credit to the team that maintains such a standard. We have always experienced a relaxed and comfortable time while using this and many of Air NZ lounges both domestically and internationally. Keep up the good work

  2. Mark Guest

    Another great feature with regards to the barista coffee is the Air NZ app. You can order your coffee from your phone and it will even prompt you to order your coffee when you enter the lounge. It also saves your coffee preference for subsequent orders.

  3. Tarra Guest

    I've been in the lounge a few times and it is a great lounge when it is not overcrowded, like it tends to be for the early evening flights. Leave ample time to navigate to your gate!

  4. Ken Guest

    The Good.
    + Signature Kiwifruit martini cocktail not reviewed is actually pretty decent. Margarita can also be decent depending on who makes it.
    + Spicy wok fried Szechuan calamari with cashews was pretty decent (pre-covid).
    + Soft cheeses were an improvement from the cheddar only days of the old lounge.

    The Bad
    - NZ Elite Gold gets lumped with the unwashed masses. QF Platinum (easier to obtain than Elite) get access...

    The Good.
    + Signature Kiwifruit martini cocktail not reviewed is actually pretty decent. Margarita can also be decent depending on who makes it.
    + Spicy wok fried Szechuan calamari with cashews was pretty decent (pre-covid).
    + Soft cheeses were an improvement from the cheddar only days of the old lounge.

    The Bad
    - NZ Elite Gold gets lumped with the unwashed masses. QF Platinum (easier to obtain than Elite) get access to the First lounge with real Champagne (not the horrid Dulcet). And finer a la carte dining at MEL/SYD
    - Dining area too noisy (Sterile, shiny hard surfaces reflect too much sound.
    - Buffet food option for flagship NZ
    AKL lounge inferior to EK satellite AKL lounge.

    1. Carrie Member

      Absolutely agree that the QF champagne offering in the First Lounge trumps Dulcet on any day but I do like AKL airport in general and the long walk to some gates is just penance for the champagne.

  5. DaveW Guest

    I was there in August transiting from Queenstown back to Perth. I thought it was an awesome lounge. Loved the view, plenty of space, food and drinks were good quality. Cant wait to visit it again.

  6. Mick Guest

    I’ve been there when it’s busy and it was crowded but manageable. Guest policy helps.

    Each to their own but I can’t understand why this lounge gets a 4 and the qf FIRST lounge in Lax is a 5. Is it only because it may be crowded? The shower suites are so much nicer than qf, which makes a big difference to me when connecting.

    Brilliant tarmac views including a view of the...

    I’ve been there when it’s busy and it was crowded but manageable. Guest policy helps.

    Each to their own but I can’t understand why this lounge gets a 4 and the qf FIRST lounge in Lax is a 5. Is it only because it may be crowded? The shower suites are so much nicer than qf, which makes a big difference to me when connecting.

    Brilliant tarmac views including a view of the sea (obviously much more extensive to see in the day rather than night). Nice food, wine and coffee.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      The QF (Oneworld) lounge gets a higher rating because it's a proper 1st class lounge featuring a la carte dining with top notch food from a rotating menu, and accessable decent champagne, cocktails and great wines.

    2. Mick Guest

      That’s fair but it’s not like for like.

      Ordering off a menu vs the buffet is a slight advantage but lack of any view and terrible bathrooms and showers kind of even it up for me. Especially as one is a first lounge and one is a biz lounge.

      I guess I will never be in the (large) camp that loves the qf lounge. Ironically I think the actual qf first is pretty nice (ie better than Lh) which puts me into the minority too lollll

  7. James C Guest

    I believe gate 15 to 18 was an expansion built back in the days for 3x daily Emirates A380, plus one spare for whoever else wanted to turn up in an A380.
    So to accommodate the massive A380s it was indeed a bloody long walk from the main terminal itself.

    It gets even more confusing when they split one of the A380 gates for two narrowbodies. Once I was boarding a Qantas 737 flight...

    I believe gate 15 to 18 was an expansion built back in the days for 3x daily Emirates A380, plus one spare for whoever else wanted to turn up in an A380.
    So to accommodate the massive A380s it was indeed a bloody long walk from the main terminal itself.

    It gets even more confusing when they split one of the A380 gates for two narrowbodies. Once I was boarding a Qantas 737 flight to Sydney at like 18A, 18B was an Air NZ A320 flight also bound for Sydney boarding at the exact same time. They did picked up quite a few people lining up at the wrong queue. I guess luckily even if you boarded the wrong plane at least you would end up at the same destination.

  8. Francisco Guest

    Are you going vegetarian? Mainly veggie foods from what I’ve seen in the report. Very good as always.

  9. Tim spooner Guest

    Be prepared to stand by the fridges to pour a glass of wine. If you take the bottle to your table you will be challenged by staff and told you are not allowed to take the bottle because some people become unruly if they take the bottle.must be all those drunk first and business class hooligans.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Probably refers to the locals who take the short hop to Australian ports for not much money or using points. They think nothing of taking a bottle ot 2 to the table for their group.

    2. Fastcar4re New Member

      I've never witnessed this a the time I've used the Air NZ lounges. I don't see why you would even attempt to take the full bottle to your seated area as you can help yourself to another glass of drink if you need more. There certainly is a safety issue around that behavior and I could imagine it could look rather bad if people persisted doing that. Good thing that the lounge team nip that rude behaviour in the bud. No need for that at all.

    3. Jason Guest

      I didn't think people would do this. I always interpreted self-serve wine/alcohol in airline lounges as single-serve self-pours. If you want more you go back. So I understand exactly why the lounge attendants would stop you from doing this

  10. Never In Doubt Guest

    "I was questioned about why I had so many credit cards.”

    Under what circumstances did airport security see your credit cards?

    Why do you travel with so many physical credit cards?

  11. JP Guest

    The lounge “terrace” has a retractable roof that can be opened when the weather is nice. Also of note is that NZ operates an adjacent lounge for its invitation-only “Elite One” tier pax

  12. AGB Guest

    I still remember the charming but rather dated Koru Club at AKL international, and the gleam of the new lounge when it opened. Nice to see that it's well maintained. The terrace was, as I recall, an original part of the lounge. When the weather is good, the two parallel shuttered panels in the ceiling are opened--while obviously glassed in, it does feel "outside" (though not SkyDeck "outside"). And good to see the L&P tap is still there

    1. Scott Guest

      I agree, the old Koru club was so nice, but the best thing is that it is now a priority pass lounge (or at least it was before covid, who knows what it is now.

  13. Eskimo Guest

    Yes, during peak hours it's a zoo. Just like Skyclubs or Centurion lounges. No place to sit, lines everywhere.

    And to make it worse, CX is also directed here for lounge.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Fastcar4re New Member

I've never witnessed this a the time I've used the Air NZ lounges. I don't see why you would even attempt to take the full bottle to your seated area as you can help yourself to another glass of drink if you need more. There certainly is a safety issue around that behavior and I could imagine it could look rather bad if people persisted doing that. Good thing that the lounge team nip that rude behaviour in the bud. No need for that at all.

0
Robert & Robyn Guest

We have often frequented the Auckland International lounge. It's extremely clean and all aspects are presented well. Food selection right throughout the day is excellent, we've experienced breakfast, lunch and dinner and the occasional late evenings. The team who both service and clean the lounges are polite, helpful and very professional despite at times when this lounge gets full of travelers It's a credit to the team that maintains such a standard. We have always experienced a relaxed and comfortable time while using this and many of Air NZ lounges both domestically and internationally. Keep up the good work

0
Mark Guest

Another great feature with regards to the barista coffee is the Air NZ app. You can order your coffee from your phone and it will even prompt you to order your coffee when you enter the lounge. It also saves your coffee preference for subsequent orders.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT
  • November 2, 2022
  • Ben Schlappig
33
Oy: Air New Zealand Bans Apple AirTags
  • September 26, 2022
  • Ben Schlappig
107
Air New Zealand’s Subpar 787 Business Class