Review: Air New Zealand Lounge – Auckland International Lounge, Auckland International Airport, New Zealand


New Zealand is a country that’s remotely located off the continent of Australia. As a result of its location, it has relied on a substantial airline network supplied through Air New Zealand to keep it connected to the rest of the world. With the long distances travelled, we get the opportunity to try out their flagship Air New Zealand international departures lounge prior to our international fight to French Polynesia.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air New Zealand Business Lounge – Auckland International Lounge, Auckland International Airport, New Zealand.

We arrived into Auckland Domestic Terminal Airport after coming off a short Air New Zealand Blenheim – Auckland regional flight. We were connecting onwards to an international flight Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch Auckland – Papeete.

On arrival to the domestic terminal, we set out on the ten-minute walk between the domestic and international terminals. While it had been raining earlier in the day, it was thankfully dry at the moment. It was a relief and as mentioned in a previous post, the walkway itself is not covered.

We had our international boarding cards, so aside from stopping to take photographs of the mayhem Air New Zealand check in area and premium check in zone, we headed upstairs to depart. The public departure hall, is a bit dark compared to other airports as it seems to be on the ground floor, with the departures hall upstairs.

Air New Zealand International Departures Hall
A Slightly Dark International Departures Hall

Locating the Air New Zealand International Lounge:

After locating the International Departures lanes, I used the E-Gates for immigration again to depart the country. The E Gates were open to New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canadian residents. We turned in an exit questionnaire. We were into the departure concourse within a fair amount of time.

Departing into the International Departure Hall

We were short on time in that we had only about 60 minutes prior to our next flight so we headed straight for the Air New Zealand Lounge.

After a duty free shopping maze, the lounge is located at the left side of the departure concourse.

Locating the Air New Zealand International Lounge
Map Courtesy of Auckland Airport
A Busy International Duty Free Shopping Maze
Posted Signs for the Air New Zealand Lounge

Once we had found the access point, the lounge was located up one level. There are convenient escalators so there is no waiting for crowded elevators.

Entry to the Air New Zealand Lounge

Once we had arrived to the top level, we located the familiar Air New Zealand reception. The reception was located at the end of a short hallway. Although there was no immediate wait, the zone had the potential to be a bit of a bottle neck.

Air New Zealand Lounge Reception
Dynamic Air New Zealand Video Screens at Lounge Reception
Air New Zealand Lounge Reception

Accessing the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge:

The access entitlements for the Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge are similar to Star Alliance lounge access policies.

Air New Zealand allows for access for Air New Zealand Airpoints™ Elite, Gold, Elite Partner and Koru members departing on an Air New Zealand flight (no more than four hours prior to flight departure).

Your guest must enter the lounge at the same time as you and be departing on an Air New Zealand domestic operated flight. Air New Zealand Airpoints Elite members can bring up to three guests. Airpoints Gold, Elite Partner and Koru members can bring in one guest. Guest access is subject to space on the day. 

Up to a maximum of three children, accompanying the member, aged between 3 and 17 years (inclusive) are permitted on a complimentary basis, subject to space availability, and must be supervised at all times.

Children aged 2 years and under travelling with an Airpoints Elite, Gold, Elite Partner or Koru members, may access our Air New Zealand Lounges on a complimentary basis subject to space availability.

The Star Alliance Lounge Access policy also applies for this lounge.

  • International First Class Customers (same day departing flight, with one guest permitted, travelling on the same flight)
  • International Business Class Customers (same day departing flight, no guests permitted)
  • Domestic Business Class (restrictions apply for United Airlines in the USA, no guests permitted)
  • Star Alliance Gold customers travelling in any class of travel (one guest permitted)

Today’s access was courtesy of an Air Canada Aeroplan Star Gold Card, for travel on an economy class ticket for our Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch Auckland – Papeete flight.

Inside the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge:

Continuing on with the theme from our Air New Zealand Auckland Domestic Lounge visits, the lounge was exceptionally crowded. It was near or over capacity as on arrival, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. There were actually customers standing in the access rows eating food, because there was no where else for them to be. It is something to remember if you are coming through at 9 AM on a Monday Morning like we were; busy!

Communal Lounge Tables
Air New Zealand Lounge Seating in Contemporary Colours
A Busy Lounge Seating Space
The Air New Zealand Bar Area
Air New Zealand Lounge Seating

Punctuate this experience with people rushing around and public address announcements asking people to move their bags off chairs, and you get a sense of the hectic environment that this place was.

The Air New Zealand International Lounge was a fairly large place, but it wasn’t very exclusive this morning since it was busting at the seams. The lounge did offer some great air side views of the departure concourse and several Air New Zealand air frames.

Lounge Seating in Front of the Bar
Airside Lounge Views
Air New Zealand Vertical Stabilizers on View from the Lounge
An Air New Zealand Boeing 777 on view from the lounge

We eventually found a spot to sit “on the patio”. It seemed to perhaps be an outdoor patio at one time that has been enclosed in on a seasonal basis, but separated from the rest of the lounge. It had some larger footprint patio furniture along with tiled flooring, unlike carpet in the rest of the lounge.

Locating at Spot on the Patio
Enclosed Patio Seating

In addition to the kind public address announcements to move bags off the seat, flight announcements were also made, and also posted on the imminent departures monitors.

The Air New Zealand International Lounge also offered Showers. I have always found lounge showers to be of better use when coming off an international flight, instead of heading out on one.

The lounge also offered a dark television room in the back.

A dark Air New Zealand Media Room

The lounge offered a darker quiet zone towards the back patio area. There were also some horizontal sleep loungers against the wall of the patio. Although despite the intent, they weren’t very secluded and in a high density area. For someone like myself that likes a lot of quiet when I sleep, I’d have to be pretty jet lagged in order to get any proper rest in these chairs. Like other spaces in the lounge, the quiet zone was high density.

Horizontal Lounge Sleeper Chairs
A Darker Quiet Zone

Food and Beverage:

Fortunately, there did not appear to be much difference in the food and beverage between the international lounge and the domestic lounge. Once we were settled, we got an opportunity to get some food.

Dining Zone Lounge Seating

Like all lounges in Australia and New Zealand, the food offerings were excellent. I have often found that some airlines try to cut costs by offering less food in the domestic lounge. Instead, Air New Zealand offered a terrific catering spread across both their domestic and international lounge locations. There were scrambled eggs, sausages and a full bar and beverage availability.

Air New Zealand Lounge Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Continental Smoothies and Muesli
Hot Breakfast Buffet Items

MrsWT73 enjoyed more than one glass of sparkling and I enjoyed a full english breakfast.

Enjoying a Full English Breakfast

MrsWT73 also discovered a panini station. The automated coffee barista was also in use. Similar to the Air New Zealand Auckland domestic lounge, you could order a drink via the iPad app. We didn’t partake this time as the line for drinks was about 15-20 persons deep.

In terms of food, the Air New Zealand International lounge was easily up there as a stellar lounge offing quality food servings along with our other food favourites such as the Turkish Airlines Istanbul Business Lounge and the Qatar Al Mourjan Business Lounge Doha, Qatar. There was something for everyone and I was really happy that the food was attractive, tasty and available. It was a relief as we hadn’t had any proper food since departing on our regional flight at 5:30 AM earlier today.

MrsWT73 called the lounge “awesome” and that’s “what a lounge should be”. She was especially impressed that there were several varietals of wine on offer (upwards of 6: Sauvingon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, sparkling, plus ciders, beers and bar spirits). She thought that it made me feel that Air Canada’s International Maple Leaf Lounges totally low budget compared to Air New Zealand. 

After enjoying our time, we headed down to our Air New Zealand SkyCouch Auckland – Papeete flight at about forty five minutes prior to departure. We were aiming to take advantage of the priority boarding as we were traveling in economy for this segment and had some cabin baggage to store.

The Bottom Line: The Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge

The Air New Zealand International lounge was easily up there as a stellar lounge with our other worldwide favourites. I remain fully convinced that Air New Zealand runs some of the best lounges within the Star Alliance network. The only drawback was the massive amount of people that were hanging out here before their flight. Either everyone is flying on business, or Air New Zealand offers a generous access policy, as it seems they were at or over capacity on a regular day when we passed through.

If you had the opportunity to visit the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge, how to you find it compares to other flagship lounges around the world ?

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