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Lounge Review: Air New Zealand Lounge, Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport Apron view from the Air New Zealand Lounge

Flying to Bali from Auckland, I got to try out Air New Zealand’s Flagship International Lounge at Auckland Airport after many years of absence from New Zealand.  Auckland Airport is one of my favourite airports because of its modern design, streamlined flow from check-in to boarding, wide apron views from after duty-free, and plenty of dining and shopping options. I can comfortably say the airport has continued to get better over the years, but almost feels like it is in a constant state of renovation.

Past security and duty-free, upstairs, is the Air New Zealand Auckland Airport International Lounge, the flagship lounge of Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand Lounge Entrance

A Warm Welcome: Upon Arrival

At the entrance, my boarding pass is scanned, admitting entry to the lounge. Only the following travellers can access the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport:

Star Alliance Gold and Air New Zealand Gold & Elite travellers can also bring one guest into the lounge, however all other access options cannot bring a guest, including those flying in Business Premier.

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Outdoor Terrace
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Interior
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Outdoor Terrace Hammocks and seating

Lounge Design

Renovated in the signature Air New Zealand lounge design in 2015, the lounge still feels sleek, modern and aesthetically-pleasing eight years on with no signs of wear or tear. The design is now replicated throughout Air New Zealand lounges both internationally and in more express offerings in domestic and regional lounges.

The Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport enjoys wide sweeping views over the apron with lots of natural light. There are many different seating options available, suited to every type of traveller, from business travellers working away to leisure travellers and families.

A lovely and unique part of this particular lounge is the outdoor terrace, with great views of the apron, and sit-in hammocks to relax before your flight. It’s always nice to get some fresh air before a flight, especially if you are connecting through Auckland onto another international flight. Inside, there are also day beds for relaxing, dining seats, low chairs, booths, day beds and bar stools.

Seating 437, the lounge is 2,100 sqm (c.22,600 sqft). Whilst this sounds spacious, at the time of my visit around midday, this lounge was rather full with numerous outbound Air New Zealand flights at the same time. On past visits, this lounge has been more quiet, so I think this was just a matter of unfortunate timing, rather than business as usual.

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge: Food

Now for the best part. I was quite lucky that my flight was around midday. This meant I was there for both the breakfast service and lunch service so could compare the offerings.

Breakfast consists of a variety of hot and cold options. Notably, there is an omelette station which is front and centre within the buffet section of this lounge. There is an assortment of typical breakfast offerings of kransky sausages, bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs as well as fresh made-to-order omelettes, toast and an automated pancake machine. Cold options are fresh and light, and include bircher muesli and yoghurt pots, mango chia pudding pots (which were delicious), smoothies, a salad bar, fruit and plenty of other little easy-to-eat delights.

Lunch consists of fresh salad options, as well as egg mayonnaise sandwiches, cheeses, hot options, fresh juice (carrot and coconut) as well as a variety of cakes (carrot or chocolate fondant) and desserts (Strawberry Shortcake Jars). All in all, a great variety and something for everyone. What I found super impressive was, for both breakfast and lunch, there were a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options that were available which was great to see in an airport lounge. Plenty of choice for every type of traveller, catering to all sorts of dietary needs.

In all, some of the best business class airport lounge buffet food you will find anywhere in the world. Fresh and light, the food was perfectly adequate ahead of a long journey without causing you to bloat. It was lovely to see Air New Zealand showcasing the best of New Zealand cuisine.

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Bar
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge self-serve bar
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge soft drink dispenser

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge: Bar

Air New Zealand’s Auckland Airport has a bar connected to the barista station. The bar is open in the afternoon and evening to serve bartender-made cocktails from a custom Air New Zealand cocktail list. They also serve beer and wine from here too. Outside of bar hours, there is also a self-service beer, wine and cider long bar fridge near the buffet area, as well as a small selection of self-service spirits.

As I was travelling in the morning, only the self-service bar options were available, but there was a fairly good selection of New Zealand beer and wine available. Some highlights included:

  • Esk Valley Chardonnay
  • Seleni Sauvignon Blanc
  • Vila Maria Earth Garden Sauvignon Blanc
  • Misty Cove Rosé
  • Dulcet Sparking Wine
  • Zeffyr Passionfruit Cider (one of my favourites)

Besides the white wine options above, there were also a few red wine and beer options as well, but I missed the selection available on this visit.

In all, some top-quality New Zealand wines in there (and Zeffyr cider is worth trying too). It’s great to see Air New Zealand showcasing NZ wines in their lounges (which are considered some of the best in the world) to people from all over the globe passing through Auckland Airport.

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge: Barista Station

One of my favourite things about the Air New Zealand lounges (both in New Zealand and internationally) is the big fuss they make about the barista station. If you are a Koru member, Airpoints Gold (or above) or flying Business Premier, you can order your barista coffee through the Air New Zealand app on your phone before you reach the lounge. Usually, I order after clearing security, so my hot coffee is ready and waiting once I get to the lounge. And the coffee here is GOOD. There is no option on the Air New Zealand app to order iced coffee though, however you can just speak to the barista and they will happily whip one up for you. There is also an iPad in front of the barista station to order if you are entering the lounge on an eVoucher, guest pass or are Star Alliance Gold (or above).

Barista coffee on the ground is always much better than the instant coffee served in the air. This is a very welcomed addition especially for early morning flights, and I love that Air New Zealand has thought about the user experience with their app on this in order to maximise the time you have in their lounges.

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Shower Hallway
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge Showers
Antipodes Toiletries

Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge: Showers

Especially if you are transiting or flying early morning (or after work), the prospect of a rain shower to freshen up is extremely appealing. Air New Zealand’s shower suites at their Auckland Airport Lounge are a highlight, and absolutely worth arriving early to the airport for. Large, clean bathrooms with a big oversized mirror and makeup stool, hairdryers, fluffy towels and dreamy Antipodes shower gel, shampoo and conditioner which all smell amazing (You can also buy them here if you fall in love with these after your trip). The design aesthetic is clean, modern and luxurious. The bathrooms are cleaned between uses, which is always welcomed.

With a powerful rain shower and fantastic Antipodes amenities, an early morning wake-up ahead of your flight isn’t so bad after all.

How to Access the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport

Accessing Air New Zealand Lounges is pretty straight forward, and reserved for:

  • Business Premier Passengers (no guests)
    • Domestic/Regional Lounge access for Business Premier passengers connecting onto a Business Premier flight on the same ticket.
  • Airpoints Gold, Elite, Elite Partner and Priority One Members travelling on any Air New Zealand, Partner Airline (selected routes) or Star Alliance flight (1 guest)
  • Star Alliance Gold
  • Travelling on a partner airline (non-Star Alliance) in Business Class or First Class on a select route
  • Lounge eVouchers (usually earned through certain NZ credit cards or 2 passes per year if you hold Airpoints Silver) (no guest)
  • Koru Member (1 guest)

Also to note, lounge access is upon departure only, so is not available upon arrival unless you have a connecting Air New Zealand (or selected codeshare partner flight).

Can you pay to access the Air New Zealand Lounge?

Unfortunately, you cannot purchase day passes for Air New Zealand lounges. Access criteria is strictly based on the categories above, so you must fit into one in order to access the lounge.

If you travel frequently on Air New Zealand but are unlikely to meet the status credit requirements for Air New Zealand Gold, you could consider paying for a Koru Membership which would grant you (+1 guest) access to all Air New Zealand lounges in their network. Additionally, lounge access for Koru members is available on select routes with partner airlines too, including:

  • Hong Kong from Auckland or Christchurch on Cathay Pacific (NZ flight number)
  • Singapore to/from Auckland with Singapore Airlines or Air New Zealand (NZ flight number)
  • Beijing to/from Auckland with Air China (NZ flight number)
  • San Francisco from Auckland or Christchurch on United Airlines (NZ flight number) or Air New Zealand (UA or NZ flight number)

If you are looking at purchasing a Koru membership, it’s worth looking carefully at the terms and conditions carefully, and whether you can justify the cost with your future travel plans. If you frequently have greater travel plans outside of the Asia Pacific/Trans-Tasman/New Zealand and Pacific Islands region, it may be worth looking into a Priority Pass membership or signing up for a credit card that provides lounge access globally. You wouldn’t get access to Air New Zealand lounges, but with Priority Pass, you would get access to over 1,300 airport lounges globally, with many options available in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

What time does the Auckland Air New Zealand Lounge open?

The Auckland Air New Zealand Lounge opens at 4:30am everyday and closes after the last departure (roughly midnight). Star Alliance flights will be well-catered throughout the entire day for as the final Star Alliance flight of the day is usually the Air New Zealand flight to Singapore. Do note that Auckland Airport departures/security opens at 4:30am, so bear that in mind if you have an early morning flight, as you may need to wait for security and immigration to open if you arrive at the airport before then.

Light Fixture at Air New Zealand Auckland Airport Lounge


In conclusion, the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport is a fantastic stop pre-departure if you are eligible for access, and worthy of getting to the airport early for. Air New Zealand’s signature flagship lounge lives up to that marque, however, it can get very busy so be prepared to wait for a seat at peak times. The food is fresh and healthy, and some of the best you will see in a business class airport lounge anywhere in the world. Showcasing the best of New Zealand food and wine, it is a testament to New Zealand hospitality and local producers. With something for every type of traveller, the Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge is well worth a visit.