Air New Zealand opens new Star Alliance lounge at Sydney Airport

By Chris C., May 22 2015
Air New Zealand opens new Star Alliance lounge at Sydney Airport

Rolling out the red carpet from Saturday May 23 is Air New Zealand's brand new Sydney Airport lounge, catering for almost 300 of the airline's business class passengers, those of its Star Alliance partners and also Virgin Australia.

Australian Business Traveller stopped by for a sneak peek ahead of its official opening, and it's quite a step up from the temporary lounge that has been filling the gaps for the past six months.

Inside, the space is very open and welcoming with plenty of natural light during the day, and views out onto the tarmac:

That's especially so behind the bar, styled to complement that of Air New Zealand's Star Alliance business class lounge in Los Angeles:

AusBT Review: Star Alliance business class lounge, Los Angeles

You'll also find hints of similarity to LAX in the cafe area with lighting provided by 228 hand-blown glass spheres, yet designed to reflect the waves of the Australian coast.

Adjacent to that: a 'food theatre' station with chefs preparing the daily specials such as freshly-shucked oysters and both pork and vegetarian dumplings, with both hot and cold dishes also available at the buffet.

These are flanked by a variety of seating areas: some casual and relaxing, others for solo or duo dining and longer benches for groups and families to remain together.

At the unveiling, Air New Zealand's Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace told Australian Business Traveller that "it’s taken about six months to generate the new lounge – it’s been quite tough for us… everyone wants it to open really quickly and you’ve got a temporary lounge which is obviously less comfortable for customers, but we’re really quite delighted with the end product.

"What we tried to do was make it really contemporary and open but also with a hint of New Zealand and Air New Zealand... balancing those priorities has been a big challenge but the team has done an amazing job of bringing it all to life."

The drawcard for business travellers will naturally be the business zone, with tables suitable for laptop work...

... directly next to a new 'quiet nook' for more solitary work, again with power points at the ready:

Speaking of power points, they're everywhere – whether in those laptop benches, against the walls or even built into the cocktail tables, where you'll find both AC and USB outlets handy...

A variety of chairs occupy the centre of the lounge space – again, with power available at almost every seat...

... and within arm's reach of a self-serve beverage bar.

Children aren't forgotten in this new lounge, enjoying their own colourful, treehouse-inspired room that's behind glass walls and a closing door – keeping noise disruptions to a minimum for those outside.

As you'd expect of any international-grade lounge worthy of the title, private shower suites are available...

... with adjoining bathroom facilities and the necessary amenities provided.

As one last surprise, members of Air New Zealand's by-invitation Elite Priority One tier can dodge the crowds and retreat to a 'secret' lounge, as can other airline VIPs.

Tucked away behind the lounge entrance yet relatively small in size, we'd expect its biggest drawcard is privacy – à la the Qantas Chairman's Lounge and Virgin Australia's The Club Lounge – followed closely by the lack of noise that a bustling lounge can otherwise bring.

VIPs aside, the lounge proper welcomes the following travellers:

  • Air New Zealand business class guests, and Works Deluxe passengers who booked their flights prior to June 17 2015
  • Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One members
  • Paid-up Koru Club, Virgin Australia Lounge, United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members
  • Star Alliance Gold cardholders
  • Virgin Australia's international business class guests, excluding on Abu Dhabi flights where the Etihad Sydney Lounge is offered
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club members
  • Etihad Guest Silver and Gold members prior to EY455 only
  • Business and first class passengers of Star Alliance airlines including Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Asiana, Thai Airways and United
  • Singapore Airlines business and first class guests, although these members could instead use SQ's own Sydney Airport lounge
  • Business class passengers of Sichuan Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Delta (Delta frequent flyers in economy can instead use the SkyTeam Lounge)
  • Any airline passenger who can pay $55 for visits under four hours or $85 for longer stays

Also read: Star Alliance business class lounge review, Los Angeles

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 136

Absolutely stunning!

I belive everyone who has used the 'old' facility has been waiting for this upgrade for a long time and NZ has not disappointed!

... that EP1 lounge though is especially enticing ...

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

What no hot dog maker?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 38

Well done NZ! Big step up from the old Koru and temporary lounge, although i cant help but feel the lounge seems a little plain in parts. Interesting they have included an Elite Priority One Lounge at SYD

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 38

Any news on when the new Koru lounge at AKL will open?

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 136

I believe the new AKL lounge will open in August this year, so not too far away.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Seems absurd that joe schmoe can rock up and pay $55 to enter such a lounge... Detracts from any sense of exclusivity

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Well how many people will actually pay $55 to get in isnt the plaza lounge a fair bit cheaper?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

(a) Airport lounges really aren't all that "exclusive" anyway. If you feel like you're part of some "elite" crowd for getting in then... well, don't. Whoop de doo, someone flies a bunch of times a year, that must make them super-special, right?

(b) Not many people pay $55 to get in, because... well, it's not great value for some finger food and a chair. If you don't have lounge access you'd be better off chilling at one of the restaurants in the terminal, get a real meal for the same price.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

Oops, looks like I've rustled some jimmies among the "airline status is my only status" crowd.

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Haha, no offence to me Hugo! I was just expressing an opinion and the users and members of this site are more than welcome to counter it and/or like/dislike it - in this case the latter. It's a forum after all. 

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 329

Wow even Delta's business passangers get this lounge. Cant wait to try it next week when I fly on DL16 to LAX 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

Didn't they just open a new SkyTeam lounge at SYD?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2509

Indeed, but it's at the opposite end of the terminal from where Delta's flights normally depart, so we're told business class passengers are given the option of the Air NZ lounge instead as the location is more convenient.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

Amazing! Is this now the best business class lounge at SYD? It's almost certainly the best looking!

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Apr 2015

Total posts 11

Looks splendid....oh, Air Canada, this is where your passengers lurk before the flight - any chance of doing something of a similar calibre at the other end...or at LHR too - the new lounge at T2 is deeply ordinary but then again T2 is notably unspectacular as well...

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 128

Of course not.  AC believes in consistency.  The ratty lounges are designed to match the state of the tattered old J pods!

So flying first out of Sydney in a few weeks time I have the choice of three lounges (with my amex card).



New Air NZ lounge

Which one would you rate as being better? Krisflyer used to be the best choice previously as it wasn't as crowded...

Also can you use Elite Priority One lounge when flying Singapore First or is it Air NZ exclusive? Is there a list of eligibility anywhere?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2509

The private lounge is purely by invitation only – a first class boarding pass won't get you through the door.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 169

Has the old first class lounge (which United, Thai and one or two other airlines used) been removed and integrated into the wider lounge?

I really do like  a lounge with a view out to the tarmac. To me thats the one of the major letdowns with the QF first lounge in LAX. This new AirNZ lounge looks good and I am loking forward to giving it a try before I fly.


04 Apr 2014

Total posts 208

Sadly the Qantas first lounge in LAX is a major disappointment especially compared to Singapore.

I'm flying Business Premier in September. Will the Auckland lounge renovation be complete by then? I've seen a few news articles saying it will be done by the middle of this year... any info on that?

And yes, this Sydney lounge looks very awesome.

04 Mar 2015

Total posts 17

Aparently Auckland opens in August

Hopefully before August 31 (when I'll be there)... that would be awesome! Thank you!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 506

Wait, so it's only $55 for a four-hour lounge visit? 

22 May 2015

Total posts 1

Looks amazing.  I hope they kept the hot dog cart!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

You'd think they would. It's such an iconic part of the lounge (for the small but frequently-present minority of people who actually care about these things) and it's not like it costs a lot. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 Jun 2013

Total posts 26

Looking forward to visiting in August on our way to LAX , and as there are 3 of us , its great i can get a 3rd person in for $55. 

Air New Zealand - NZ*E

17 May 2015

Total posts 94

Congradulations Air NZ - good to see you are setting a high benchmark with your lounges around the pacific.

and Brisbane...?  It's in serious need of love and attention.

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

Brisbane is scheduled for it's refurb later this year


24 Mar 2014

Total posts 14

i plan to travel syd/akl/syd economy on VA and have Etihad Gold - does this give access to the new Air NZ/Star Alliance lounge or etihad lounge in sydney?

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't get lounge access at either one I'm afraid. The Etihad lounge is only used for their AUH flights, and the NZ lounge will only allow VA Gold/Platinum when flying on the Tasman.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 4

I'll be flying with Singapore airline business class, does anyone know if I can go into this lounge and SG business class lounge? I've never been to both lounges. Thanks.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 4

I'll be flying with Singapore airline business class, does anyone know if I can go into this lounge and SG business class lounge? I've never been to both lounges. Thanks.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 4

I'll be flying with Singapore airline business class, does anyone know if I can go into this lounge and SG business class lounge? I've never been to both lounges. Thanks.

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