Which is the best Star Alliance lounge at Sydney Airport?
Business class travellers and frequent flyers can choose between two lounges – in fact, they can even visit both!
Nine Star Alliance airlines fly to Sydney, and two of those – Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines – maintain their own lounges, which in turn are available to any eligible Star Alliance passenger.
Thankfully, both the Air New Zealand Sydney International Lounge and Singapore Airlines Sydney SilverKris Business Class lounges are quite decent in their own right, as well as being very different – each is fairly cast in the brand image of its partner airline.
The Air New Zealand lounge is a spacious streamlined modern affair with a tended bar...
... while the Singapore Airlines lounge is a smaller, more intimate space with a softer, more relaxing vibe.
Star Alliance lounge access at Sydney Airport
The following Star Alliance member airlines fly to Sydney:
- Air New Zealand
- Air india
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Asiana Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- United Airlines
Access to the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges is available to the following passengers on all of those Star Alliance airlines:
- first class travellers
- business class travellers
- Star Alliance Gold-grade frequent flyers in economy or (where available) premium economy
Most Star Alliance member airlines which don’t have their own lounge at Sydney Airport’s T1 international terminal – such as ANA, Air Canada and United Airlines – will direct eligible flyers to the Air New Zealand lounge, which is large enough to easily accommodate all those travellers.
(Note that Singapore Airlines also has a first class lounge, which is secreted away next to SQ’s business class lounge.)
However, as savvy travellers including Executive Traveller readers are aware, you do have a choice.
Business class passengers and those with Gold status in the frequent flyer program of any Star Alliance member are entitled to use either lounge.
Indeed, they can flit between both lounges if the mood takes them – this isn’t an either/or decision (the only caveat is the lounge’s respective opening hours: in pre-Covid times, the Air New Zealand lounge was open until very late evening).
It certainly helps that these lounges are located literally next door to one another at Sydney T1’s southwest pier, which is home to gates 51-63 – an the escalator to both the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges is just behind the Starbucks kiosk.
Just show your boarding pass, and where relevant your airline’s frequent flyer membership card, at the lounge’s reception desk.
So how do these two Star Alliance lounges at Sydney Airport compare?
Food and drinks
Because food is such a subjective issue, we’re pleased to report that the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges have a very different take on pre-flight dining – and one of the two is certain to hit the spot.
The Air New Zealand lounge sports a live cooking station where of a morning you’re likely to see anything from freshly-made breakfast quesadillas to waffles, alongside standbys such as scrambled eggs and Kransky sausages (they’re something of an AirNZ signature), cereal, yoghurt, pastries and salads.
There’s a little less flair in the Singapore Airlines lounge, but the meals are heartier – especially in the mornings – and naturally nod towards Asian as well as Western palettes. This means you can choose between bacon, eggs and tomatoes, and an assortment of dim sum, chicken and sweetcorn soup, curries and more.
We also rate the extensive selection of salads, dips and cheeses as better for light snacking than at the neighbouring AirNZ lounge.
But on the drinks front, you can’t beat Air New Zealand’s tender bar or its friendly, knowledge staff.
This is a good example of why you might want to visit both lounges: enjoy a hearty meal at the Singapore Airlines lounge, then follow that with a drink or two at the Air New Zealand lounge.
Although Singapore Airlines recently added a barista cart to its dining area, we’d still say Air New Zealand had the edge when it comes to coffee.
A touchscreen tablet at the left side of the bar lets you order almost any style of coffee (bar an iced coffee, for some reason) with any type of milk, with the option of extra shots should you need an added kick.
Internet access used to be the bane of the Singapore Airlines’ lounge, but a recent upgrade has resulted in a massive speed boost. When Executive Traveller visited both lounges last month we closed the following average download speeds
- Air New Zealand lounge 10Mbps
- Singapore Airlines lounge 260Mbps
Head for the Singapore Airlines lounge if there’s work to be ploughed through before your flight. The ‘productivity pods’ offer a pleasing degree of privacy plus handy AC and USB outlets (plus there’s that super-fast WiFi on tap).
Air New Zealand favourites longer communal workbenches with less privacy.
The Singapore Airlines lounge tends to be quieter than its Air New Zealand counterpart, despite being one largely open space – but if you really want to unwind, head to the far right corner of the Air New Zealand lounge, where you’ll find a small ‘quiet zone’ wing with some banquette couches.
So which is Sydney Airport’s best Star Alliance lounge?
We’d rate the Singapore Airlines lounge for food, work and WiFi, with the Air New Zealand lounge for drinks (including coffee) and relaxing.
Executive Traveller readers: Which of these two Star Alliance lounges do you prefer, and why?
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Which is the best Star Alliance lounge at Sydney Airport?
02 Nov 2017
Total posts 19
I used the Air New Zealand lounge recently and I rate it the best in the world and I’m including SG’s terminal 3 lounge at Changi and the Qatar J class lounge in Doha amongst others. The coffee is outstanding, the space large and modern with 180 degree views of the runway and first class food. I was traveling on SA’s business class ticket
United Airlines - Mileage Plus
12 Sep 2011
Total posts 343
Much better in SQ SilverKris Lounge (and my fave is SilverKris First Lounge, usually empty!) AirNZ had a reasonable lounge before renovation, including the self-construct hot dog stand - now its just not worth visiting, so I personally stick to SQ First lounge for self service Moet and quick visit Biz Lounge, although the showers have terrible nozzles in First Loungue which don't make up for Appell toiletries
Air Canada - Aeroplan
28 Feb 2015
Total posts 93
That "quiet zone" at the end of the Air NZ lounge isn't. Quiet, that is. There's no notice or sign designating it as a quiet zone, and in my experience it certainly isn't. Groups of people congregate there and talk loudly. The main lounge can also get very crowded in the mornings when there are flights on NZ, AC, UA and TG all going out fairly close together.