Review: Emirates business class, first class lounge Auckland Airport

Overall Rating

By Chris C., November 16 2015
Emirates business class, first class lounge Auckland Airport

New Zealand




Auckland International Airport






Business & First

The Good
  • Great range of fresh food
  • Different zones for relaxing, working
  • Natural light to help beat jet lag
The Bad
  • Slow, barely usable Wi-Fi
  • No service differentiation for first class passengers
  • Veuve Clicquot practically on tap


The Emirates business class and first class lounge at Auckland Airport offers travellers many of the airline's signature basics including real Champagne, comfy seating and an upscale buffet catering to both sweet and savoury tastes.

Better yet, you don't need to fly to Dubai to experience it – a shiny frequent flyer card gets you through the door when paired with an onward Qantas or Emirates boarding pass, even if that's just home to Australia.

Join Australian Business Traveller as we put Emirates' flagship New Zealand lounge to the test.

Location & Impressions

After clearing passport control and security screening in Auckland, follow the clear signage to the airline lounges. Proceed up the 'lounge escalator' and you'll spot Emirates' facility to your right.

Inside, the decor is quite similar to that in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – wood and tan leather are in abundance, as are brass fittings.

Signature Rolex clocks are front and centre...

... yet Australian cities are surprisingly forgotten, odd when Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane is the next stop for every Emirates passenger in the lounge.

Also present: a variety of zones for a mixture of relaxation, productivity and dining, with natural light shining in...

... and offering partial views of the tarmac.


  • Business class passengers on Emirates and Qantas flights, whether booked on a QF or EK flight number
  • First class guests of Emirates, again with a QF or EK flight number on their ticket
  • Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members when travelling onwards with Emirates or Qantas
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers when their next flight is with Qantas or Emirates

That said, we witnessed a Skywards Gold member being turned away and directed to the neighbouring Qantas lounge when presenting a Qantas boarding pass, with the lounge staff noting that they "wouldn't have room for Qantas passengers this evening as all three Emirates A380 flights are full". (We checked, and this proved to be accurate.)

Regardless of flight loads, Qantas Club members don't have access to this lounge, nor do Jetstar Business Max passengers and frequent flyers of either Qantas or Emirates when travelling with other airlines.

Instead, these travellers may be able to access the adjacent Qantas business and first class lounges, or can pay for access to Auckland's Emperor Lounge.


Peckish? Head straight to the dining area in the far corner of the lounge and pull up a chair.

Here you're greeted by a number of healthy snacks...

... tasty hot dishes such as gourmet pies, rice, chicken and beef mains, and a selection of scrumptious desserts:

As everything under the dome is individually plated, dishes are quick and easy to grab for travellers who have little time to dine, and are also progressively replaced by the staff as they disappear.

That keeps everything as fresh as can be without offering full table service, unlike a more traditional buffet where all food is served in bulk and the serving trays replenished far less frequently.

On the beverage side, spirits, mixers, beers, wines and juices are plentiful...

... with the house Champagne the very acceptable Veuve Clicquot – a drop we'd normally expect to find only in a dedicated first class lounge:

Pairing that with the creamy chocolate mousse is sheer bliss...

... or you'll instead find a handy selection of digestifs in the dining area, with chocolates and dates to boot.

Saving yourself for the 2005 Dom Pérignon in Emirates' first class? There's also drinkable espresso coffee with respectable crema...

... but which is machine-produced rather than hand-crafted.


A business centre marks the middle of the lounge – distanced from the humming of the espresso machines and from the noise of TVs...

... with 10 desktop computers for travellers without their own tech.

Packed a laptop? This row of high chairs is the most practical place to plonk it...

... although affords little privacy from prying eyes when every spot is occupied, as we found closer to boarding time when it was the only remaining seat.

While the dining tables are also at a perfect height for laptop work, they're at a premium come chow time. Instead, consider resting the laptop on your lap in the more comfy leather chairs...

... many of which offer power points nearby.

Free Wi-Fi blankets the lounge, but topped out with miserable download speeds of just 0.22mbps and uploads at 0.27mbps.

That's actually slower than most inflight Internet, and that which Australian Business Traveller reviewed on the subsequent Auckland-Sydney-Dubai journey on the Emirates A380.

With everyone fighting for such limited bandwidth, we took the opportunity to pair our laptop to our smartphone, taking advantage of Vodafone's $5/day roaming in New Zealand.


If Champagne and dessert don't cut the proverbial mustard, you could instead unwind in a massage chair or with a magazine or newspaper...

... or head to the lounge's central seating area and perch yourself in front of a TV:

An indoor waterfall feature keeps this space segregated from the nearby corridor...

... while the bathrooms pack in private shower suites with adjoining restrooms.

Yet there's no formal queuing process – you can't leave your boarding pass at reception or with a shower attendant, nor is priority given to first class passengers over their business class counterparts or frequent flyers downstairs in economy.

With the shower doors positioned directly behind the men's urinals, there's really nowhere else to stand for the 15 or so minutes you'll be waiting: far from ideal when such simple options exist.

Overall, we'd peg Emirates' lounge as Auckland's best option for both Emirates and Qantas passengers, but would be even better if you could simply leave your boarding pass with the staff, relax with another glass of Veuve and be summoned to the bathroom when there's a shower free.

Also read: Emirates A380 business class review: Sydney-Dubai

Chris Chamberlin was travelling as a guest of Emirates.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2012

Total posts 159

This is a large lounge with good food. It can, however get very crowded with three A380 flights departing within an hour of each other

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1247

Uh, there IS a traditional buffet in the lounge, besides the pre-plated small dishes. 

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2472

Indeed: ".. tasty hot dishes such as gourmet pies, rice, chicken and beef mains, and a selection of scrumptious desserts:"

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1247

The following part confused me as it seems to run counter to the idea of a buffet being offered: "unlike a more traditional buffet where all food is served in bulk and the serving trays replenished far less frequently" (my emphasis).


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 732

Auckland Emirates lounge is large and elevated with wrap around windows to see out. Those three A380 departures close together are an absolute shocker in the terminal departures area, I have seen queues out past the front doors to the Taxi drop off area, if you are lucky enough to be doing First or Business you can break through and reach check in which is always sedate and then the dedicated fast track to a counter right next door, then up to the lounge. In the lounge, its bigger than Melbourne, and can handle the Business and First class for 3 A380's. The other problem is that a helicopter is almost needed to get you to the departure gate, they are miles away, if walking is not a favourite past time leave yourself plenty of time to get to the gate. Certainly after all that walking, when your upstairs safely on the A380 youll be needing another Moet to steady the nerves, that will arrive very quickly. Emirates and the A380, especially their superior configuration, in my opinion makes it the best Airline in the world.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

Question regarding access - we are passing through from BNE to AKL then on to SCL, all in busineaa through Qantas. Our SCL flight is with LATAM, with a QF flight number though. Can we access the Emirates lounge, given the QF flight number?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2472

Nope, you're flying LATAM, not Emirates or Qantas as required for Emirates lounge access, so you'll visit the Qantas lounge.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

Thanks for the clarifcation ChrisCh, I couldn't find anywhere that it states if QF marketed was OK, or if it had to actually be QF Operated.

Great article too, shame I'll miss seeing the lounge.

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