Etihad Airways is clamping down on frequent flyer access to its First and Business Class Lounge at Sydney Airport when flying to Abu Dhabi.
Passengers booked into economy on Etihad's daily Airbus A380 flight (EY455) but holding Gold or Platinum status with Etihad partner Virgin Australia are now being directed to the new Air New Zealand lounge.
The same rules apply to Etihad Guest members – except for "Platinum and above" – travelling in economy class on EY455, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.
However, those restrictions don't apply to Etihad Guest and Virgin Australia Velocity members on Etihad's daytime Boeing 777 flight from Sydney (EY451) or Virgin Australia's VA29 (EY6451) Abu Dhabi service.
“This change has been necessitated by the larger premium cabin capacity of the A380 and space constraints in the airline’s Sydney First and Business Class Lounge,” the spokesperson explained.
Air New Zealand's Sydney Airport lounge
Following extensive renovations, Air New Zealand’s new Sydney lounge reopened in May to offer roughly 200 more seats than the Etihad lounge, along with a cocktail bar (below), ‘food theatre’ station, private shower suites, a quiet zone and a separate playroom for children.
However, the Air NZ lounge comes without a formal dining room – a standout feature enjoyed by many in Etihad’s own lounge, complete with waiters and a la carte meal service...
... instead offering a comprehensive self-serve buffet that includes fresh sandwiches, rolls and wraps...
... and which can be combined with more substantial hot dishes such as chicken, beef, rice and dumplings:
There's also no change to Etihad's lounge access rules in other ports such as in Abu Dhabi and London, including when travelling on the A380.
AusBT review: Air New Zealand Sydney Airport lounge
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