Etihad tightens Sydney airport lounge access

By Chris Chamberlin, July 24 2015
Etihad tightens Sydney airport lounge access

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.

Air New Zealand's Sydney lounge: now open to frequent flyers on Etihad
Air New Zealand's Sydney lounge: now open to frequent flyers on Etihad

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.

“As a result, only guests booked in The Residence, First Apartment (first class) or Business Studio (business class) on flight EY455 are invited to use the Etihad Airways lounge at Sydney Airport.”

Also read: A380 first class suites: Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines compared

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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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I wonder if the status matching they offered has effected numbers in the lounge?

With the reason given for the change being capacity-related when filled with only business class, first class and Residence passengers, that would only be the case if those who status matched were now choosing Etihad for their premium travel – and in that instance, they wouldn't be affected anyway.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Agree that if that were the case,It would have vindicated the offer. But in the instance of OW or Qantas passengers now being afforded gold/plat perks with Etihad when travelling economy, it could increase the net number of people granted access in the lounge. The partner pax are always going to be first to face the chop!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 85

Shades of SQ - all the Gold+ FF riff-raff from other *A airlines are banished to the outer darkness in Changi Airport

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

It's not just from other airlines.  All krisflyer gold members who fly in Y and W are also relegated to the star gold lounge.  Only J pax allowed in silverkris lounge at changi.  I find the Changi T2 star gold lounge has better dining options than T3, but the T3 has a better ambiance being out in the open vs claustraphobic feel of T2 gold lounge.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

oh wait and PPS club members allowed in silverkris

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

lol actually it's only their solitaire PPS club members, regular PPS club is treated like star gold

01 Jan 2014

Total posts 17

We were fortunate enough to visit this lounge soon after it opened last year. It was clearly apparent even then, that the lounge was way too small to accommodate all eligible customers. Such a shame that Etihad and Sydney Airport did not allow for a lounge more befitting.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

As a Velocity member I don't mind, but it's a bit rough that Etihad elites on Etihad flights don't get to use the Etihad lounge.

Air NZ lounge is a much cooler experience. Bring it on I say.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

What if you're flying Etihad economy and you're a gold member of one of Etihad's partner's programs - in this case, Gold with Airberline's topbonus? I've been assuming you're out of luck, which is why I avoid Etihad.

If you have a tier status with an Etihad airline partner that provides for lounge access when travelling with Etihad in economy, you'll also use the Air NZ lounge in Sydney before the evening EY455 flight – except if you're also Etihad Guest Platinum or above, in which case you can continue to use the Etihad lounge in Sydney.

26 Sep 2014

Total posts 2

Awww!  Poor Sydneysiders, what a shame.

The good news is that there are a number of other airports in Australia.

Or didn't you know that?

So the obvious question, not covered in this article is, what about them?

Hi Jimbo, other airports aren't covered in this article as this news obviously relates only to policy changes at Sydney Airport, not in any other Etihad port.

This is made clear in the article's final paragraph.

26 Sep 2014

Total posts 2

Sorry Chris,

I overlooked that final paragraph.  Mea culps!

No worries Jimbo – your profile doesn't show your city, so as a heads-up: Etihad uses the Air New Zealand lounges in Brisbane and Melbourne for all passengers eligible for lounge access, and the Qantas international business class lounge in Perth for the same.


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