First look: new Air New Zealand, Star Alliance Brisbane lounge

By Chris C., March 14 2016
First look: new Air New Zealand, Star Alliance Brisbane lounge

The doors to Air New Zealand's shiny new Brisbane Airport lounge are now open, with the airline moving into a completely new facility almost twice the size of its current lounge.

Prior to its debut, Australian Business Traveller stopped by for a sneak peek of what's in store, and it's quite a pleasant surprise.

In a significant leap up from the current lounge which we'd best describe as 'dire', Air NZ's new lounge greets travellers with feels of spaciousness and airiness, whether that's through its welcoming entrance...

... the first impression on entering the lounge proper with views towards the Brisbane CBD...

... a business zone which overlooks the terminal departures level...

... or the main area itself with high ceilings...

... and a curved lighting fixture in a reverse nod to Brisbane's Story Bridge:

As happens in Sydney, the food and beverage zone is within clear sight of the entrance with a great range of fresh wraps, sandwiches, cheeses and desserts throughout the day, several hot dishes in the evenings and a variety of New Zealand wines...

... flanked by a quiet nook with cosy bench seats and eye-catching leather furniture as frequent travellers may again recognise from the airline's newer Sydney and Auckland lounges:

You'll spot more of those chairs in the central sitting area...

... with almost every seat providing easy access to both AC and USB power if you know where to look:

Business travellers or small groups could also set up camp near reception while surrounded by locally-influenced art displays...

... and parents with children can let them roam in a treehouse-inspired play area...

... while keeping an eye on them from nearby and taking a rare moment to themselves to enjoy a glass of Dulcét Methode Traditionelle sparkling wine:

NZ's funky magenta bench seats also make an appearance...

... found conveniently close to the buffet for guests kicking back with snacks in hand. Closer again are sturdy dining tables that also lend themselves well to laptop work...

... while a selection of reading material is too kept at the ready:

Taking a long journey such as with Air New Zealand to Houston via Auckland, Thai Airways to Bangkok or Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi? Look for the hallway with these stylish lights...

... which is where you'll find two completely private shower suites with en suite bathrooms and amenities supplied by Antipodes:

As in Air NZ's current Brisbane lounge, coffee and alcohol remain self-service rather than barista- and bartender-provided, although the coffee machine pours a decent-enough latte when an espresso hit is needed:

After clearing security and navigating Brisbane Airport's duty-free maze, you'll find the lounge by turning right and then taking the escalators up to level four...

... with neighbours Singapore Airlines and Plaza Premium opening new lounges of their own in due course.

Air New Zealand's current lounge closes after the last flight on Tuesday March 15, with the new lounge welcoming the following guests from the first flight on Wednesday March 16:

  • Air New Zealand business class guests
  • 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
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club members
  • Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Platinum members plus Etihad business class and first class guests prior to Etihad flights
  • Business class passengers of Star Alliance airlines including Air Canada (from June) and Thai Airways (EVA Air passengers instead use the Qantas lounges)
  • Singapore Airlines business and first class guests, although these members could instead use SQ's own Brisbane Airport lounge

Also browse: Photos: Air New Zealand's new Auckland flagship lounge

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 357

Do you knows what's the deal between EVA and Air NZ? I was kicked out of the Koru club in BNE traveling in BR business. I thought based on Star Alliance rule, as a BR business class passenger I should be able to use it. But as per your article, I was asked to use Qantas lounge. 

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2441

Technically the Star Alliance rules would provide you with access (as the lounge displays the Star Alliance Gold logo which is part of the rules for using Star partner lounges), but for whatever reason EVA Air uses the Qantas lounges in Brisbane instead. This could well date back to an agreement that began before EVA Air entered Star Alliance, but for the specifics you'd have to ask EVA Air.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 31

You should have been allowed in under Star Alliance rules. It even shows up on the Star Alliance lounge finder (although it also shows that EVA Business customers can also use the Qantas Club by contract agreement). That said, the NZ lounge is supposedly only open 2 hours before departure of its flights and any flights which are also contracted to use its lounge. So if the EVA flight left outside these times, it could be why you were kicked out.

They can also just quote the capacity controls excuse, which is unfortunate.

Before this refurbishment, I would have probably gone to the SQ lounge instead of the NZ one.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 382

I look forward to seeing the Singapore Airlines and Plaza lounges in the near future. Any word on if Qantas are taking the Air NZ lounge space for there expansion plans as it is directly under the current lounge?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2441

Nope, but it's the logical thing to do so we'd not rule it out.

It looks fantastic, and it certainly is a much needed upgrade.

I love NZ's pseudo-Virgin-y look, and its great to see how they're rolling this new style out. The shower suites are an excellent addition too.

The buffet doesn't seem like a huge improvement but that might just be due to limited photography. Hopefully they'll have hot dishes available more often than just "the evening." Either way, this new buffet should certainly be somewhat better than the old one. And worst case scenario you could always go to the SQ lounge (if traveling with NZ Business Class) and enjoy the food there.

The drink selection looks much the same but the wine rack is good presentation.

Good work NZ. This will be great for your customers and for Virgin's, and also represent a great improvement for Star Alliance premium passengers too.

Now let us hope QF's new Brisbane lounge stays on schedule.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 31

"pseudo-Virgin-y look"? :) Hey, who's trying to steal whose design concept here? *chortle*

All said and done, this is an infinitely better space than its predecessor.

Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 264

Recently popped into the AirNZ lounge at SYD Int Airport... after the Amex one and happy to hear BNE has a new AirNZ lounge as I couldn't fault the SYD one... I even found a dimmed area for a nap.. you would not believe it, right next to the door of the kids glass box!! Perfect in fact, I could suggest that lounges look into 'napping' dimmed zones for those who want a nap :) Can't wait to check out this lounge now. With my recent experience coming back from LAX to SYD returning to PER and having done it before, BNE airport is much better and efficient. SYD I'd avoid.

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 33

Is there an EP1 lounge within?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2441

Nope – the most private place would be a secluded group of four white chairs directly behind the reception desk, but which can be used by anybody.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Oct 2015

Total posts 61

About time!

No more turning up for VA7 only to find no space in the lounge at 8am........

Loving the hot pink though.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 357

Bit off topic, but... [deleted by admin - off-topic]

04 Feb 2016

Total posts 5

Wonderig if OPs on Etihad in business or first class are allowed in (regardless of Etihad Guest status).  Still showing as the Etihad lounge in BNE.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2441

Sorry, 'OPs'..?

04 Feb 2016

Total posts 5

Outbound Passengers

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2441

Ta - we're not an 'aviation' site, per se, instead writing for business travellers more broadly – so abbreviations used mostly by those in the industry or on sites like FlyerTalk are best avoided.

Etihad business class and first class passengers will have access to this lounge, yes.

I was just in the old lounge the other week... had a cancelled flight then a rerouting, so I ended up spending 7 hours in the lounge. I'm so glad they new lounge is finally opening. Desperately needed!

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 2

I always enjoyed the old lounge so I am sure  the new one will be fantastic.

THe staff are always so polite and helpful, the snacks fresh and the NZ wines 

very drinkable, to me it was one of the best run lounges anywhere in the world.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jan 2016

Total posts 6

Are Air NZ Economy and Premium Economy ticket holders able to purchase lounge access as they were able to with the old Air NZ lounge at Brisbane?

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 97

I'm afraid not. Access can't be bought in any Air NZ lounges now.

Air New Zealand - NZ*E

17 May 2015

Total posts 93

Was through BNE last week - have spent many hours in the 'old' Air NZ lounge... I am looking forward to trying out the new lounge in a few months time - thanks Chris for the in depth  review.

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