First photos: Qantas’ all-new Auckland lounge
More than simply a fresh lick of paint, the much-maligned lounge will at last receive a complete overhaul.
Qantas travellers jetting off from Auckland can look forward to a newly-upgraded lounge experience later this year, and it’s not before time.
Now we’ve got the first look at the Qantas Auckland International Lounge’s Cinderella-like transformation, which accompanies an expansion into adjacent space at the airport to boost capacity from 244 to 340 seats.
Designed by David Caon and Akin Atelier – the same team that shaped the superb Qantas SIngapore First Lounge – the larger luxe-themed Auckland lounge is of course intended to complement Qantas’ Sydney-Auckland-New York flights, although the revamped lounge won’t be ready in time for the June 2023 launch of the New York-bound Boeing 787.
Instead, Qantas says the revamped Auckland lounge will open “progressively this year.”
The lounge’s overhaul will be carried out in stages, beginning with removing the wall between the current business class and first class lounges along with expanding the combined space.
“The first part of the works will be the expansion” says Phil Capps, Qantas’ Executive Manager of Product & Service, “because we can get access to that part of the terminal early.”
“We want to maximise access to the existing lounge space before the rebuild and refurbishment happens.”
Capps is aiming for this first stage to be completed “late this year, and then it'll probably take between six and nine months beyond that” for new-look lounge to take shape “somewhere beyond the middle of next year.”
“You can take an accelerated approach, but that means you need to close down more of the lounge than what you’d otherwise do; or you can take a slightly longer approach and make sure that we can preserve as much access as we can.”
What to expect from the new Qantas Auckland lounge
Combining the well-worn business and first class lounges into one space, the new premium retreat will be not only larger but lighter, brighter and full of greenery.
“Everything from the choice of material for the reception desk, the flooring, the carpets, the timbers, will all be reflective of the simple natural beauty of New Zealand,” Phil Capps, Qantas’ Executive Manager of Product & Service, tells Executive Traveller.
Stripping out drab browns and black marble in favour of a fresh spa-like aesthetic, the upgraded hangout sports soothing cream walls and blonde timbers, white marble counters and olive green bench seats reminiscent of the Red Roo’s A380 upper deck lounge.
An impressive L-shaped bar fills one corner, its shelves lined with wine bottles and glassware, with a barista coffee station also ready to help passengers caffeinate before the flight.
Circular coffee tables flanked by kalamata olive-brown and cream lounges create an informal social area alongside the bar, while various tables for groups, duos and solo travellers give added dining flexibility to suit your mood.
High stools facing a green wall span either side of a self-service drink and snack station nearby, and on the far side of the room, a buffet counter sure to be filled with hot and cold options.
Once the ceremonial red ribbon is cut with a pair of oversized novelty scissors, travellers will see not only “a new dining experience” featuring the best of NZ food and wine, but “a number of features specifically tailored for long haul travel, based on positive feedback from other parts of its network.”
Auckland’s overhaul is part of a network-wide lounge investment over coming years, which will also see the upgrade of Sydney and Melbourne international business lounges.
Further afield, Hong Kong’s “permanently closed” lounge will return with a fresh look in April this year, while a sparkling new Qantas London first class lounge will arrive in late 2025 – aligning with direct flights to London from Sydney and Melbourne.
Additional reporting by David Flynn
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on First photos: Qantas’ all-new Auckland lounge
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
17 May 2011
Total posts 19
I like the colour palette, it should be very soothing before the long or short flights from AKL. My other comment would be, no self service wine etc. A lot of space used for a grand entrance which could be better used. Where is the business facilities?
Overall a huge but needed improvement
03 May 2013
Total posts 664
Beautiful but too many chairs means it resembles more a cafeteria type lounge. Not looking forward to busy periods when all those chairs are full.