Qantas reopens Auckland, Wellington lounges

The airline is also reheating plans for that long-overdue upgrade first promised in 2015…

By David Flynn, June 30 2022
Qantas reopens Auckland, Wellington lounges
Executive Traveller exclusive

Frequent flyers departing from Auckland and Wellington can enjoy access to Qantas lounges in both NZ cities from today after the Flying Kangaroo dusted off and flung open the doors once again.

Open from 4am to 7pm daily, Qantas’ Auckland lounge has been modestly refreshed with a new coffee cart serving barista-made brews to order. The Wellington lounge returns to its former schedule, opening two hours before each Qantas flight.

Both lounges now sport a new menu of snacks including local cheese, salads, Kapiti ice creams and Neil Perry’s Bircher muesli.

But these changes are unlikely to alter the rusted-on view from many frequent flyers that the Auckland and Wellington lounges are among the worst in Qantas’ international network.

Since trans-Tasman flights restarted in April, Qantas has been sending its business class passengers, top-tier frequent flyers and Qantas Club members to the superior Auckland lounge of its partner Air New Zealand - an undeniable treat for travellers.

“We’re pleased to be able to reopen our New Zealand lounge facilities on the eve of what we expect to be a very busy school holiday period across the Tasman,” said Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully.

Speaking to Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the recent reopening of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge, Tully said the airline is keen to restart plans to upgrade both the Auckland and Wellington lounges in line with their domestic and international counterparts.

“We’re looking at options for what we do with that lounge” Tully said.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce flagged that upgrade as far back as November 2015, saying: “We have Auckland on the plan, it’s a question of when we’ll do it…we’d like to have the best lounge in NZ, but these things take time.”

In August 2018, the airline committed to ploughing some of its record $1.6b pre-tax profit from the 2018 financial year into a revamp of several international lounges, among them Auckland.

This was to see the existing business class and first class lounges – the latter used only by the airlines’ Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and invitation-only Chairman’s Lounge members – merged into a single ‘Premium Lounge’ for all passengers with “a new dining experience” featuring NZ food and wine.

“That remains something we’re looking at,” Tully said, adding that the made-over Auckland lounge was also likely to have a larger footprint in keeping with the traditionally-strong demand between Australia and New Zealand.

“I actually think we’re going to need a bit more space (because) our plan for New Zealand is strong growth,” Tully said. “I think (the lounge will) probably be in the same location, but we’ll look to grow (the space) as well.”

Additional reporting by Matt Lennon

Why bother. As described in the article it is the worst lounge on the network. 2 years of being shut with no renovation/upgrade.

I'll give my money to AirNZ who kept flying between the Tasman routes during the paramedic. 

05 May 2016

Total posts 624

We had the situation where both AU and NZ heavily restricted who could enter their countries and in Australia's case citizens and permanent residents leaving as well.

NZ citizens could leave NZ if they wanted to but had to book difficult to secure hotel spaces to come home. Australians were denied requests to leave the country even for once-in-a-lifetime family occasions such as weddings.

I would argue that prior to November last year it was much harder for Australians to travel internationally, which gave QF little choice but to stop flying international flights that were not underwritten by the government.

Yes it would have been nice to have the lounges upgraded by airlines, security x-ray machines replaced by airports etc. but they were trying to survive whilst haemorrhaging cash. Also even if they could find the money spending big on upgrades during that time could have created bad headlines e.g. "QF spends millions on new lounges and sacks thousands of staff"

bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 84

I agree with everything you say except I’m pretty sure they’d lease the fit out. I think now is the time to decide whether they want to be a premium carrier that charges premium prices or be the MH of downunder (which is where they’re heading) 

JD1
JD1

03 Aug 2020

Total posts 8

I think you’ll find Air New Zealand didn’t do a lot of passenger flying across the Tasman  either during the pandemic. This I know for a fact 

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 67

Likely they got kicked out of the NZ Lounge, NZ is fully restarting all its Tasman routes this month.

There isn’t any room in the NZ Lounge for the QF passengers too, it was becoming an zoo before the morning departures to the east coast.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Jun 2019

Total posts 14

Bugger and I am flying Qantas in a few weeks too and from Auckland. It was SOOOO nice to go into the Air NZ lounge. Getting a cocktail and watching planes land and take off. The only upside to the Qantas lounge is the party pies (if they make a come back). I mean who does not love those! Qantas has some regional domestic lounges better than the Auckland international first and business lounge. Do you know if Qantas will improve on the terrible Tasman catering in business? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 98

If both lounges were to "merge" to the standard, say of the Hong Kong lounge or the (uncrowded!) Singapore J lounge that wouldn't be so bad

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 88

Any other one world options?

26 May 2021

Total posts 3

A progressive /smart airline would have used the lockdown time to renovate and or expand.

Sadly Kiwi Qantas travellers are the poor country cousins

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 13

It’s a terrible lounge without any windows from memory. I like business class on the 737s especially the catering and service. However they can’t compete with Air NZ business class on the 787. I feel there’s a bit of Aussie kiwi bashing 😂

27 Nov 2016

Total posts 20

This is seriously the worst lounge.  I don't even bother entering, I just turn right and go into the Emirates lounge which is invariably almost empty at the times I am there for a QF flight.  The staff, the F & B offering and the whole experience is just way and beyond Qantas.  Why AJ didn't overhaul their lounge during the past two years, who knows?  QF really make it very hard to stay loyal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Aug 2014

Total posts 9

I agree it is not the best lounge but you have to bring a sense of commercial realism here. No airline has spent big on lounge renovations when there viability was in question. Emirates lounges around the world are still shut in many locations including Auckland and likely to be for some time. Try and get flights to Tokyo or Hong Kong at the moment.

The lounges do have windows and views and any improvement in F&B will be positive. Time will tell if they make significant improvements

31 May 2018

Total posts 10

They clearly don’t believe they need to upgrade the lounges otherwise they’d have done it by now. 

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 49

Is there an international lounge in Christchurch?


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