Qantas to reopen Auckland lounges next week

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

By David Flynn, June 22 2022
Qantas to reopen Auckland lounges next week
Executive Traveller exclusive

There’s good news and not-so-good news for Qantas passengers flying out of Auckland, with the airline confirming its Auckland first class and business class lounges will unlock their doors at the end of June. 

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 Auckland lounge of its partner Air New Zealand.

This visit to Air New Zealand’s well-appointed flagship lounge was an undeniable treat for travellers, but from next week they’ll once again be directed to the tired and dowdy Qantas lounges – and while that’s good news for Qantas, it’s in the ‘not-so-good’ category for its passengers, who’ve long regarded these lounges as among the worst in Qantas’ international network.

The modern vibe of Air New Zealand's flagship Auckland international lounge.
The modern vibe of Air New Zealand's flagship Auckland international lounge.

However, Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully is keen to restart plans to upgrade the lounges in line with their domestic and international counterparts. 

“We’re looking at options for what we do with that lounge” Tully told Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the reopening of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge earlier this week.

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.”

Tully also confirmed the Qantas LAX first class lounge was expected to reopen in “July or August.”

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 630

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"


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 83

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) 

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 89

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


22 Jan 2013

Total posts 88

Any other one world options?

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

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.

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