With quarantine-free flights returning across the Tasman, Air New Zealand’s lounges in Australia are back in action: serving ‘travel bubble’ voyagers jetting to destinations such as Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington.
Whether you’re putting your Airpoints Gold status match to good use or returning to the lounge you previously called home, here’s what Air New Zealand’s recently-reopened Brisbane lounge has to offer.
Air New Zealand lounge access in Brisbane
As you’d expect, Air New Zealand’s Brisbane lounge welcomes the airline’s business class passengers, as well as paid-up Koru lounge members, and Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers.
On that roster, Airpoints Gold members – including status match recipients – along with Airpoints Elite, Elite Partner, Elite Priority One, and other Star Alliance Gold cardholders travelling with AirNZ, such as Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Elite Gold members.
Also welcome are members of United Club, and ‘Worldwide’ members of Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Club, when flying with Air New Zealand.
As AirNZ’s lounge is situated within the barricaded ‘green zone’ at Brisbane Airport departures, guests travelling to ‘red zone’ destinations (currently, anywhere other than NZ and Norfolk Island) don’t have access for now, as red zone passengers are kept segregated in the departures hall.
The lounge opens 2.5 hours before each Air New Zealand flight.
Visiting Air New Zealand’s Brisbane lounge
After making your way through security, passport control and duty-free, make two right turns and follow the path around to the lounge escalator or lift.
If you see lots of white barriers, you’re headed in the right direction: and while they do make the lounge appear inaccessible, there is a ‘green zone’ path through.
Wander inside, scan your boarding pass at reception, and you’re good to go.
The experience that awaits is near identical to that pre-COVID, except that all food and beverage service is now assisted.
Approach the counters, and staff will happily explain the options and take your order.
Being a mid-morning visit – and one on ANZAC Day – a latte with an ANZAC biscuit was a great place to start. However, unlike Qantas’ international lounge in Brisbane, coffee in the AirNZ Brisbane lounge remains machine-made rather than barista-brewed.
On the food front, a variety of wraps and sandwiches are available, joined by chocolate cake and cheese plates.
These are accompanied by nibbles such as crackers and pretzels, as well as muffins and scones.
Make your selections and a plate will be prepared for you to collect at the end of the counter.
The scones come served with cream, and the egg and cucumber sandwich was nice and fresh.
Bar service is available whenever the lounge is open, so guests toasting to trans-Tasman travels can enjoy a glass of bubbles on request – a New Zealand sparkling (Dulcet) – along with a selection of beer, wine, spirits, and the expected non-alcoholic options.
Despite the slight tweaks for COVID-safe service, the lounge is otherwise as passengers would remember it, with a variety of seating zones tailored to working, dining and relaxing.
AC and USB power points are found near most seats in the lounge, often built into the cocktail tables, or found below each bench.
The lounge’s kid zone remains available with a selection of toys and games – and hand sanitiser can be found throughout the space.
WiFi is also back online, with download speeds averaging 9.7Mbps, and uploads sitting at a comparable 9.5Mbps during this visit.
The reopening of Air New Zealand’s Brisbane lounge marks the second overseas lounge facility to return at Brisbane Airport – the other being the Qantas international business class lounge, which serves the airline’s own flights to New Zealand and Norfolk Island.