Photo tour: Air New Zealand's new Auckland flagship lounge

By David Flynn, September 25 2015
Photo tour: Air New Zealand's new Auckland flagship lounge

Air New Zealand's all-new Auckland International Lounge opens its doors to the public on Tuesday September 29, but we've got a sneak peek at this impressive new space.

AirNZ CEO Chris Luxon aptly describes the lounge as a "haven" for the airline's business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers, and of course it's also a premier Star Alliance lounge.

There's room for 375 guests – that's some 40% more than the airline's current lounge – and more seating can be added to the lounge's 2,000 square metre footprint as needed.

We expect that'll come in handy as trans-Tasman traffic continues to grow, with Auckland Airport reporting a 5.4% rise in Australian visitors compared to this time last year.

The lounge was designed by architectural firm Gensler, which also partnered with Air New Zealand on the recently-opened Sydney International Lounge as well as the Star Alliance International Lounge at Los Angeles.

The result is a common design language boasting a contemporary look plus some showcase touches to stamp AirNZ's own identity onto the space.

This time-lapse video shows how the entire lounge came together.

The terrace

One of the lounge's standout features is the covered outdoor terrace, built out from the airport's former observation deck.

The living green wall is home to ten types of native New Zealand flora.

The great views across the airfield will make this a magnet for plane-spotters....

... while the ceiling can be open to the skies, weather permitting.

There's also a fireplace to offer warmth in less appealing weather, and three suspended chairs for a playful touch.

The bar

Fully-tended bars seem to be the latest thing in airport lounges, and AirNZ's Auckland lounge is no exception.

This is the place to head for premium New Zealand wines and signature cocktails...

... or a shot of a barista-brewed coffee...

... which can be pre-ordered via an iPad or directly from Air New Zealand's smartphone app.

The dining room

In the same vein, modern preflight dining is about more than just a buffet, so the dining room includes a 'food theatre' station where the lounge's resident chefs will prepare daily specials.

That's in addition to the self-serve buffet.

The media lounge

Off to one side of the dining room is a media lounge with 15 wide comfortable armchairs and a large screen TV.

It's great to see Air New Zealand avoiding filling its lounge with blaring tellies, while choosing to set aside one dedicated space which we're sure will be the go-to zone during rugby, cricket and other sporting events.


As you'd expect, there's also a dedicated business zone...

... which has inbuilt AC and USB ports.

But you can top up your tech almost anywhere throughout the lounge, with over 300 AC and USB ports located within reach of almost every seat.

That includes under these banquettes...

... inside the small white tables between these lounge chairs (which we think are a bit too out-of-the-way)...

... and our favourite, the low black monoliths between these stylish seats.

Speaking of seats, there's 24 different styles of seating, from conventional chairs to the afore-mentioned banquettes...

... and even a row of daybeds facing the terrace.

The quiet zone

The daybeds mark one edge of a quiet zone, where – and here we quote Air New Zealand – "the delicate string screens provide a subtle backdrop for relaxtion."

"The quiet nooks provide a space to relax and refresh while sitting under a beautiful autumn tree canopy."

It's all good in theory, but the absence of any signage clearly declaring this space to be a quiet zone – free from mobile phone calls, FaceTime chats, noisy kids and the like – is something which we hope AirNZ rectifies in short order.

The Priority One Lounge

Discretely tucked away in one corner of the Auckland International Lounge is a separate lounge reserved for members of AirNZ's Elite Priority One tier.

Like this tier itself, entry to the lounge-within-a-lounge is by invitation only.

While we didn't get to set foot past that darkened door, we're informed it includes a sizeable seating area for those folk who are top of the frequent flyer food chain plus invited VIPs, along with its own dining area.

The kid's lounge

There's also a separate kids' lounge, and it's perhaps the coolest one we've ever seen.

It starts with a parents' area, decorated with retro Air New Zealand posters (back when the airline was known simply as Teal) which we were surprised to see snuck away here rather than displayed in the main part of the lounge.

Beyond this is a glassed-in and rather soundproofed area for the kidlets, which – being modelled on a tree house – is a split level space!

Photography by Ashley Dowell and Nicholas Young.

Australian Business Traveller visited Auckland as a guest of Air New Zealand. 

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 136

Thank you David for this article - espcially with the opening date! I have been waiting with bated breath for this new lounge for months.

I look forward to your review of the lounge. ... and If you are able to 'go-incognito' into the EP1 lounge and take a few pics that would be great; as just a mere mortal Elite I have no chance of gracing that room!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Gold

04 Jul 2014

Total posts 130

Excited to see the new AKL lounge for the first time in 3 weeks, looking forward to the review. 

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 67

I hope it's different to the Sydney lounge - feels like it's trying to be a Virgin lounge. Even though smaller, I much prefer the Chch lounge. It feels more NZ, yet is modern and comfortable.

If it's anything like the new Sydney one, it'll be a treat 


02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

Looks aboslutely SCHMICK! Love how theyve made use of the purple/pink tone. Very similar to their mood lighting upon their aircrafts.

Noooo! I will be flying out of Auckland tomorrow..... But looks fantastic especially the day bed! I might have missed my flight if I was at this lounge

Loving the day beds! Just awesome.

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 98

Wow, can't wait to try it out!!!


Air NZ Airpoints

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 36

Looks amazing! Good on Air NZ for putting this much effort into its lounge network. Can't wait to try it out... at some stage...

it's just a shame it wasnt open in August like originally projected... I left on my last overseas trip for a while on Sept 3 :(

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

does anyone know whether Air NZ is following up with a refresh of the Melbourne lounge?

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 98

I believe Brisbane is the next in line, but possibly Melbourne next year. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

Thank you for that. It'll be interesting to see if the current lounge gets a refresh before Etihad starts their own.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2549

Brisbane is next, then Melbourne. 

So it's not in the existing lounge area?

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 98

Nope, it's a new area of the airport with a larger space. 

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