Air New Zealand’s new Melbourne Airport lounge welcomes international travellers with a fresh feel in an expanded space that comes as a significant upgrade over both the original and temporary lounges which travellers have been utilising until now.
… with today’s lounge situated in the same space as the one it replaces, albeit with an 80% larger footprint, allowing for ample natural light flowing in through tarmac-facing windows…
… in front of which sits a barista coffee zone, where you can either order at the counter in the normal way or submit your coffee request via the Air New Zealand smartphone app on your way to the lounge to have it ready and awaiting your arrival.
As you glance around, you’ll discover zones catering towards dining, working and relaxing…
… most of which provide AC and USB power outlets at every seat: so if you can’t spot them, take a look underneath your pod or within the central cocktail tables.
The spacing around the power points also makes room for larger charging transformers and adaptors as common with MacBooks and Microsoft Surfaces, which we’re pleased to see...
... with selected seats also offering wireless charging for selected smartphones that support this:
Continue to explore the lounge and you’ll uncover the buffet zone:
Nearby, there's more seating…
… followed by, you guessed it, more seating, with space for precisely 249 passengers.
A business nook serves as a quieter space where guests can remain productive before their flight (with the TV on 'mute')…
… with a separate quiet zone being an ideal spot to read a book or just unwind before the journey ahead.
Speaking of peace and quiet, children have a separate – and very colourful – play area of their own, modelled on a traditional treehouse but with mod cons like designer furniture and a television.
As we’d expect of any international-grade lounge worthy of the title, private shower suites are on-hand with amenities provided:
However, unlike Air New Zealand’s Sydney lounge which has a private VIP room hidden within the space, there’s no distinct area here for the airline’s by-invitation Elite Priority One cardholders.
CEO Chris Luxon estimates the airline’s share of the trans-Tasman market to be “about 53 percent” including partner Virgin Australia, with lounges being a key part of the experience.
“I go across to Sydney for a day to do meetings with Virgin Australia, and I go out at 6am and come back at midnight – and there are a lot of other people doing that too” Luxon told Australian Business Traveller at the opening of the flagship Auckland lounge.
“When you think about booking the ticket, doing the trip and getting back home, along that journey there are a lot of opportunities to improve and remove pain points for customers, and lounges are part of that solution."
VIPs aside, AirNZ’s new Melbourne lounge welcomes the following passengers on flights departing from May 9:
- Business class passengers of Air New Zealand, Air Canada (from December 2017), Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Australia (trans-Tasman flights only)
- Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One cardholders
- Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers prior to Star Alliance flights
- Paid lounge members of Koru Club, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and United Club, plus Virgin Australia lounge members prior to Virgin Australia (and VA codeshare) trans-Tasman flights only
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and The Club members prior to trans-Tasman flights with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia
Next on AirNZ's Aussie lounge list is Perth, due to open towards the end of this year as part of the airline's $100 million lounge development program.
You can read our full review of this lounge here.
Chris Chamberlin is visiting Melbourne as a guest of Air New Zealand.