Sydney Airport Star Alliance lounges: Singapore Airlines vs AirNZ

By David Flynn, July 10 2017

TALKING POINT | One side-effect of Star Alliance having a surprisingly large footprint in Australia – 11 member airlines, in all – is that many of our international airports boast several Star Alliance lounges.

A case in point: both Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand operate lounges at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (with Perth to join them in late 2017).

It's even more convenient at Sydney Airport's T1 international terminal, where you'll find Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounge...

... and Air New Zealand's Sydney International lounge...

...  located literally next door to one another at the southwest pier, near gates 58-59.

(There's a handy shortcut to this part of the airport once you're through customs and security – veer left and cut through the corridor which leads to the TRS Tax Refund office.)

All eight Star Alliance airlines flying out of Sydney will direct you to one of these two lounges, although most – including ANA, Thai Airways and United Airlines – favour the Air New Zealand lounge. 

But as savvy travellers know, you do have a choice.

Two lounges, take your pick

Business class passengers and those with Gold status in the frequent flyer program of any Star Alliance member are entitled to use either lounge – or indeed both of them, if you'd like.

(Note that the Singapore Airlines lounge closes around 6pm, while some Star Alliance flights leave in the evening – for example, Air China's 7.40pm service to Beijing and ANA's 9pm flight to Tokyo - so for those later departures, the Air New Zealand lounge is your only option.)

So which of Sydney's two Star Alliance lounges is our pick?

Both lounges have been updated to reflect their respective parent airline's latest style.

The Air New Zealand lounge nails it for coffee, with a barista pulling fresh shots from morning to early evening, as well as a tended bar with a decent selection of beer, wine and spirits.

But it's less appealing for meals – even the live cooking station doesn't offer much in terms of variety – and the lounge can get very busy in peak hours, and therefore very noisy.

The Singapore Airlines lounge is generally quieter, partly due to lower passenger numbers but also the ambience of the lounge is softer.

There's always a superior spread of food – especially in the mornings.

And the semi-private booths provide a comfortable space where you can work while you dine.

So our suggestion is to start with a coffee at the Air New Zealand lounge, and check if the cooking station's dish of the day takes your fancy – then shift to the Singapore Airlines lounges to eat, work and relax.

However, in our experience the WiFi is faster in the Air New Zealand lounge, so if ploughing through some work is high on your pre-flight to-do list, you may want to choose your lounge accordingly.

Note that all Star Alliance airline flights are called in the Singapore Airlines lounge, so there's no risk of missing your flight on Air New Zealand, United Airlines, Thai Airways and so on.

Which of these two Star Alliance lounges do you prefer, and why?

David

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.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 83

Not sure if there is really a choice. Upon entering the SQ lounge, I was politely directed to the NZ lounge.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 584

There is a choice under the rules of star alliance membership.  If they redirect you just point out that out to them.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 83

Not sure I want to force my way into a lounge when the staff don't want me there. It may not be such a pleasant experience.
Anonymous: I had no problems entering the SQ Sydney lounge a couple of weeks back with a Thai Airways business class boarding pass (which also said "Air New Zealand lounge" on it). No discussion at the door - just "welcome, here's the WiFi code".

SQ gets paid for every guest that enters the lounge (either by the airline that sold the business class or first class ticket, the frequent flyer program if the traveller is Star Alliance Gold sitting further back or the lounge program if the right Air Canada or United lounge card is held, so a smart lounge manager would happily take that extra revenue provided the lounge's core guests (SQ passengers) aren't being turned away as a result.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

You're not 'forcing your way' into the lounge - you're just following the rules and expecting that lounge staff know those rules too. If they don't you can explain why you're entitled to access and have them look up their own rule book or show them (on your smartphone) the relevant page of the Star Alliance website. There's nothing 'forceful' about this, certainly not when done with tact, graciousness and a smile.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

All airlines will indeed direct you to their nominated lounge, as we've mentioned in the article, but if you're in business class or hold Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status there's nothing to stop you from using the equivalent lounge of any other Star Alliance member in that airport.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 123

I really like the SQ lounge and the food offering is generally good but my god the wifi is pretty much non existent. 

10 Jan 2017

Total posts 9

Sounds like the Sydney SQ lounge is better than the Melbourne one then, that is very poor when it comes to food

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

I tend to disagree with my experience of late night departure showing NZ's lounge food offering is inferior than SQ's.

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 40

NZ's food offering in there MEL/SYD lounges increase for the PM peak back to New Zealand its noticeability diferen't to food outside of this rush.

Star Alliance

26 Sep 2014

Total posts 3

I have experienced both.  I found more power outlets in NZ and the food selection was more to my taste.  I agree SQ is quieter and the food good, but not much of a selection.  Flip a coin.

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