Wellington Airport's Corporate Box (previously the Wild at Heart Lounge) is one of the latest additions to the worldwide Priority Pass network. It's also the airport's contract lounge for Pacific Blue and Velocity Rewards Gold members, as well as having casual 'walk-up' rates for any traveller.
Location & access
The Corporate Box is located 'landside' -- before customs and security -- on Level 2 of the main terminal building, which means that arriving and departing passengers (as well as anyone meeting people off the plane) can while away some time in the lounge.
It's open from 0400 to 2000 daily (the last departure from Wellington is the 9pm flight to Auckland).
To get to The Corporate Box, head between the Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue checkin areas and turn right. There are clear signs up the escalators and into the lounge. Members of Priority Pass and Velocity Rewards Gold members (as well as some others) have free access. Others can pay to get in: fees are NZ$19 if you book online or NZ$25 at the door.
Green. There's a lot of vibrant grassy green facing outwards, although inside the lounge it's not overpowering. The lounge is medium-sized, with well-designed partitions meaning that it's intimate without being cramped.
That said, the fitout is far from swish, especially around the working areas -- this is clearly a lounge built to serve the functional short-term needs of the traveller.
It's probably about half to a third the size of Air New Zealand's Wellington Koru Club, and half the size of the Auckland Emirates Lounge. We visited on a Monday lunchtime, and there were half a dozen people in the lounge.
There's not much of a view (especially compared with the excellent Koru Lounge down the other end of the terminal), but there is some natural light and you can see a bit of the surfing action going down at distant Lyall Bay outside.
The two lounge attendants are very pleasant and, after a brief fumble with the mechanics of Priority Pass access, redeemed themselves by making a good strong latte.
At lunchtime a small buffet with cold cuts, cheese, bread and various types of condiments was set out next to a George Foreman Grill, so assembling a pretty good toasted sandwich would be easy enough.
Sausage rolls and mini-pies, together with muffins and other baked goods round out the snacking options. Top Kiwi marks for lolly slices and a drinks fountain with Lemon & Paeroa!
However, no alcohol was available: it seems the advertised beer and wine isn't put out until later in the day.
There's a small working area against the far wall, with three desktop PC running Windows XPand an all-in-one scanner/printer.
Internet is free throughout the terminal by selecting the "Wild at Heart" network and providing an email address at the login page. Laptop-luggers will appreciate the decent sized tables and chairs and plenty of power points (using Type I sockets) to get some work done.
The lounge is also attached to a small conference venue, which has a half dozen flexibly sized rooms for meetings and events.
Comfortable chairs and sofas are spread around the lounge, and big screen LCD TVs were showing the NZ/Pakistan cricket while we were in the lounge. The sound levels from the TV weren't intrusive at all. Two clean and functional shower rooms are available for arriving and departing passengers.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.