The opening of SkyTeam's new Sydney Airport lounge has been pushed back to December this year, a full year past the 'Q4 2013' date originally slated for the alliance's first Australian lounge.
When it finally happens, the ribbon-cutting on the much-delayed lounge at the international T1 terminal will be welcomed by travellers on SkyTeam's Sydney airlines including China Southern, China Eastern, Taiwan’s China Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.
The lounge will be located next to gate 24, with seating capacity for over 150 travellers, and will be modelled after the alliance's existing lounges at London Heathrow and Istanbul.
One of the standout features will be a champagne and wine bar similar to SkyTeam’s flagship lounge at London Heathrow airport.
“The wine bar is very popular” says SkyTeam lounge exec Bert Goren.
“A lot people gather there of a night before they fly back home, people who don’t know each other but they like a bit of social interaction over a glass of wine before their flight.”
The Sydney lounge will be divided into two wings, both of which are located on the lower level of the terminal – although Goren tells Australian Business Traveller there will still be a view of the Sydney skyline.
“You’ll go to the reception desk near gate 24 and take an escalator down, and then you turn to the right for the buffet area which is a ‘louder’ zone with higher tables and seating, where there will naturally be a bit more noise” Goren explains.
“If you walk straight ahead (from the escalator) there’s carpet on the floor so it absorbs the noise from trolleys and people walking, and that’s a quieter zone for relaxing.”
The lounge’s other features and general decor will mimic those of its London and Istanbul siblings, although Goren promises that unlike Istanbul, the Sydney lounge will include three showers.
And while most airport lounges have TV screens scattered around and a quiet zone off to the corner, Goren says the SkyTeam lounge will flip things by having a separate TV room.
“Personally I always find it very bothersome that when I'm in a lounge, I’ve just come from a long day and I have a long flight head, I just want to relax and not be bothered by news or sports, so we have will have a separate TV area for people who want that.”
SkyTeam's Sydney lounge will be open to first class and business class passengers on the alliance's Sydney airlines – including China Southern, China Eastern, Taiwan’s China Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines – along with with travellers holding top-tier SkyTeam Elite Plus status in their respective airline’s frequent flyer scheme.
None of these airlines currently have their own lounge at Sydney, which forces them to pay other airlines to use their lounges. SkyTeam says the move to a single alliance lounge “will reduce combined costs by approximately 10%.”
“We may also have a contract with another airline (operating out of Sydney)” Goren says.
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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.