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

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.

Business-friendly

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
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.
 

15 comments

  • Koru17

    Koru17

    22 Sep, 2015 11:26 am

    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!

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  • Jack

    jackthomas

    22 Sep, 2015 02:18 pm

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

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  • superflyer

    superflyer

    22 Sep, 2015 08:19 pm

    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.

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  • BeijingBogan

    BeijingBogan

    23 Sep, 2015 01:43 pm

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

     

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  • Broderick Boyd

    brobro

    25 Sep, 2015 09:35 am

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

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  • kikoenaivoice

    kikoenaivoice

    25 Sep, 2015 09:53 am

    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

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  • DB

    aussieboyaussie

    25 Sep, 2015 10:14 am

    Loving the day beds! Just awesome.

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  • aviation

    aviation

    25 Sep, 2015 10:15 am

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

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  • GM

    GM

    26 Sep, 2015 10:02 pm

    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 :(

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  • kaktusdigital

    kaktusdigital

    27 Sep, 2015 10:15 am

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

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  • aviation

    aviation

    27 Sep, 2015 10:16 am

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

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  • kaktusdigital

    kaktusdigital

    27 Sep, 2015 12:04 pm

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

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  • David Flynn

    David

    27 Sep, 2015 02:35 pm

    Brisbane is next, then Melbourne. 

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  • DB

    aussieboyaussie

    28 Sep, 2015 06:26 am

    So it's not in the existing lounge area?

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  • aviation

    aviation

    28 Sep, 2015 06:43 am

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

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18 Jul, 2019 05:32 pm

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