What's next for the Qantas, Emirates lounges at Auckland?

What's next for the Qantas, Emirates lounges at Auckland?

With Emirates axing its remaining Airbus A380 flights between Australia and Auckland (Melbourne and Brisbane are on the chopping block as of March 25, 2018) and Qantas boosting its trans-Tasman flights to fill the capacity gap, the fate of both airline's Auckland lounges comes into sharp relief.

After all, travellers will typically spend close to two hours in the Qantas or Emirates lounge before their flight compared to not much more than three hours in the air – making the airport lounge a key component of the journey.

Will Emirates close its Auckland lounge?

But by the end of March 2018 Emirates will have only one flight out of Auckland – the daily Airbus A380 to Dubai – compared to the four Auckland superjumbo flights it boasted earlier this year (before the Gulf carrier pulled the plug on its Sydney-Auckland service).

Is one flight enough to support Emirates keeping its Auckland lounge open, staffed and serving food and drink for just three hours a day?

By the same token, with Qantas ramping up its flights across the pond – including seven new Melbourne-Auckland return flights per week plus an extra two Brisbane-Auckland return flights per week – the airline will be funnelling many more passengers into its own Auckland lounges.

(While savvy Qantas business class travellers and Gold and Platinum-grade frequent flyers know that they can also use Emirates' superior Auckland lounge under the terms of the Qantas-Emirates alliance – the superior food plus Veuve Clicquot Champagne are solid drawcards – in our experience the vast majority of Qantas passengers always default to the Qantas lounge.)

Qantas still to make a move

However, Qantas' Auckland lounges are the weak link in the trans-Tasman chain. Old, tired and well-worn, they're generally regarded by travellers as among the worst in the airline's international network – and long overdue for an upgrade.

Almost two years back Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce confirmed that the Auckland lounge was on the to-do list – with the aim of transforming it into "the best lounge in New Zealand."

"We have Auckland on the plan, it's a question of when we'll do it" Joyce told Australian Business Traveller in November 2015. "We'd like to have the best lounge in NZ, but these things take time."

Joyce added that a new Qantas Auckland lounge would be "like the other (international) lounges," ditching today's separate first class and business class lounges for a single-class 'premium' space similar to Qantas' international lounges in BrisbaneSingaporeHong Kong and soon London.

The clock should be ticking on Qantas' new Auckland lounge, but a spokesperson for the airline tells Australian Business Traveller there's nothing to announce as this stage.

Earlier this week Australian Business Traveller also approached Emirates for clarity on the fate of its Auckland lounge, but the airline was unable to respond by the time this story was published.

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.


  • njskinner76


    13 Oct, 2017 09:53 am

    What about the check in area. Last time I flew it was in a pokey little area and chaotic. Wonder if they will then share/move to the Emirates desks.
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  • GoldCanyon340


    13 Oct, 2017 10:24 am

    The premium check in room was removed many months ago. There are now just the regular check in desks with the usual separation for Business/OWE/OWS/Qantas Club etc.
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  • fatty


    13 Oct, 2017 10:05 am

    David - just FYI - not that it's too important, EK have removed Veuve and now only serve Moet in the Akl lounge...disaster for me as I hate Moet.
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  • CBR boy

    CBR boy

    13 Oct, 2017 01:57 pm

    Agreed. The Moet Brut Imperial NV label covers something like 20 million bottles a year, representing around 7 per cent of total champagne production. This is a staggering amount of champagne, driven by the fact that the name is well known and synonymous with luxury. It must be extremely difficult to maintain consistency in the blend for such a large volume of wine. All I can say is that personal tests over many years with family and friends of Moet NV lined up against one or more other champagnes have led me to the conclusion ABM: anything but Moet! Veuve Cliquot NV is very reliably high quality, but pricey. All the more reason to hope that Emirates serves it to you. Bollinger and Taittinger are other great wines often found in the Qantas First Class Lounges.
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  • elchriss0


    16 Oct, 2017 08:37 am

    Even the cheaper taittinger offered in SQ J is probably the best of the J champagnes i've tried...don't fly F or have access to F lounge so can't compared to the more expensive stuff
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  • sgb


    13 Oct, 2017 11:03 am

    'old, tired and well worn, they're generally regarded by travelers as among the worst in the airlines international network', well that's something to look forward to. Thank you Qantas.
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  • eminere


    13 Oct, 2017 11:45 am

    "Is one flight enough to support Emirates keeping its Auckland lounge open, staffed and serving food and drink for just three hours a day?"

    There is precedent for EK maintaining their own lounge at airports served by only one flight a day, eg BOS, LAX, NRT, SFO.
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  • cavemanzk


    13 Oct, 2017 12:21 pm

    But at the same time to you have NZ pleading for more space to extend its current lounge, which currently backs onto the EK Lounge.
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  • aviation


    13 Oct, 2017 01:26 pm

    Since NZ moved to their new lounge, isn't it on the opposite side? Or does that wrap around to the QF/EK ones?
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  • cavemanzk


    13 Oct, 2017 04:50 pm

    NZ’s new ‘current’ lounge which is only a couple of years old. Backs directly onto the EK lounge, it wraps around the corner onto the rear of the EK Lougne.

    Now that EK only has an single daily flight, and NZ is demanding extra space. We could find that AIAL won’t renew EK’s leases once it is up for renewal.

    The lounges are all basically all on the same floor, it’s just NZ opted to have its new lounge via its own entrance from the departure hall.

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  • aviation


    13 Oct, 2017 05:04 pm

    Good to know. In that case you could be right...AIAL might opt to give it to NZ, and QF to refurbish their lounge to also allow the EK DXB flights.
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  • markpk


    13 Oct, 2017 01:06 pm

    I love to see Qantas combine the Emirates space with its own to form a single business lounge that puts Auckland up to world standard.

    The question is how...
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  • Adam T


    13 Oct, 2017 01:38 pm

    If QF wanted to deal with the AKL lounge they would, but people are still flying with the crap lounge so why do anything. But you do have to wonder.
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  • cavemanzk


    14 Oct, 2017 06:15 am

    Qantas has pretty much missed there chance to make the upgrade seamless too, since they said there were going todo it two years ago the old NZ space next door sat empty. This space has now been used by AKL for there own pay lounge.

    Would have made so make sense for QF to have moved into the old NZ space, atleast it has more windows even if the veiw was an smoking deck.
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  • hwle


    13 Oct, 2017 02:05 pm

    Does anyone know if EK will start an additional direct AKL-DXB flight (or even an indirect flight via an Asian port)? If so, that would warrant the lounge staying open surely?
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  • Brian Williams


    13 Oct, 2017 03:06 pm

    Would be nice if they did. One of the good things about the original 3 NZ-AUS flights on EK was the ability to do my onward journey direct to DXB, or via SIN, KUL or BKK. If they don't bring on a 2nd daily flight via an Asian port, all we'll have is the bum-numbing 17.5 hours direct to DXB
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  • Joe


    13 Oct, 2017 03:41 pm

    I really don't find all that much wrong with the F lounge at AKL. OK the seating could be a little more comfy/ lush and food offering quality and quantity upped but it's usually a lovely quiet space which is something I highly value. I agree the food and service in the EK lounge are outstanding in comparison.
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  • Alex_upgrade


    13 Oct, 2017 04:15 pm

    From memory, the EK AKL lounge is nearly 10 years old and existed well before the JV with QF and well before EK started operating multiple flights a day into AKL. I doubt EK will close the lounge.
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  • sgb


    13 Oct, 2017 04:31 pm

    It formerly operated from what was the Emperor lounge, zero views - no windows, now revamped and called the Strata Lounge.
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  • Clancy


    13 Oct, 2017 05:15 pm

    Hey Qantas - please fix AKL QF lounges, they're tired...!!! Happy for joint First/Business, actually excited at the remote possibility, just make it happen. Thanks, from all of us who travel to and from NZ through AKL...!!!
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  • Jordan Fraser


    13 Oct, 2017 07:24 pm

    The real shame is that for basically the same price as a domestic style, uninspiring basic business seat on a Qantas jet, I’ve been flying in style trans-Tasman on an Emirates lie flat bed, superior food and bar. Because of this we just have to resign for Qantas treating this like a domestic flight the majority of the time?
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  • moa999


    13 Oct, 2017 11:52 pm

    But the reality is, it is a short haul flight..
    In Europe the equivalent in Business would simply mean no-one in the middle seat.

    We have been very fortunate for a few years
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  • highflyer


    14 Oct, 2017 04:36 am

    Short haul but international... many carriers still offer full service when flying short haul international.... just cuz it's short doesn't mean we should accept less from the airline... i know we sure pay a premium cuz it's international.
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  • moa999


    15 Oct, 2017 01:50 pm

    You obviously haven't flown international short haul in Europe
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  • Brenden McNaughton


    14 Oct, 2017 07:27 am

    I was declined entry very rudely at the Emirates lounge on 3 October. Was told to use the Qantas lounge and that Qantas Gold entry into the Emirates lounge was not automatic and would not be granted to me. Is that normal?
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  • Chris McKellar


    14 Oct, 2017 08:29 am

    For the time being, QF and EK will still have separate lounges until a decision is made about the second DXB/AKL/DXB direct service is made. EK ticketed passengers travelling on QF flights will use the EK lounge and QF/AA ticketed passengers will use the QF lounge.

    What may happen, the current QF lounge being the smaller lounge may close, be refurbised and reopen as the EK Lounge and the current EK lounge will be become the new QF lounge for all QF J and Y passengers due to increase QF Trans Tasman flights plus AA J class passengers and AA Admirals Club members and other Oneworld carriers arriving/departing AKL, that QF has lounge contracts with.
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22 Jul, 2019 06:40 pm


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