Airline Lounge Review: Air New Zealand
Lounge class: Business*
Airport: Sydney International Airport
Reviewed by: Belinda Craigie
Service with a smile?
Service was perfectly friendly. There were two well-presented staff members who greeted me at the entrance to the lounge.
Air New Zealand’s Sydney International Airport lounge underwent a refurbishment in 2015 and now has capacity for 300 guests, with different seating zones to suit your mood. It’s modern in design and I found it to be very spacious, despite visiting during the busy Christmas period. Vintage Kiwiana-themed posters decorate the walls, memorabilia from the airline’s 75th anniversary last year. I bypassed the business area, which had a long workstation with internet and power ports, and decided to instead get comfortable in the quiet, relaxed booth seating area at the back of the lounge, where I had a sunshine-infused view of the tarmac.
Reading materials and entertainment
A selection of reading materials were available including The Sydney Morning Herald, New Zealand Herald, Australian Financial Review, Time magazine, and Air New Zealand’s inflight magazine Kia Ora (which is no longer offered onboard trans-Tasman flights).
The connectivity throughout the lounge was excellent, with plenty of power points available and easy-access, speedy WiFi.
It seemed there was an option for every taste bud at the buffet area with salads, sandwiches, cheeses and hot food options, along with muffins and cakes. The live food station has a chef who prepares fresh food to order. I sampled a baby banh mi (Vietnamese pork roll) which was fresh and tasty.
The wine selection was Kiwi-centric, with a Dulcét Methode Traditionelle sparkling wine, plus Villa Maria, Esk Valley and Thornbury still wines. The beer selection included Stella Artois, James Squire and Corona. For something a bit stronger, fresh cocktails are available on request from the on-site bartenders. I sampled a refreshing Kiwitini – a kiwifruit spin on the martini.
The lounge’s distinctive pre-order coffee service was impressive. The service allows guests to place a barista-made coffee order via the Air NZ app, which then provides an estimate for when it will be ready for collection. Allpress Espresso beans are used at the lounge, which happens to be one of my favourite blends.
Bathrooms were clean and tidy. Private shower suites are available with hairdryers, towels and Antipodes products.
Flights are called out over an intercom and large screens with updated flight information are scattered around the lounge. An information desk acts as a lounge concierge, allowing guests to change seats, amend their in-flight meal preference or check flight information with staff.
Amenities for families
A treehouse-themed kids’ area has a selection of colouring-in materials, books, and educational toys to keep the little ones entertained.
Biggest wow factor
The live cooking station and manned cocktail bar were highlights. They made the lounge experience feel more personalised, especially when combined with the seating zones. It was a relaxing way to begin my trans-Tasman holiday.