Best/Worst lounges on NZ network

Old Jan 8, 04, 8:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Stanmore, Sydney, Australia.
Programs: NZ Airpoints GE
Posts: 1,360
Best/Worst lounges on NZ network

Mad_Atta has suggested we do the Utlimate Lounge thread.

So....come on....tell us the best and the worst. Which lounge has the best/worst food, nicest/rudest staff, grea/worst views, etc

I await!!!!!
MrSydney is offline  
Old Jan 8, 04, 9:13 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Auckland NZAA
Posts: 532
Probably a good idea to start off with some useful links on the NZ website.

So click HERE for a list of the available facilities at the international destinations. (Just hold your mouse over the appropriate city name)

Or click HERE for the domestic lounges.

And HERE you can find airport maps showing the location of the lounges.
airnzboy is offline  
Old Jan 8, 04, 9:14 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Stanmore, Sydney, Australia.
Programs: NZ Airpoints GE
Posts: 1,360
Let me get the ball rolling!!!

Best

SYD I would have to say. It's a nicely appointed lounge with a very contemporary feel about it. Lots of natural light. Love the views of the tarmac and gates. I could sit in this lounge for hours on end.

Average

AKL International. This lounge needs a 'fashion makeover'. It is looking
decidely gloomy - especially the inner lounge area - some brighter cours would do nicely. What I do like about this lounge is the great views of the gates, tarmac and runway.

Worst

LAX One word - Unspeakble

MrSydney is offline  
Old Jan 9, 04, 3:24 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,046
SYD is by far the best and I think it's been mentioned a few times and come very high on SkyTraxx awards, AKL is still quite good, LAX I feel is still great, the worst has got to be HNL! It is dated, super crowded (read - you need to stand up), the food selection is mediocre, but the staff there are great (as always with NZ staff).
kawoh is offline  
Old Jan 9, 04, 4:52 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Oz, Wales, Fiji. AirNZ Gold Elite, Virgin Australia Platinum, Qantas Gold, Hyatt and IHG Platinum.
Posts: 541
Best:

Sydney (as everyoneseems to agree) - great food and wine selection, fantastic views, lots of space, internet, kids room, just super.

Honorable mention:

Nadi, Rarotonga and Papeete - love all three, good drinks and sandwiches (Nadi lags behind here, as the sandwiches only seem to come out for some flights, eg not for NAN-LAX) and great atmosphere.

Worst:

Well, LAX isn't great, but I don't find it terrible (drinks are good at least). What it needs is more space, more showers and definately some sandwiches and better snacks. Why, when Sydney has cake, cold cuts, sandwiches, salads and cheeses, LAX only gets Tasty Lees Pack-o Snacks? Surely you don't need a lounge upgrade to offer some sandwiches. But I'd say the worst lounge is the Red Carpet Club shared in London. Pretty terrible, good thing there are plently of other choices if you have *G (or a J/F boarding pass).

I also agree that the AKL lounge needs an upgrade. Also, the sandwiches aren't as nice as they used to be.

Why do I care so much about sandwiches?

Cheers, Zac
Zaco is offline  
Old Jan 9, 04, 5:08 pm
  #6  
Moderator, CoronaVirus and Hilton Honors
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: on a short leash
Programs: some
Posts: 71,055
What about domestic?

AKL and WLG both very good. WLG wins out for me due to not being so crowded, and the area around the corner especially - perhaps shouldnt have admitted that

NSN very small and basic.
Kiwi Flyer is offline  
Old Jan 10, 04, 3:11 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,046
I thought WLG was great, the food spread was also quite OK, they had sushi there in the afternoons. There is also a great view of the surrounds from both sides.

I'm not so critical of AKL, the food selection isn't as good as SYD, but they do have a couple of terminals with high speed internet, lots of different seating arrangements and a larger area which opens up if it gets too busy and superb shower facilities (with joico shampoos, etc) which are a god send after a LAX-AKL and a connection through to SYD.

I agree with LAX, it is just fine though v.small, it has all the amenities you need, shower, toilets in the lounge, 2 high speed internet PCs, relatively modern inside (certainly not worn), just the food selection is somewhat lacking (but it's just as bad at the NW & AC lounges next door).
kawoh is offline  
Old Jan 11, 04, 6:50 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,607
Best domestic NZ lounge: WLG

Nice features: The WLG domestic lounge is large, comfortable, clean, usually uncrowded, has great views, a good selection of current NZ newspapers and decent drinks and munchies. If you happen to be there at the right time (5 pm?) for the afternoon to evening snack swap you can munch from both selections.

Special features: the business center has a large board with heaps of various types of cell phone charger adapters mounted on it for those who forgot to bring theirs along.

Lounge drawbacks: You have to go to WLG to enjoy it


Best international NZ operated lounge: The SYD first Class lounge.

Nice features: Uncrowded, usually quiet, comfortable recliners, plenty of shower rooms.

Drawbacks: The lounge overlooks a couple fairly boring gate positions usually occupied by non Air NZ aircraft. The business lounge next door offers better viewing for those who like to watch airport operations.

Needs improvement:

1) Over the past few years the SYD FC lounge shower granite style shower floors have gotten progressively more grotty on average.

2) The SYD FC showers usually aren't stocked with packages of towels like the AKL FC shower room (what's so hard about doing so?)

3) The single PC in the SYD First Class lounge is often missing or not working. It happened to be there and up when I passed through last Friday, however net access was painfully slow. Worse, it had some brain dead "Net Nanny" software installed on it which decided to block some usueful and completely safe sites at random. Furthermore telnet was disabled so some people will find the PC useless for checking mail.

Special features: One of the TVs in the lounge is usually tuned to a special monitor screen listing the status of the all international ops at SYD. The screen lists flight number, aircraft registration, gates, various times, statuses and even pax loads.

Weird feature: Air NZ no longer has First Class service out of SYD. I've been through the lounge several times over the last few years, but now it's been when flying UA or TG.


Worst Air NZ operated international lounge: LAX

Drawbacks: The LAX lounge is often too overcrowded and noisy. No "proper" First Class lounge. The service staff seem ok but the front desk staff often seem clueless. A couple times pax have been asked to leave the lounge and go to the gate before the last flight of the evening is ready because the staff seem to want to go home. The ratio of bodies to available chair, shower, newspaper or whatever is embarassing.

Other lounges ...

AKL International First Class: Not as nice or as comfortable as the SYD FC lounge. This lounge could use some recliners like SYD has.


WLG International: The WLG NZ international lounge is small, but nice and reasonably comfortable. It shares the award for weird decoration with its stuffed birds on orange pipes theme.


Finally there's one thing that needs improvement in most every NZ operated lounge as well as onboard in business and first class ... That's right, you guessed it, it's the cheese

I swear for the last 4 or so years on every flight in NZ First and Business and in most every NZ lounge I've been faced with the same four cheeses: the same good, but not great blue style cheese, an ok cheddar and gouda style cheese and a really marginal brie. It's time for a change!


[This message has been edited by Quokka (edited Jan 11, 2004).]
Quokka is offline  
Old Jan 11, 04, 4:55 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: MEL
Programs: VA Plat QF Silv
Posts: 251
Rudest staff - has to be AKL International - ever try changing flights if delayed, asking for better seat etc

Best staff - home port of MEL, but the lounge needs an update and gets a bit crowded - there is NO computer and I think only 3 phone plugs for laptop plug-ins. CHC international also gets a bit crowded and the coffee machine is closed for cleaning seemingly all day, every day...anyone ever used it?
CorporateFlyer is offline  
Old Jan 11, 04, 9:13 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: NZ/AUS
Posts: 698
Hi all

I have to put in a plug for the Hamilton lounge.

Its small, dark and limited but I think the world of it, lol.

Dave
MRSTARALLIANCE is offline  
Old Jan 11, 04, 9:33 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SYD
Programs: OZ*G, VA gold, NZ*G (Elite), QF bronze, Hyatt Explorist, HH Gold, Bonvoyed ("Gold")
Posts: 5,124
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by CorporateFlyer:
CHC international also gets a bit crowded and the coffee machine is closed for cleaning seemingly all day, every day...anyone ever used it?</font>
I've only been to CHC Int'l lounge once, which was a couple of weeks ago, and the coffee machine was operational then!

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Quokka:
I swear for the last 4 or so years on every flight in NZ First and Business and in most every NZ lounge I've been faced with the same four cheeses: the same good, but not great blue style cheese, an ok cheddar and gouda style cheese and a really marginal brie. It's time for a change!</font>
I hadn't actually thought about it, but now you mention it you're right, the cheese *is* always the same. I love the Kikorangi creamy blue cheese, but the others aren't very exciting...

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by MrSydney:
Mad_Atta has suggested we do the Utlimate Lounge thread.</font>
Indeed I did, so about time I participated. Here are my thoughts on the few NZ lounges that I have visited:

Sydney International: I'd have to agree with the consensus that this is a great lounge. Nice view over the apron and runway from the main lounge area. There's usually a great range of food and drink on offer, nice bathroom and shower facilities, loads of space (it has never seemed even remotely crowded) and a few internet-enabled PC's in the business area plus sprinkled around the lounge (great provided the ISP bills have been paid!!). Reading material is a bit lacking, but this seems to apply to all NZ lounges - do they *really* think we want to read BMW's corporate magazine??? All in all it's by far the best Star Lounge at SYD: the SQ lounge is small and dull with disappointing food choices; the UA RCC is surprisingly nice but still well outclassed, and a little bit claustrophobic due to lack of natural light. Surprisingly, this lounge also IMHO beats the QF international lounge at SYD (I can't speak for the QF First lounge) and the NZ lounge in AKL, both of which are 'home base' lounges after all. The First lounge next door is differentiated only by being MUCH smaller and quieter, with ultra-comfy black leather recliner chairs and very smart shower suites but a less interesting view. The food/drink offerings seem to be the same as next door, though some have found them more limited. Although, as Quokka pointed out, NZ has no F services from SYD any more, this lounge is also contracted to Emirates, Thai and (I think) Korean, all of whom have F service, hence the continuation of the F section.

Auckland International: A pretty nice lounge, but now outclassed by SYD. Best features besides the usual strong food/drink offerings are the great views of apron, runway and out to the Manukau Heads, plus the design with a few distinct seating areas - you can usually find a quiet spot somewhere. Very nice shower suites too. Weaknesses include only 2 internet PC's for the whole (large) lounge, and a slightly dated feel with that rather '80s corporate art' looking metal sculpture thingy. Also has probably the best range of reading material. I was interested to sample the AKL QF Club the other day, which was quite disappointing, with not much in the way of food, no views, and surprisingly little space given QF's considerable presence at AKL.

Wellington International: Quite small but nicely appointed lounge, still looking very fresh and modern. I like the layered glass lights. Most disappointing feature is the dull view over the car park - the QF Club next door has a much better view over the international apron (though the NZ domestic lounge view trumps them both). Very conveniently close to the gates... but then again, in Wellington International it couldn't really be anything else! I find WLG an extremely user-friendly airport, and this lounge is no exception.

Christchurch International: I was a little disappointed by this lounge. CHC's International terminal has been so beautifully redesigned with some very stylish public areas, so it is a surprise to discover that the tucked-away NZ lounge is actually in part of the old terminal building, with dated decor to match. It's also pretty small (I would imagine it must be very crowded when NZ's 747 and 763 international services coincide, particularly if SQ is also in at the time), which probably explains the much more limited beverages available compared to most NZ lounges - there just doesn't seem to be the fridge space. Food offerings are still respectable though, and there's a great view of the main runway and across to the GA activity on the parallel grass strip, plus the Southern Alps in the distance. The bathroom / shower area is particularly dated. The CHC QF Club puts this to shame.

Rarotonga International: I've read comments elsewhere that this lounge is a disgrace, plus glowing reviews from Zaco who regards it as a particular favourite. In such a small and simple airport as RAR I think it's pretty impressive that there's a lounge here at all - it is also small and simple, but it has all the basics you need, plus some nice fresh tropical fruit. It's also air-conditioned, unlike much of the airport, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you're feeling.

Wellington domestic Koru Lounge: A nice, airy, well-appointed lounge with a number of different seating areas, most with excellent views of runway and terminal activity. Pretty smart bathrooms, too, though the rest of the lounge is looking just a little more worn (eg the seat upholstery) than the age of the airport would lead you to expect, indicating that it probably sees some pretty heavy usage. In these days of no food on domestic NZ services, the lounge food selection is superb - on my one and only visit here food options included the usual cheese & biscuits and salty snacks, plus delicious antipasto, olives, kumara salad, marinated calimari, salami, other salad items and delicious rolls plus some sweet nibbly bits too. Most impressive of all was no fewer than 13 different beers on offer plus a respectable choice of wines, which (hurrah!) were not all dominated by Montana as they tend to be in the international lounges. (Don't get me wrong, Montana make some great products, but given that AirNZ sees itself as an ambassador for the NZ wine industry I think they should branch out a little more.)

Auckland domestic Koru Lounge: A pretty decent lounge with good food & alcohol range when I last visited, which was before its recent revamp. Even pre-facelift it was already by far the nicest thing in the grotty old Auckland domestic terminal. Any comments on the new look?

I'd also be curious to hear what some of the smaller domestic lounges are like, e.g. DUD and ZQN... anyone?

[edited to fix grammar]

[This message has been edited by mad_atta (edited Jan 11, 2004).]
mad_atta is offline  
Old Jan 11, 04, 9:57 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SYD
Programs: OZ*G, VA gold, NZ*G (Elite), QF bronze, Hyatt Explorist, HH Gold, Bonvoyed ("Gold")
Posts: 5,124
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by airnzboy:
Probably a good idea to start off with some useful links on the NZ website.

... And HERE you can find airport maps showing the location of the lounges.
</font>
These are dreadful old maps! Some of them are completely wrong now (e.g. the CHC one) and most are so badly drawn as to be not much help (e.g. the the WLG one). Time for NZ's webmaster to update them, methinks!
mad_atta is offline  
Old Jan 12, 04, 10:14 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,754
This friday I'll be flying HKG-AKL, with a 2 hr layover before AKL-CHC. I like the AKL int'l lounge a lot but have never been to the domestic lounge. Is the int'l lounge better than the domestic one? If so, I suppose I can use the int'l lounge instead of the domestic one, allowing for extra time to change terminals?

Also, CHC is supposed to have 'internet access'. I take that to mean PCs with internet acess, right?
sfvoyage is offline  
Old Jan 12, 04, 3:58 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SYD
Programs: OZ*G, VA gold, NZ*G (Elite), QF bronze, Hyatt Explorist, HH Gold, Bonvoyed ("Gold")
Posts: 5,124
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by sfvoyage:
This friday I'll be flying HKG-AKL, with a 2 hr layover before AKL-CHC. I like the AKL int'l lounge a lot but have never been to the domestic lounge. Is the int'l lounge better than the domestic one? If so, I suppose I can use the int'l lounge instead of the domestic one, allowing for extra time to change terminals?</font>
Technically you probably could, but it might not be wise - partly because your luggage would still be circulating on the carousel downstairs while you were in the lounge, and partly because AKL is a bit overstretched this summer and customs & immigration processing times can be pretty slow. I've heard good things about the renovated AKL domestic lounge, so probably better to get on over there and enjoy a change of scene, especially as you'll be more relaxed without having to worry whether you've left enough time to get through processing and over to the domestic terminal. I would imagine that the international lounge staff would encourage you to do that anyway.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by sfvoyage:
Also, CHC is supposed to have 'internet access'. I take that to mean PCs with internet acess, right?</font>
Just the one PC with internet access, in the international lounge anway. Not sure about the domestic - haven't been.
mad_atta is offline  
Old Jan 12, 04, 8:15 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,046
I'm surprised more people haven't said anything about the Honolulu lounge! The LAX lounge is like heaven in comparison, even if you have to stand!
kawoh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: