Review: Air New Zealand temporary lounge Sydney International (SYD)

Air New Zealand’s Sydney lounge had a terrible reputation for many years. Finally, Air New Zealand has decided to do something about it. The lounge was closed for a complete renovation on 1 November 2014. In the interim, Air New Zealand have opened a temporary lounge that we expect could easily take the title of most crowded airline lounge in the world.

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UPDATE: Air New Zealand have now opened their new Sydney lounge.

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Former temporary lounge entrance with remnants of Air New Zealand logo still visible

Located down a level from the main concourse in the C pier (used by most Star Alliance carriers), across from the Emirates lounge, this lounge is simply too small.

It is too small for all of Air New Zealand’s business class passengers and members of its Airpoints frequent flyer programme at the Gold tier and pretentiously named ‘Elite’ tier.

Yet it caters for all of those passengers, plus passengers on Works Deluxe economy tickets, Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum members, Star Alliance Gold members, those who have paid to join its Koru Club lounge programme and their guests.

Air New Zealand should immediately apply stricter access restrictions and compensate those passengers that cannot be comfortably fit in this lounge (which is the old Malaysia Airlines lounge, although decked out with a few Air New Zealand touches, which could safely be described as ‘kitsch in the extreme’).

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The section on the left of the reception desk contains a self service bar and some seating, although this fills very quickly.

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Behind the reception desk is an area with tables for dining…

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… and a buffet.

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On the right of the reception desk is more seating…

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The infamous hot dog cart from the old lounge…

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… another self-service bar area (although that perhaps overstates it)…

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… a children’s play room…

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Bathrooms (with a shower for each gender). And more seating…

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Air New Zealand state on their website that: “The completely refurbished Air New Zealand Lounge will open in the second quarter of 2015, and will offer our customers a premium experience with great food and beverage options and increased seating.”

It is unclear what Air New Zealand mean by that as to timing (April, May or June?) or lounge features. The new lounge is rumoured to be decked out in a similar fashion to the Star Alliance lounge at Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Tom Bradley Terminal, which Air New Zealand operate.

It also remains unclear whether Air New Zealand will loosen the purse strings to improve the quality of the food and beverage offering in its new Sydney lounge. The use of the word ‘great’ to describe food and beverage doesn’t bode well.

This temporary lounge is overcrowded and travellers would be wise to rearrange their schedules to minimise time in it.

2 Comments on "Review: Air New Zealand temporary lounge Sydney International (SYD)"

  1. Wow, those are some ordinary spirits right there. My local, cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant probably has a better collection on offer!

  2. That lounge sounds ghastly.

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