Air New Zealand lounge Sydney – a disgustingly gushing review

Air New Zealand lounge Sydney – a disgustingly gushing review

It’s been so long since I’ve flown a proper business class product that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to hang out in a really good lounge. Is that just nuts, or what? As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I was meandering around the Sydney airport killing time before my flight to Bangkok when it dawned on me that I had access to the air New Zealand lounge as part of my business class itinerary.

Picture a grown man running hurriedly through an airport with the excitement of a 10-year-old on Christmas morning in his eyes, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of what I looked like once I made that realization.

Air New Zealand lounge location and first impressions

The Air New Zealand lounge is located on the second level here in terminal 1, which conveniently also happened to be adjacent to the gate for my flight to Bangkok (Thai Airways 747-400 upper deck business class). The day hadn’t even started yet, and things were already looking up!

Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney review
The main entrance to the Air New Zealand Lounge here at SYD. Wind emojis and all.

If not realizing that I had access to this lounge was enough to make me feel ashamed, stepping inside and seeing the place in all its glory sure as heck did. No, I wasn’t feeling ashamed for the things I saw – it was the negative feelings that were the result of seeing what I would have missed if I skipped a visit to this place that did it.

I’m not always a fan of hanging out in airport lounges, but I will admit that the Air New Zealand lounge here in Sydney is flat out stunning – and totally worth the visit. Check it out:

Air New Zealand Lounge design
As long as you don’t trip and fall (and slice your face open) on the pointy edges of all the furniture, you’re likely to enjoy your visit to this lounge.
Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney Airport
Plane spotters will appreciate the large windows with excellent views of the action outside. Drunkards will appreciate the large bar (which is pretty much the first thing you see when you walk in).
Air New Zealand Lounge interior Sydney
More pointy stuff at eye level. This is a very dangerous lounge to be distracted in for sure, but the colors and textures are spot on.

It’s still weirds me out a bit that Air New Zealand and Qantas are part of the same airline alliance now. I’ve always imagined them to be direct competitors, so the fact that an Air New Zealand lounge this nice exists in the Sydney airport at all took a few minutes to fully digest. I know, it makes no sense, but this is what I was thinking as I was walking around getting a look at the place for the first time.

What’s the food like in the Air New Zealand lounge?

Given the fact that it was only 7:30 AM when I walked through the front doors, I was thrilled to death to see a full breakfast spread ready and waiting to be shoveled into my belly. Not only that, there were two eager looking chefs patiently waiting to whip up an omelette or some pancakes for me. As tempting as that may have seemed, I passed on the offer and went straight for the scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon that were sitting out in the open. My ferocious hunger wouldn’t have allowed me to stand and wait (not even 60 seconds) for a made to order omelette.

Air New Zealand Lounge food
Is there no better feeling in the world than lifting the lid of one of these pots and getting hit square in the face with steam so dense that’ll leave you smelling spicy for the rest of the day? Ahhh, lounge life…
Air New Zealand Lounge food review
There was also lots of fresh fruit and bread on hand. The only reason I walked past this section was to find a plate big enough to contain the pile of eggs and hash browns I was about to scoop…
Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney breakfast
I know. Piggy piggy! In my defense, I hadn’t had a proper meal since 4pm the afternoon before. There is no shame in my piggyness.
Air New Zealand Lounge SYD food
It’s so dang frustrating being a travel blogger sometimes, because it killed me to walk around my food taking pics of it (from multiple angles) before digging in. The struggle is hellishly real folks.
SANspotter selfie Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney
Finally! At least there was no one in the immediate vicinity to see me destroy that plate of food.
SANspotter selfie Air New Zealand Lounge Sydney Airport
Oh – and there’s also this large drink / snack section located in the center of the lounge. I feel like I’m risking losing my man card by not telling you what kind of beer was in stock, but…(just like coffee) I don’t drink the stuff.

I also feel it’s important to add that the food quality was really good. Normally airport lounge food is hit or miss in terms of overall taste and freshness, but everything I tried was just as good as I would’ve got if I paid $15 for it at a legitimate restaurant down in the main terminal.

And considering that airline lounges are legitimate restaurants when it comes right down to it, that’s the way it should be everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. The Asiana business class lounge at ICN is just one example of a premium lounge with a mediocre food spread.

Is this lounge a good place to sit and relax?

I was fairly lucky with the timing of my visit to the Air New Zealand lounge. I arrived at 7:30 AM, and the place was pretty much empty save for a few people sitting in the cafeteria area near the food. I had full reign of the place, and was free to sit wherever I wanted with nobody else in sight. Which is good I guess for obtaining the (usually embarrassing) selfies I needed for my trip report content.

There are also a wide variety of seating options which are sure to please just about everybody. From swanky 1960s style swivel chairs two huge block-like picnic tables, there’s something for everybody in here and it’s a fairly easy place to get comfortable.

Air New Zealand Lounge seating
30 bonus points for swanky swivel chairs arranged in a theater-like fashion towards the windows. I’m not keeping score or anything, but 30 points is 30 points.
Thai Airways 747-400 Sydney Airport
This Thai Airways 747-400 (my ride to Bangkok this morning) was the view from those white swivel chairs. See? Now you understand why this spot is worth 30!
Air New Zealand Lounge plane spotting
Those wishing to oogle over a Qatar 777 instead could do it from this spot. I’m giving this location only 20 points though (due to more sharp table corners that’ll poke your eyes out if you’re not careful).
Air New Zealand Lounge full review
Looking the other direction. The good news is that if your face bounces off that hard-edged table just right, there’s a chance it’ll be cushioned by one of those soft-looking lounge chairs before you fall unconscious to the floor. (Ok, yeah, it’s a good thing this trip report is just about over because even I admit this is getting stupid…)
Air New Zealand Lounge SYD furniture
A really nice place to crash if you end up drinking too much at the bar (or if you injested too many scrambled eggs – which is a very real possibility as I foolishly discovered).

By the time I left (9:30am) the place was getting full and a little bit noisy. It was so busy as a matter fact that I’m not sure that I would’ve said so many nice things in this review if my first impression of the place was having to fight for a seat (which placed me face to face with a creepy looking dude who wouldn’t stop looking at my scrambled eggs).

The final verdict

Because this air New Zealand lounge is easily one of the best airline lounges I’ve ever visited, I’m ashamed to admit that the final verdict comes down to this: SANspotter is a complete buffoon for almost missing it. If anything, it was all the proof I needed that flying business class is worth it – I never would’ve been able to enter this lounge otherwise.

Never mind the fact that the food was incredible and it was a really nice to hang out in peace and quiet for a couple hours (before the crowds arrived). I simply cannot believe that this was a complete afterthought in my itinerary and it never occurred to me to seek it out when checking in for the flight to Bangkok. I’ve been away from business class for far too long!

I guess the only solution for making sure that this never happens again just to fly business class on a more frequent basis. Easy, right? Ha! The good news is that I do have a handful of some really fun premium flight experiences coming up, and I can’t wait to share them with you…

Comments (5)

  1. James B.

    February 24, 2019
    • SANspotter

      February 25, 2019
  2. John B

    September 6, 2019
    • SANspotter

      September 6, 2019
  3. Nathan W

    September 22, 2019

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