Having been to the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge (which is probably my favourite lounge in AKL) and the Strata Lounge (a Priority Pass lounge), I was curious to check out the Qantas International Business Lounge when I was traveling from Auckland to Melbourne last month. The Qantas Lounge here in Auckland Airport is located airside on level 2 and it opens from 4:00AM until the departure of the last Qantas or Emirates Service so you do not have to worry about accessing it if you are traveling on QF/EK First and Business Class.
If you know where the Strata Lounge is, the Qantas International Business Lounge is located directly across from it. While the lounge in Melbourne got pretty busy in the morning, the lounge here in Auckland was extremely quiet (which is great if you wish to get some work done). Since I actually took an Uber from the hotel to the airport to catch my flight, I was not in need of a shower but for those of you who are interested, shower facilities are available here.
The Qantas International Business Lounge here in Auckland Airport features plenty of seating space that mainly caters to passengers traveling in groups of twos or fours. Similar to the Qantas Lounge over in Melbourne, the interiors are definitely in need of a refresh since it looks extremely dated. With that being said, it is highly functional and the WiFi works without a hitch. The plus point is that the lounge actually remains pretty quiet throughout the day apparently so that’s always a good thing as far as airport lounges are concerned.
In fact, in the rare event that it gets crowded, there is even a quiet zone located towards the back of the lounge where you can not only enjoy some peacefulness but also a view of the runway (perfect for aviation geeks!). Honestly, I would love to see some semi-private seats (like those found in Plaza Premium Lounges) being installed at some point since some of the work we do can be high confidential.
I think it is generally safe to say that breakfast is typically the most unimpressive meal period in an airport lounge - even in The Private Room, breakfast pales in comparison to what is on offer during lunch and dinner. The Qantas International Business Lounge here in AKL offers a selection of seemingly healthy food - they have wraps, salads, cold cuts and a couple of dips. If you are up for some indulgence, cake slices are also available but I do not remember anyone going for these. To the side of the pantry is where you will find coffee (unfortunately not made by a barista) and alcohol - spirits are only brought out later in the morning so if you are visiting around 8:00AM to 9:00AM like I did, you are out of luck (even though Strata Lounge opposite offers it).
I settled for the least healthy item there (that is not a slice of cake) and they were alright. I do miss the barista coffee over at the Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge but that is not a good enough reason to justify spending an additional S$2,000 on a Singapore Airlines or Air New Zealand Business Class ticket. There is a fairly wide selection of newspapers and magazines that are on offer here at the lounge though so killing time would probably not be a major problem here.
Honestly, apart from the peace and quiet that you get to enjoy here in the Qantas International Business Lounge, I can’t say that I actually like it much. Like I have mentioned previously, the decor is in dire need of a refresh, the food is fairly uninspiring and most importantly, it just did not make me stay for too long.
The lounge is practical and functional but with so many beautiful airport lounges around, it definitely needs more to stay current. If you are not flying Business or First Class with a Star Alliance partner carrier, the Strata Lounge is actually not a bad contender - you can gain access with a Priority Pass membership or your American Express Platinum Card (unlimited!).