Qantas have some stunning lounges around the world and it is a shame the one in Auckland is not one of them. This is an International Business Lounge which has all the amenities one would expect.
There is food, drink, wireless Internet and even showers so on the face of it, things should be good. Despite this, there are several factors which make this lounge one of the most disappointing I have ever visited.
Welcome and Shower
Arriving at 4:45am immediately after arriving from Doha, I was delighted to find the lounge open. The ladies on duty quizzically looked at my boarding pass for LATAM printed on Qatar Airways stock and let me in.
I asked for a shower and was advised there was a queue. The agent provided me with a towel pack but when I asked how I would know if a shower was free, it was indicated in a dismissive manner that I should keep an eye on that myself.
Someone else was running around with a towel pack too, so I could see at least one person in front of me. Eventually I just stood in the corridor and waited. Someone came out of a shower, the cleaner went in and a few minutes later it was my turn.
Ahh, the pleasure of seeing a sink full of long strands of black hair. The happiness of worn and outdated fittings with little rings of brown around them. The bin half open with plastic coming out the top. Needless to say it is the worst shower experience I have had in an airport lounge.
Auckland Lounge Decor
Qantas lounges have a common theme and this one is no exception. There are three or four distinct areas in one large space. Two large televisions and a cluster of seating greet you when you first enter. Immediately opposite is a wall where there are magazines.
Further into the lounge, there is the food and drink selection to your left with one long table of seating. Otherwise there are groups of tables and chairs to relax in.
Overhead lighting is unnecessarily harsh and this coupled with the open plan design made everyone seem to be on show. There is no chance of feeling private or relaxed here.
Hungry? Here’s Something To Eat
Breakfast hot options included sausages, bacon, scrambled egg and some kind of Frittata. It looked perfectly fine and people were enjoying the offering from what I could see.
Also available are cereals, yoghurt, fruit and all day items such as gourmet ice cream. This looked to be a local New Zealand brand which is good to see.
Water lovers are well catered for as you are supplied with both ambient water and filtered water. Tomato, orange and apple juice are provided as well as a coffee machine.
Alcoholic beverages are self service and you could choose from wine and beer. Spirits are not available until later in the day.
Pancakes And Havoc With A Label Maker
There is a machine which makes pancakes at the push of a button. You can choose to have three or three! I would have liked one, but of course I had three. It takes only a minute or two to get your pancakes.
Difficulty ensued with the maple syrup which has the smallest nozzle you ever saw. I spent more time trying to put syrup on the pancakes than it took to make them.
Meanwhile, someone has gone mad in the lounge with a label printer. It caused me much hilarity but it really is pretty poor. The toaster is festooned with them, with my favourite being the one about the pancakes catching on fire.
A stern missive on the bain-marie advises to keep the lid shut so everyone can have hot food. Another framed notice not only spells toaster incorrectly, but has spaces missing at various places too.
Really? This at a quality International lounge from one of the world’s top International airlines? Really?!
Missing Pieces In The Men’s Bathroom
Once I finished my breakfast pancakes and some apple juice, I decided it was time to visit the facilities. As soon as I walked in I noticed that an entire mirror is missing from the wall.
While I do understand that things do break from time to time it was just another black mark in a litany of silly irritations in this lounge.
The Qantas International Business lounge in Auckland is a bit of a disgrace. The disabled shower suite I used is in pretty bad condition and while the cleaning staff were being friendly by expediting my entry, the amount of hair in the sink was disgusting. Long black hair too, so it wasn’t like I had to search for it.
Some kind of system should be put in place for when there is a shower queue rather than the “we can’t leave the desk – fend for yourself” attitude that I experienced from the otherwise pleasant enough lounge dragons. The other guy carrying around his towel pack looked pretty irritated as well.
I understand the reason the labels are festooning everything but some nice printed and branded signage would be more effective. Spelling errors and bad punctuation is not really excusable. I have the dubious pleasure of using the Auckland lounge again in 10 days time so I will be interested to see if the broken mirror has been replaced.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Hong Kong shower image via One Mile at a Time