Our Virgin Australia flight from Auckland to Sydney left at 8 am in the morning on January 2. Auckland airport was a 25 min drive (20.6 km) from the Hilton Auckland at 5 am in the morning. We had very little trouble finding the place to return our rental car and deposit the keys in the drop box (it was too early for anyone to be at the desk). Virgin Australia’s check in counters were located just across the main hall from the rental car desks. There was almost no line at the counters and we were quickly checked in by a polite and enthusiastic VA agent. As a note, I found all of their agents to be extremely enthusiastic and helpful, which is a nice change from the rather drab attitudes of employees of other airlines.
Introduction: Christmas in Hong Kong, and New Year in New Zealand
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific Business Class (Reverse Herringbone) SFO-HKG
The Conrad Hong Kong – Harbor View Twin Room
The Intercontinental Hong Kong – Harbor View Room
The Sights and Sounds of Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge HKG Airport
Singapore Airlines Business Class HKG-SIN-AKL
Arrival in Queenstown & The Rees Queenstown Luxury Hotel Apartments
Queenstown Day 1: Milford Sound
Queenstown Day 2: Glenorchy
Queenstown Day 3: Crown Range Road & Wanaka
The Hilton Auckland & New Year’s Eve
Hobbiton, New Zealand
Emperor Lounge @ Auckland Airport (via Priority Pass)
The Park Hyatt Sydney – Opera View Deluxe King Room
Virgin Australia Business Class SYD-LAX
Virgin America Lounge – The Loft at LAX
Emperor Lounge (Auckland – International Terminal)
06:00 – 23:00 Monday, Wednesday, Saturday – Sunday
06:00 – 00:00 Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
Airside – Level 1.
After Security Checks, proceed past Duty Free Shops and turn right. Follow signs to Airline Lounges. The lounge is located on the left hand side opposite the escalator.
After check in, we proceeded through security in under 10 minutes and realized that we had over an hour of time to spare before boarding. I quickly looked up lounges available to us on the Priority Pass lounge app, and saw the Emperor Lounge listed. Just as a note: Priority Pass membership can be obtained through holding any of these credit cards: Citi Prestige, AMEX Platinum, and the Chase Ritz Carlton Card.
The lounge was located right after security, and had just opened, hence the empty nature of the place. Upon presenting our priority pass cards and boarding passes, we were promptly admitted.
The lounge was fairly big and offered plenty of comfortable seating. And at this hour it was completely empty.
There were a few couch like chairs strung together with some blankets on them, perfect for napping.
Though we had the entire lounge to choose from in terms of seats, we decided to setup next to the TV in the back playing an interview by Adele. My sister of course had to watch it 🙂
There are two drink stations in the lounge lined up along the wall of each of the two main seating areas. One of them just offers tea, coffee, wines, beers, and soft drinks.
There were also some salty snacks and hard candy available in jars.
At the other drinks station was fairly decent breakfast spread which included: pastries, yogurt parfaits, fruits, cheeses, croissants, toast, and cereals.
There were also jars with some shortbread cookies, crackers, and sunflower seeds.
There were also some hot items available in the lounge which included: hash browns, breakfast potatoes, egg white omelettes, and some English breakfast items (sausages etc.).
There were more alcoholic drinks setup along this station, which included wine and some other spirits.
There were three juices on offer: apple, watermelon, and orange, which were stored in dispensers. As a note: the juices weren’t freshly squeezed.
There were some more drinks in the refrigerators below the counter.
Along the end of the lounge were a couple of computers and a printer. Right next to them was a stand with a variety of local newspapers and magazines on offer.
I had some cereal for breakfast and then took some more pictures of the lounge. As you can see below, the lounge is fairly large for a contract lounge.
The lounge also offered shower rooms and restrooms inside the lounge, which is always nice because foot traffic through them is always lower than the public ones.
One thing to note is that some of the gates at Auckland International Airport (including the Virgin Australia departure gates) are located a good 15 minute walk away. So you want to plan accordingly if you don’t have too much time. The lounge does indeed have flight information displays positioned at two places (one on each side of the food/beverage stations), so it should be easy to tell when your flight is boarding.
Lucky for us we made an early start toward the gate because it was quite a walk if I recollect correctly. And that was pretty much the last bit of New Zealand we saw. Sadly, that brought our time in Middle Earth to a close.
Bottom Line: The Emperor Lounge is a nice lounge to grab a quick snack or breakfast before your flight. Access to the lounge is provided by Priority Pass (from AMEX Platinum, Citi Prestige) for most of us not flying the list of airlines using the lounge. The breakfast spread was fairly impressive for a contract lounge, and the lounge offered plenty of seating options. Service was friendly as far as I could tell, though it was mostly self-serve. It is definitely a step up from the usual airline lounges we find in the U.S, though there are no real airline agents to help with reservations. It never really seemed to get crowded in there while I was there, but then again most flights might leave during later parts of the day.
Next up: Australia……