Review: Manaia (Priority Pass) Lounge Christchurch NZ

Christchurch airport is only 10 km (~15 minutes) from the city centre and we headed over to the airport about two hours before our departure to Melbourne on Qantas. Returning the rental car and checking in at the airport were an absolute cinch taking a matter of 10 minutes. And while Queenstown Airport is small and doesn’t have much to offer in terms of airport shopping and amenities, Christchurch happens to be the second largest airport in New Zealand (and the oldest international airport in New Zealand). So the airport does feature a few lounges, including a priority pass lounge.

 

To be honest, I showed up at the airport a little earlier so that I could check out this lounge and report back on it. Christchurch airport is certainly nicer than your average airport, but it’s still not exactly the place you want to while away time. The lounge is located right after security in the Christchurch international terminal, right across from Gate 29.

ACCESS POLICY:

A boarding pass for an international flight is required for entry into this lounge. I don’t know exactly how you can get through to this area of the terminal anyway without having passed passport control (which is now an eGate in New Zealand). We had Priority Pass owing to our AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Citi Prestige Cards. Do remember that guests are not allowed without a fee using the membership provided with your AMEX Platinum card, so make sure you know which one is if you have multiple cards.

Do note that the lounge may be closed to Priority Pass holders due to capacity constraints. I was there during pretty much the peak international departures time frame and experienced no such issues. In fact the lounge was quite empty throughout our stay.

We were admitted as soon as we presented our priority pass cards and were handed a slip of paper with the day’s Wi-Fi password. If you need to use one of the showers, this is where you would ask to do so. We were also informed that there would be no announcements of departures within the lounge (which is pretty standard at most Priority Pass lounges).

Seating

As soon as you step into the lounge, you will notice the spacious and modern look of the lounge with great decor and new furniture. Design wise it is among the best Priority Pass lounges I’ve seen. And it certainly looked like it had enough space for a large number of international premium passengers (more than what Christchurch sees at a given time).

Food & Drinks

The lounge features a fairly decent food spread on one end with plenty of tables to sit down and eat or drink. There were quite a few desserts, baked goods along with some soup, bread rolls, and a fairly large salad station. And of course there were also your usual snacks like chips, cookies, and pretzels.

There were also a few hot snacks available in the lounge, of which none were vegetarian, but here is a picture of that anyway:

I’m terrible at discerning the drinks selection in any lounge, but there were quite a few alcoholic beverages on offer alongside the usual juice and soda. The highlight from what I could tell were some New Zealand wines, which have been gaining popularity recently.

As for coffee, there is a lone machine sitting in the middle of the buffet. It’s pretty much standard issue in terms of contract lounges and is certainly nothing extraordinary.

I spent most of the time while in the lounge catching up on news and work. Our flight ended up being delayed by around 30 minutes so it was nice to have a quiet place to sit and relax. Wi-Fi was fairly fast throughout my stay, but then again the lounge is no way crowded during my stay.


Bottom Line:

The Manaia lounge is a fairly impressive lounge for an airport the size of Christchurch and certainly checks off all the boxes required of a lounge: Wi-Fi, showers, drinks, snacks, and a large amount of seating. The lounge is definitely a step above as far design goes and certainly worth a visit while waiting for your flight at Christchurch airport. The key for me is the fact that it was never crowded during the 2 hours I was there.


That’s pretty much a wrap on New Zealand. We were now off to the land of Kangaroos!

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