A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Gisborne, on the East Coast of the North Island in New Zealand for a work trip.
I have never actually been to this area of the country before, so was actually a little excited – Gisborne is one of the cities that sees the light of the new day in the World (it used to be the first city but Samoa moved across the International Dateline in 2011).
To get to Gisborne, I had a direct flight at 8:25am in the morning on NZ 2232. I figured leaving home at about 7am would give me a good hour or so in the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge for breakfast – After all, best to start the day off well 🙂
Wellington probably is my favourite Koru lounge on the Air NZ domestic network – It is reasonably sized, has plenty of seating, tables and areas for travellers to relax and work, an ample food selection, including hot/cold foods and fresh fruit, plenty of New Zealand wine and beer to drink, along with various spirits and mixers.
There is also a business centre, with desktops and printers available for use, a mobile phone charging station, bookable meeting room/quiet rooms, newspapers and magazines, and showers for you to freshen up before your flight.
I had some difficulty checking in at the ‘self check-in’ kiosks in the departure terminal, so proceeded to the Koru Lounge to check in there with my E-Pass. Upon entering the lounge, I scanned my ePass on the entry kiosks and was welcomed in my the concierge.
As I was travelling on a turboprop (propeller) aircraft to Gisborne, I was entitled to use the ‘Fast Bag‘ service, which allows frequent travellers (Gold Elite, Gold and Koru members) to drop off their bags at the aircraft just before boarding and pick them up right after landing, rather than having to wait for the bags to be unloaded and carted to the ‘baggage pickup area’ at the destination airport. In order to use the service each bag must weigh less than 15kg, and there is a maximum of 2 bags per passenger. As AirNZ has been quite strict with baggage limits (7kg) lately, particularly on their jet aircraft, I do find the fast bag service quite useful when available.
Air New Zealand has just changed the identification tags for fast bag, as previously there used to be a special blue tag obtainable from the lounge. However they have now recently changed this for a blue luggage ‘loop’ used with the provided luggage tags. I am not quite sure what inspired this change, but when I entered the lounge the concierge removed my old style tag and replaced it with the new one, which was nice.
At 7:30am in the morning, the lounge was quite quiet, with only a handful of passengers scattered throughout.
There was a self-serve ‘buffet’ with limited food options. They were serving scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes, along with a selection of toast and various cereals, yoghurt and canned/fresh fruits. I am particularly fond of and hope for the scrambled eggs whenever I visit the lounge on early morning flights – I’m not exactly sure what they put in them, but it can’t be that good for you if they taste that good!
If you visit the lounge between the hours of 5:30am and 3pm (Monday to Friday) there is also an barista onsite to make you a cafe-quality coffee (and they even do takeaway cups too).
Air New Zealand Koru Lounges seem to be full of various types of seating throughout the lounge, which does add a bit of variety but is beneficial for those that may need tables, etc to work.
A few minutes before my flight, a boarding call was made over the intercom, and so I proceeded to exit through the rear exit of the lounge and made my way to the gate where my small and ‘cosy’ plane was waiting to take me to sunny Gisborne.