Saturday, August 7, 2010

Top marks for the Air New Zealand Lounge

It happens to me every time that I travel overseas. First, I encounter an international branch of a U.S.-based airline club, and I'm astonished at how much better the amenities are overseas. Then, I visit one of the clubs actually operated by a foreign carrier, and I'm left with disbelief.

At the Red carpet Club this morning in Melbourne, I had sausages, raisin toast, a ham croissant, and fresh fruit as well as a bowl of cereal. That was really something, because at home, a visit to United's club would have offered bagels and fruit but no hot foods.

Contrast that with the Air New Zealand lounge in Sydney, though -- which stands in for United passengers given its role as a Star Alliance affiliate -- and it's a whole new level.

As I write this, I'm having some delightfully spicy curried chicken over rice, having previously finished a hot dog with all of the fixings. My Bacardi and Diet Coke was not only free, which would have been true in my own Continental Presidents Club but not in a domestic Red Carpet Club, but was also self-poured. That's normal overseas; it's unheard of in the States.

Really, the clubs outside of America are so nice that it's almost a shame that the layovers tend to be as short as they are. It's like lingering at a buffet, or an all-inclusive resort.

Anyone reading this blog would be right to complain that I don't update it enough. The truth is, I haven't been traveling as much as I used to; I'm only up to about 60,000 miles this year so far, and it's August.

The good news? I've been in Australia all week. You're welcome to read about my personal adventures on LiveJournal (which for the moment I keep distinct from this blog; I may change that).

In the next few days, I'll also be posting profiles for Adelaide and Hobart, and discussing my experience on Great Southern Rail's Overland route.

It'll have to wait, though. My flight home boards in 20 minutes. Cheers!

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