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Trip to Melbourne & NZ: Airport Lounges & Flights

Our 16-day trip of Melbourne and NZ broke a few of our personal records - most number of airport lounges visited in one trip (4), most number of flights taken in one trip (6), and longest distance driven in one day (520 km).

Here's a list of the airport lounges we visited and the flights we took:-

SATS Premier Lounge, Terminal 2 Changi Airport, Singapore

We had not planned to visit this lounge, but were ushered there by staff of DBS Asia Treasures Lounge at Terminal 2 because their lounge was under maintenance. We left after a glass of white wine and a bowl of self-served laksa because the selection was limited.

DBS Asia Treasures Lounge, Terminal 3 Changi Airport, Singapore

Between the 2 DBS Asia Treasures Lounges at Changi Airport, I prefer the one at Terminal 2. It has the same menu as the one at Terminal 3, with the addition of ice-cream in 3 flavours. Service at both DBS Asia Treasures Lounges is always top-notched and the menu changes regularly. Sample dishes are on display, the service staff take your order and serve everything to you. We didn't manage to try everything. As for drinks, order anything you fancy like a Milo Dinosaur or a shot of liqueur, and it'll be brought to you. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff.

Lotus Root & Red Date Soup
Our Perennial Favourite: Red Snapper Congee
Ham & Gruyere Cheese Toasties
Curry Fish on Rice
Wild Mushroom Penne

Plaza Premium Lounge, Terminal 2 Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne

We used a combination of Diners Club cards, Priority Pass and Dragon Pass (Airport Companion App) to sign all 8 of us in for free. Slips of paper were issued to us for us to order food from the Live Station. We could help ourselves to the buffet spread and order gourmet coffee, alcoholic drinks, milkshake, etc. from the bar.

Wanton Mee which looked and tasted anything like wanton mee. Stick to the pastas.

Air New Zealand International Lounge, Auckland Airport, Auckland

The lounge is open to all Star Alliance Business Class passengers, so it was very busy. Nevertheless, there were sufficient seats for everyone. The food was so-so, they served sparkling wine not champagne, but they had my current favourite soft drink (L&P) at their fountain drink dispenser. I was glad we had access to the lounge to relax before our flight, and to simmer down from the unpleasant episode we had with the 2 dishonest cab drivers who dropped us off at the airport.

Live Station serving Pulled Beef in Steamed Bun

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ237: Singapore to Melbourne

Supper and continental breakfast were served on this flight. Neither the supper nor continental breakfast were any good. In fact, the breakfast was so sad that I didn't even bother with taking a picture of it.

The Fish
The Beef

Virgin Australia Flight VA99: Melbourne to Christchurch

Didn't quite know if Virgin Australia is considered a full-service airline or a no-frills budget one. Online check-in didn't work for foreign passport holders, so we had to go to the airport early to find the service staff to help us. The fare included 23 kg of check-in bag, and an inflight meal with one drink (choice of wine, beer, soft drinks, juice, etc.). No inflight entertainment was available, save for a shared screen flashing some trivia.

There were 3 choices for the inflight meal - beef with mashed potatoes, smoked salmon on salad or vegetarian gnocchi. The beef was alright, but the salmon dish was very bad. The smoked salmon was in flakes (not the usual thin slices) and the flakes were extremely salty.

The Beef

Jetstar Flight JQ290: Christchurch to Wellington

We had booked this flight at the last minute and were assigned seats right at the back of the aircraft. Boarding was by external stairs to the aircraft. It was freezing on the plane, but the ac vents were non-adjustable. Take your jacket with you if you're flying Jetstar.

Jetstar Flight JQ279: Wellington to Queenstown

Wellington Airport allowed us to bring our takeaway food and drinks from Subway on board. Jetstar did not stop us from consuming them on board either. It is important to note that, at Wellington Airport, Jetstar randomly pulls passengers aside to check the weight of their cabin bags at the gate.

Air New Zealand Flight NZ676: Dunedin to Auckland

Dunedin Airport allowed sealed drinks to be brought on board. The officer clarified that it was not necessary for sealed drinks to be brand new, unopened bottles of beverage; liquids kept in a water bottle are considered sealed drinks too. No inflight meal was served, but a cup of hot tea was offered along with a choice of either a cookie or a small pack of corn chips. No inflight entertainment was available.

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ286: Auckland to Singapore

The aircraft had the 2006 version Business Class seats. Dated, but I prefer them to the newer versions because they are wider.

Book the Cook selections from Auckland were quite limited. I opted for the Grilled NZ Wakanui Beef Fillet for dinner and the Seared Salmon for supper. Regretfully, both were disappointing. The beef was too well done and tough, whilst the salmon was too dry. On both our SQ flights for this trip, the food seemed to have been heated to a point where they became hard and dry, and barely edible. The worst dish which was served on this flight was actually the crab salad. It was very fishy and smelly, like it was unfresh or something. All of us returned it untouched.

Notwithstanding that, the flight was still enjoyable because the service was impeccable, the desserts were delectable, and I was able to catch a few winks on the full-flat bed.


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