Auckland Airport regularly makes the list of top airports in the world and it was easy to see why when we flew Malaysian Airlines to Dubai via KL in January.
We were travelling with 2 children and were there 3 hours early as recommended for international flights. Check in was quick and though there were long lines at the immigration counters these were cleared quickly. We were given customs forms to fill out at the check-in desk and assumed these were handed over in the plane, however we were asked to fill these out at the Immigration desk and come back in line which made this process longer than necessary for us.
There are many food options once inside and all were open for service despite the relative late hour of 11pm. I was a little surprised at the selection of different things and the prices at the duty free shops – they were quite cheap compared to prices outside for the same.
I was also impressed by the very modern yet comfortable public seating provided at regular intervals in the departure hall around the big modern sculpture in the center. The girls quickly found their sofas of choice and snuggled up with their throws and a device each. The free wifi was easy to register for and fast to use.
While the public restrooms were clean, they are widely spaced out.
Overall, airport staff were all friendly and efficient and all facilities were clearly marked – our time in the airport almost flew by.
On our return there were longer lines at the immigration counters as 2 or more flights seem to have landed together and after a 36 hour journey the wait seemed longer than it was. Customs clearance was fast and organized as we had food to declare (including Yemeni honey that was binned much to the disappointment of Miss 8 who had bought it). Remember to declare any food, plant or animal based products as the rules are NZ are strictly enforced to protect our natural biology & ecology – if you declare it most likely you will be able to keep it, however if you are found out not declaring there will be a hefty fine. Beware – many passengers get needlessly bitten by this rule if they have any forgotten fruit from their aircraft dinners in their handbags or purses.
The arrivals gate was built like the entrance to a maori marae and there was a troupe of performers enacting the haka for the arriving passengers which was a lovely way to welcome people to NZ.
My only gripe is that from the time you land to the arrivals hall there was just 1 restroom which was out of service at the time so with only the handicapped toilet being in use there was a very long line outside it.
Auckland Airport is clean, comfortable, and well equipped with facilities for travelers. Thoughts on improving the airport would be (in no particular order): longer free wifi, especially if you find yourself waiting long for a connecting flight; more signs before the immigration checks to ensure that all customs forms are pre-filled and no lines are held up due to this being overlooked; and more restrooms are provided.