How Virgin plans to upgrade its Sydney, Brisbane, Perth lounges

Small touches can make a big difference to the lounge experience, says Virgin Australia.

By David Flynn, November 11 2021
How Virgin plans to upgrade its Sydney, Brisbane, Perth lounges

Virgin Australia’s reopened Melbourne lounge marks the first time the airline’s ‘new lounge look’ introduced at Adelaide has been extended to its existing lounges, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Other Virgin lounges – including Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra – are also in line for a ‘less corporate, more casual’ refresh adding key aspects of the Adelaide design.

Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.
Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.

This could even be subtly rolled out in several stages rather than closing any lounge for an extensive overhaul.

Although the next round of make-overs will be incorporated into Virgin’s lounge refurbishment schedule, the airline also sees ways to make smaller changes along the way.

“We’ll continue to work through our maintenance and refurbishment schedule (but also) do updates where where we think appropriate,” explains Sarah Adam, Virgin Australia's General Manager for Product & Customer Experience.

“That might be elements such as taking things like the greenery in sooner than then a full refurbishment,” Adam tells Executive Traveller

“There are elements we could bring in now that don't need to wait for a full refurbishment.”

Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.
Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.

Adam said this could include some of the playful signage of the Adelaide and Melbourne lounges, “although obviously that comes with a level of disruption” for passengers and the lounge’s usual operations.

For its part, Melbourne serves as the poster child for how each lounge can be made more functional yet at the same time softer and more welcoming, evolving them into something that’s more ‘on brand’ for Virgin Australia 2.0.

New furniture and fittings evoke “a really relaxed vibe,” Adam says, while there’s a clear preference among travellers for the lounges to have defined spaces or zones for different needs, as is the case in the Adelaide and now Melbourne lounges.

Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.
Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.

In Melbourne those spaces include

  • The Gallery Lounge, described as "the perfect place to take in the stunning views of the tarmac” and featuring comfy chairs and ottomans
  • The Sunroom, which affords "a mixture of cosy seating arrangements" leaning towards couples, colleagues and family members
  • The Long Stay, tagged as "a chill-out zone adjacent to the Wine Down Bar with a focus on single seating for the solo traveller to catch up or unwind prior to their flight."

Those three areas were created within the lounge’s existing footprint and without removing or adding walls, Adam says.

“The structure stayed the same, we were able to create zones through furnishings” and by realigning some spaces to embrace existing features such as the barista station and wine bar.

Also read: Virgin Australia trials toasted sandwiches for economy meals

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

What VA has done at MEL has shown that a very satisfactory revamp is possible without ripping everything out and starting from scratch.  In fact, the new Lounge has built on the already very good bones of its predecessor and increased its desirability.  QF did a complete rebuild of its MEL Qantas Club and it went backwards.

For SYD, PER and BNE, you'd imagine something like carpet, new chairs and swapping out the purple tinted lighting for cool white could be achieved over a weekend.  Obviously painting etc would take longer and require a sectioning off of areas of the lounge.  The most time consuming works would be new bathrooms which would take several weeks at least.  Obviously, SYD is the current oldest fitout of the 3, so will probably be addressed next.

 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 251

MEL  looks good   like ADL  - ADL is now a little sterile  but will be better when travel picks up - I like the old QF C  lounge at MEL  -the lounge within a lounge and tarmac views  -the new QF C  lounge  is dark, and doesn't have a good flow    (whereas PER and BNE C lounges are pretty much the same except for position of bar)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Feb 2017

Total posts 39

I wonder what becomes of the already seldom used meeting room spaces if they're going for the less corporate vibe?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

I wonder if they will end up creating a secondary entry point into The Lounge in MEL once the security checkpoint moves to the top of Concourse F near what is currently the T4 Foodcourt.  This will make it easier to access The Lounge rather than walking all the way to the current main entry near Concourse E.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

"Adam said this could include some of the playful signage" 

Playful signage?  Playful signage ??  If this is the best that a "General Manager of Product and Customer Experience" can bring to the table, VA2 can cut costs and do without this role.  'Playful Signage', bah humbug !!!


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