First look: Virgin Australia opens new Adelaide lounge

The airline's much-anticipated Adelaide lounge is a departure from what travellers currently expect at Virgin Australia.

By Chris Chamberlin, February 23 2021
First look: Virgin Australia opens new Adelaide lounge

Virgin Australia’s fresh Adelaide Airport lounge is finally ready to welcome travellers, unlocking its doors this week: 10 months later than planned.

The delays – that follow a change in locations, COVID shutdowns, Virgin Australia’s entry into administration and then exit under a new owner – are proving to be worth the wait, with the 283-seat facility sure to ease the squeeze when travel volumes soar once more.

Located on the left-hand side after security and designed by Brisbane’s WMK Architecture, Adelaide will serve as a blueprint for the airline’s other domestic lounges, when it’s their turn for a revamp.

Step inside and you’ll be guided past reception into a well-lit space, that better-reflects the ‘new’ Virgin Australia.

Follow that path and you’ll discover the lounge’s dining areas, mixing large social benches with smaller tables for solo or duo dining.

With the opening of the Adelaide lounge, Virgin Australia is taking the opportunity to expand its in-lounge food options, which had been restricted to sandwiches, fruits and other light bites in recent months, as the airline’s lounge network began to reopen.

Joining that menu are freshly made wraps, salad bowls – including a Thai beef salad and a vegetarian falafel option – as well as protein bowls, crudité plates, plated cheese and crackers, and Greek-style yoghurt with toasted muesli.

For the first week only, options from Betty's Burgers join the list too. Like Virgin Australia, Betty's Burgers is also owned by Bain Capital.

These options, and beverages too, can be ordered by scanning the QR code nearest to your seat, with staff bringing your choices to you. This expanded menu will also become available in Virgin Australia’s other lounges “in the coming weeks”.

On the beverage front, Virgin Australia’s signature coffee bar remains, becoming a ‘wine bar’ at night. Alcohol is served from 12pm daily.

But here’s where Virgin Australia breaks away from the predictable: recognising that the lounge sits close to many internationally renowned wineries, the new Cellar Door Hub (doubling as the bar) provides an opportunity for travellers to enjoy seasonal wine tastings from local SA producers.

Those travelling on work time might instead gravitate towards The Library, a dedicated productivity area with desk lamps and power outlets. Once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, PCs and printing facilities will also be provided here.

Adjacent to The Library sits The Gallery Lounge, a “chill-out zone” with lounge chairs and a flatscreen TV, with access to free-to-air channels (but not Foxtel).

“We are continuing to write a new chapter at Virgin Australia and we’re incredibly focussed on creating great experiences for our guests,” said Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

“We plan to make significant investment in our lounges over the next few years. The new lounge we’ve unveiled today will be the foundation for the Virgin aesthetic and experience we will roll out across the network.”

Continue exploring the lounge and you’ll next encounter The Sunroom. Although you won’t enjoy any tarmac views here – the lounge facing towards the public drop-off and pick-up areas, rather than the airfield – The Sunroom offers a variety of relaxed seating.

Travellers settling in for a longer stay may instead appreciate a new zone named exactly that: The Long Stay.

Bathroom and shower facilities are available too, although the latter remain "closed due to COVID-19".

Virgin Australia’s Adelaide lounge adopts the same entry requirements as the airline’s other domestic locations.

This sees complimentary access provided to business class guests, Velocity Gold, Platinum and VIP (The Club) members, lounge pass holders, AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Centurion cardholders, and Gold- and Platinum- tier members of eligible partner airline frequent flyer programs.

Executive Traveller's David Flynn is visiting Adelaide as a guest of Virgin Australia.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 200

Looks good! A lot better than the garish white scheme of the older design

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 374

That "At your SERVICE" sign feels over the top and tacky to me

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 467

Might be left over from one of those Betty Burgers joint

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Apr 2018

Total posts 6

Bit of a Virgin Atlantic vibe tbh

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

10 Nov 2015

Total posts 7

How very IKEA

QFF

17 May 2017

Total posts 7

Well, IKEA's nice and close - viewed from the Sunroom (?), other side of the carpark.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 353

Looks bland and vanilla. Reminds me of a solicitor's waiting room.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Apr 2016

Total posts 5

What were you expecting Ryan, a disco ball and laser lights?

Its' somewhere to kill time before you fly, not meant to be an entertainment venue

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 642

looks like the foyer of a 2 star Ibis hotel.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 332

A great step in the right direction for VA. Let's hope QF upgrade their Adelaide lounge too now.

TMP
TMP

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 May 2018

Total posts 5

Looks fresh, and good to hear more about the plans for the other lounges, including to get service levels back up in the next few weeks

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Feb 2017

Total posts 38

The Betty's burgers idea should stay! Now we just need Bain to buy out Johnnie Walker :) 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 227

Looks quite good - a reason now to avoid the tired tired old QF lounge at ADL, avoid flying QF  and fly Virgin,  free access with Amex Plat Charge if flying VA!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 238

Could the At Your Service in big fluro signage be a dig that Qantas lounges and service desks won't be in existence for their customers going forward?

Looks good IMO - people whine about everything these days though as can see above. To me there's a similarity to Virgin Atlantics Club House...or just a mere coincidence.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 96

Dan my man, you hit the nail on the head! Yes it does look great; a bit more personality and 'fun' looking dare I say. The current lounges serve their purpose, but gosh, the vast expanse of white ceilings mirrored by white floors can be quite stark on the eyes.

And as for that 'at your service' sign (which is a nice touch compared to the bland and ubiquitous 'customer service') - all I can say is if some people have been reduced to complaining about a mere sign(!) then clearly they have too much time on their hands....This will sound crazy, but I'm gonna just put it out there: wouldn't it be better to critique the service offered by the personnel seated beneath the sign, rather than the actual sign itself?!

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 374

If someone complaining about a sign has too much time on their hands, what does that mean for someone complaining about people complaining about a sign? Does that mean you have way too much time on your hands? :)

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 694

I feel like flying Adelaide just to check it out, I actually just got off the phone with someone who said they are flying Qantas Adelaide to Sydney tonight because VA didn't have a lounge, and... they then open the lounge today lol. I'll get some txted photos shortly I'm sure they won't knock him back from checking it out. 

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 363

This looks great, honestly you can’t fault it. Good on them for actually opening the lounge!

When are they gonna figure it out???    I am waiting until I see what INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS they have before I start accumulating too many points and status Credits. I have friends doing the same ..... (PLATINUM MEMBER for about 7 years)

Well, I think we've found VA's new slogan: Almost... They've created a lounge that's almost refined, almost functional, almost well-provisioned, and almost contemporary. They put almost enough money into a lounge that almost meets expectations. Don't get me wrong, a bit more investment could turn this into something truly special. But in the mean time, management should live in the real world, not marketing fantasyland.

And for heaven's sake, sack the person responsible for that signage design; Adelaide is not Las Vegas.

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 12

There isn't much exciting about the worn grey and purple tub chairs, but at least they're comfortable (when you can get one). This all looks very nice for PR pictures but perhaps not super practical at the end of a long day when your flight is delayed.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 82

Good on Virgin, looks good. Great to see food and wine offering improving.  

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

Yeah, look it’s not bad but I just feel like there’s a lot more they could have done to give it a fresher, more distinctive look and feel. It looks like a perfectly adequate lounge but other than the (I agree, somewhat tacky) signage, let’s face it, it’s pretty grey-heavy, seating is mostly loose with no real built-in furniture, other than a plant-covered curved rectangular island, and some shelving (which to me look very Qantas), nothing about it seems to convey whatever this ‘new Virgin’ is supposed to be...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 238

Can ET do a comparison against the QF lounge? I get people are going to be critical - from signage to colours and choice of furniture, but compared this to Qantas Clubs and lounges, this new VA lounge represents their brand and character well - yes even the at your service sign.

I don't believe there's anything special about QF clubs and lounges that make their brand stand out or memorable - they are pretty vanilla and play it safe, yet Virgin get mocked for adding their flavour. 

The only thing I can see that Qantas to better however is their distinct food offering in select business lounges only - i.e. Perth with with Pizza, Melbourne with the noodle Bar (I think that's what it was, been a while now).

Also it tdoesn't suprise me people will rip on everything and anything - To add some context company I work for spent many millions on fitting out their office tower, it even made the news. And I remember a comment that stuck with me saying it looks like IKEA. This person was plain Jane but just wanted to critique everything and be miserable..personally I make an effort to avoid these people however can't avoid reading their comments on here :)

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 996

Like many other people on this site, I have been fortunate to visit a number of lounges from lots of different airlines and hotel groups all around the world.  Fundamentally, you want a space where you can chill out between/before flights.  The frippery of style is important and no one wants to go into a terrible tired space (US domestic airline lounges tend towards this end of the spectrum).  What is more important however is the service level.  

A friendly welcome and lounge staff who go that little bit further are just so refreshing that you will quickly overlook a less than sparkling environment.  I, like many others, have great stories where I was pleasantly surprised by special efforts by lounge staff.  Equally, there are the horror stories where "lounge-dragons" have spoilt the experience that no level of fancy architecture can overcome.

Having spent many hours in QF lounges, I think the staff are generally very good and they have some brilliant lounges with HKG being an absolute highlight.  The domestic Qantas Clubs are not great experiences unfortunately.  Pre-pandemic they were often crowded and noisy with lots of dirty cups and plates left for a long time before being cleared away.  In many respects, the rise of the plusher and more spacious Business Lounge has meant the Qantas Club product has gone backwards.  Hopefully what has happened in Melbourne, isn't repeated as other lounges like Sydney are renovated.

VA has always had a friendly approach in their lounges though, like the Qantas Clubs, can be a bit of a zoo in peak times.  There staff have generally been very good with inevitable exceptions.  Food offerings were typically OK though Covid will probably change what and how it is served for most lounges.  Many have commented on the lack of spirits in VA Lounges most of the time and, for some, this is a reasonable criticism.  

The new ADL lounge looks like and breezy with a little bit of whimsy.  It looks like it has a similar furniture style to what QF put into the MEL Qantas Club but greater spacing and natural light makes it look a lot more pleasant.  Hopefully the traumas of 2020 hasn't damaged the staff.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 467

Might be the days I fly out of ADL but I didn’t find QF ADLlounge crowded at all, if we have to compare like for like at the same location. It is definitely nicer than Qq

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 467

QF ADL nicer than QF BNE SYD or MEL domestic lounge for sure

09 Aug 2019

Total posts 3

I am liking the wine bar idea - something I've enjoyed about AirNZ lounges is the rotating regions with wine selection. It will be interesting to see if this is a one off or if they'll do something similar in each lounge. 

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

20 Jun 2013

Total posts 44

I like the cool retro brickwork.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 48

Except for the tacky signage there is nothing original about this lounge.  Sure it is good to have a new lounge but before people criticise the Qantas lounge perhaps it is worth remembering how many lounges Virgin has now compared to Qantas.  Virgin run SIX lounges only and if you fly anywhere outside of Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney or Perth you are stuck in the terminal.  There are some people in these forums that will always kick the boot into Qantas but are quick to forgive Virgin DESPITE the fact that they failed and left a lot of debt unpaid.  I appreciate that people have their favourites but Qantas is the ONLY Australian owned airline and they are increasing their Aussie network, bringing back their offering on the ground and on the planes and they are not owned by a private equity firm that is likely to turn around and sell off bits of it in a few years.  I wish Virgin luck as competition is good but I just get a bit tired of the punters in this forum who demand the world from Qantas but forgive Virgin for everything.  If Australians showed Qantas the same national pride as Kiwis showed Air NZ then it would be a far more constructive place here.

Current Qantas Lounges that are open vs Virgin's network of SIX!

Qantas Business loungesBrisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and SydneyQantas Club lounges

Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Devonport, Emerald, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Launceston, Mackay, Tamworth and Townsville

Chairmans lounges
Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra (Monday - Friday), Melbourne, Perth and Sydney

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 694

I don't get all the negatives and knockers, it's a lounge, reminds me of the one at Amsterdam Airport used by Etihad. Maybe the knockers have forgotten how lucky we are here in Australia. Just to add to the lounges, I was direct to a private lounge on Hamilton Island by VA staff?   

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 74

They are trying but my commercial furniture background says they better put a 90kg limit on those chinese knock off scando chairs, or they will have a lawsuit on their hands after a 100kg bloke sits on one with his bettys burger and does his hip when the chair breaks. Lounges need heavy duty seating, not Temple and Webster. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 517

". . . The new lounge we’ve unveiled today will be the foundation for the Virgin aesthetic and experience we will roll out across the network.”

Dear Miss Jayne, variety is the spice of life, please don't feel compelled to make them all the same.  As I've written before, I  find the bright, white, sterile decore just a wee bit oh-so confronting at times.  Why, please do feel free to be inspired (only) by the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LHR (nothing to do with golf).  Not a bad way for you to make your marque (competition wise). There'd be no need for 'The Club' lounge if you did.  

So please Jayne, no rush, rather you take your time and get it right (heck, call either of Messrs Chamberlin or Flynn for advice !!).  Better still, get Lil' Richard Branson to earn his stipend and share his plans and design team.  Cao. 

Good to see the lounge manager Arthur pretending to be a passenger in the photos

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 4

I really like it. Light bright but without the sterility of the existing lounges. The sign has personality regardless of whether it's to your taste. 

When the pandemic ends and there isn't the same concern over F&B, the filled buffets will also add some more warmth to the space (nobody likes a bare buffet). 

As someone who lives in Europe, I can safely say that VA and QF's lounges are far bigger, better,stylish and better equipped than most lounges in my part of the world and the US. Asia and the ME are on another level. 

Enjoy 

13 Nov 2020

Total posts 4

It's just nice to see lounge renovations and re-openings.   I miss that part of travel.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2015

Total posts 31

Seems nice enough and far better than the old one.


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