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.