Virgin Australia readies new-look lounge for Adelaide

Virgin's new Adelaide lounge will also mark the debut of a fresh take on its domestic lounge design.

By David Flynn, September 10 2019
Virgin Australia readies new-look lounge for Adelaide

Virgin Australia will cut the ribbon on a new airport lounge at Adelaide next year, revealing a fresh look compared to the familiar design of its other domestic airport lounges.

“We're currently finalising the plan for a new lounge in Adelaide,” Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah tells Executive Traveller, adding that traveller feedback clearly indicates the airport’s current lounge is too small and cramped.

“So we are investing in a new lounge product for Adelaide that our customers are going to love (and) we're hoping to open that lounge early next year.”

Virgin's current lounge design made its debut in Melbourne in 2011.
Virgin's current lounge design made its debut in Melbourne in 2011.

Executive Traveller understands the Adelaide lounge will also showcase an updated lounge design with a new ‘character’ that will be noticeably different to its domestic siblings, which all draw from a template created by Sydney’s Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects in 2010-2011 and which debuted at Virgin’s Melbourne Airport domestic lounge.

In contrast to the smooth sameness of Virgin Australia’s lounges, competitor Qantas has been reshaping many of its lounges to draw inspiration from their location, as typified by the recent revamps of Brisbane and Melbourne.

Qantas' Brisbane lounges reflect their location with an airy feel and local materials.
Qantas' Brisbane lounges reflect their location with an airy feel and local materials.

In terms of amenities, food and drink, Virgin Australia’s lounges are generally considered to be pitched to between the Qantas Club and Qantas Business lounges – a positioning borne out by our recent comparison of each lounges' breakfast proposition.

Read: Airport lounge breakfasts – Qantas Vs Virgin Australia

Although he’s only been CEO of Virgin Australia since April 2019 Scurrah is far from a stranger to the world of airport lounges, having clocked up endless hours in them in his previous executive roles at DP World Australia and Queensland Rail, Aurizon, Flight Centre and Tourism Queensland.

“The more you travel, the more important lounges become,” Scurrah reflects. “You do get into a routine, you do like familiarity, and I think that's where lounges can play a really important part in smoothing out the process of business travel.”

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah rates good coffee as a key component of airport lounges.
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah rates good coffee as a key component of airport lounges.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in airport lounges and I know just how important they are to our passengers, especially a lounge that actually makes it feel relaxing before you travel.”

On his checklist for a good lounge experience? “I value space, power, WiFi, good coffee and good food – it’s the little things that matter most.”

Scurrah readily admits that Emirates’ lounges are a benchmark. “There are excellent lounges everywhere in the world… I think the Emirates lounges are one that a lot of people in the industry aspire to, they’re pretty consistent and people know what they're going to get.”

“Our partner Singapore Airlines has excellent lounges as well, Delta are improving their lounges all the time, Etihad have some great lounges, so we can tap into expertise across our shareholder base to make sure we're doing lounges right.”


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

06 Sep 2019

Total posts 27

As a fairly regular visitor to Adelaide, I'm looking forward to a better offering there where you can readily find a seat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 150

Absolutely. Very long overdue.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1189

To Scurrah's checklist I'd add a few things such as natural light, friendly welcoming service and consistency.

Natural light is so important when dealing with timezone changes though obviously more of an issue with international lounges than domestic. Being in a lounge in a permanent night is borderline depressing. QF's MEL International Business Lounge and MEL Qantas Club both fall into this category unfortunately.

I've been in some great lounges around the world where the experience was ruined by "lounge-dragons". Equally I've been in just average physical lounges where the visit was memorable for the welcome and unobtrusive but excellent service received. Where you get great lounges combined with great service (QF in HKG is one) you have a great experience.

Scurrah does mention EK which can do lounges well but unfortunately they can also be very ordinary. Even within DXB, you go from really good EK Business Lounges in Concourses A and B and a terrible overcrowded equivalent in Concourse C. Consistency is important; when you travel frequently you want the lounge to feel familiar and a bit of a haven away from the chaos of the terminal outside.

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 43

I personally wouldn't agree with Scurrah that Singapore Airlines has “excellent lounges”. KrisFlyer Gold lounge in Singapore itself hasn't had showers up until its currently-in-progress revamp!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 789

The purpose of the old KFG lounge was to punish you for not flying SQ business, and to keep all the *A 'riff raff' out of the SilverKris lounge :)

30 Mar 2014

Total posts 16

“Our partner Singapore Airlines has excellent lounges as well”. Except, ironically, in Singapore itself, where VA Gold and Platinum are hived off to the very mediocre KrisFlyer Gold lounge...


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 894

I rarely eat plane food even if flying business so a healthy lounge meal is always one of the keys for me


10 Sep 2019

Total posts 3

'Our partner Singapore Airlines has excellent lounges as well' - correct, except these lounges are too excellent for Velocity members, with not even VA Plats make the cut.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 363

You can have the best lounge in the world, however if it's overcrowded as most lounges are then it severely diluted the experience.

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 26

Virgin say that the Sydney lounge is their flagship, which I completely disagree with. I have never seen the upper floor open and it is often crowded. The view across the airport is also hampered by a very ugly air conditioning duct. Melbourne is by far the best lounge in VA's portfolio with sweeping views and a huge array of seating and food/drink areas. As for Adelaide, the current offering is poor so a great welcomed relief that a new lounge is on the way. Good work!

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 27

Sydney is far from the flagship. It's quite shabby outside of the lobby area. Melbourne for sure is the flagship and Cairns as a mini flagship. I love Cairns as it's normally only one flight departing at any given time especially evenings. My last three flights the 6pm Sydney was no more than 10 of us each time. Very relaxing compared to that zoo of a terminal underneath.

15 Mar 2017

Total posts 15

The KF business lounge is consistently packed during peak times. I can understand why SQ reserves it for business and PPS club.

KF gold lounge is better than no lounge. Which is consistently my problem in Europe with internal flights being a VA platinum.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

19 Jul 2014

Total posts 30

The VA lounge in Sydney can certainly do with some help. Boring and over crowded even on last Sunday afternoon. The food can certainly do with a revamp.

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 14

Great news for frequent Adelaide Travelers - Due to overcrowding and lack of space, the VA Adelaide Lounge is the only lounge I've left early to find a more pleasant experience in the Terminal.

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