With more states opening up, Virgin Australia is bulking up its flight schedule – but what can travellers look forward to when it comes to Virgin's airport lounges?
Virgin, like Qantas, pulled down the shutters on its lounge network on March 23 in accordance with broad-ranging Federal Government restrictions that also locked down indoor venues such as cafes, restaurants and bars, pubs and clubs, gyms and places of worship, to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Four weeks later, the airline itself collapsed under the combined weight of Covid-dictated travel restrictions and what turned out to be a near-$7bn debt pile.
While Qantas was able to begin tentatively reopening its domestic lounges from July 1, Virgin remained in administration and the doors to its lounges remained firmly locked.
At the time, a Virgin Australia spokesman told Executive Traveller "we continue to assess the opening of lounges as travel restrictions ease and demand returns."
"We are assessing travel volumes and working on the right approach to lounge re-opening."
Since then, Queensland – home to four Virgin lounges – has started to drop its 'hard border' approach to NSW, while the NSW-Victoria borders will completely reopen on November 23.
In response, Virgin will step up Sydney-Melbourne to four return services per day "and progressively increase frequencies ahead of the Christmas Holidays."
Melbourne-Canberra flights are also being boosted, alongside plans to reinstate services from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour, Ballina-Byron and Newcastle.
So where to the still-closed lounges factor into this, especially as the prime Sydney-Melbourne corridor gets an eagerly-anticipated restart?
The November 23 timing of that restart could work in Virgin's favour, with new owners Bain Capital set to officially take over the airline in the week prior.
Executive Traveller understands that Virgin will outline its plans for those lounges, along with its broader value-centric 'consumer proposition' before November 23 rolls around.
"We are committed to providing leisure and corporate customers with best in class service, a comprehensive network of domestic and short-haul international destinations, lounges, and an award-winning loyalty program," a Virgin Australia spokesman told Executive Traveller.