Virgin Australia reopens Perth, Gold Coast lounges

Virgin rolls up the shutters on two more of its airport lounges.

By David Flynn, January 11 2021
Virgin Australia reopens Perth, Gold Coast lounges

Virgin Australia's lounges at Perth and the Gold Coast will once again open their doors on Tuesday January 12, almost ten months after they were shuttered in March 2020 during the early days of the coronavirus.

They'll join their siblings at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with Canberra and Adelaide also poised to reopen over the coming months.

"Virgin Australia is committed to a network of domestic lounges and we look forward to continuing to offer these fantastic spaces for our frequent flyers," a spokesperson for the airline tells Executive Traveller.

Despite border restrictions imposed by the WA government, Virgin has charted sufficiently steady demand for its flights within the state and is obviously optimistic for east-west traffic in the near future.

Likewise, there are now enough frequent flyers jetting out of the Gold Coast to warrant the reopening of this popular lounge, with especially strong demand reported on flights between Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Virgin's new lounge experience

All Virgin Australia lounges offer a limited range of food such as sandwiches, snacks, fruit and other small bites, although hot meals are off the menu for now.

In the COVID world, Virgin has embraced pre-packed sandwiches and snacks.
In the COVID world, Virgin has embraced pre-packed sandwiches and snacks.
There's also a choice of biscuits and chips.
There's also a choice of biscuits and chips.

There's the reliable barista-pulled coffee throughout the day, and a selection of alcohol available from 12pm.

Drinks from noon, coffee any time you choose...
Drinks from noon, coffee any time you choose...

Read more: We check out Virgin's new domestic airport lounge experience

As previously reported, Virgin's lounges in Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin, Mackay and Perth T2, along with Wellington NZ, have been closed for good.

The final piece of the puzzle is The Club: Virgin's invitation-only equivalent to the Qantas Chairman's Lounge, which in addition to being a VIP frequent flyer tier also sees private lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.

Virgin's The Club is a sanctuary of schmooze for high-flying corporates and captains of industry.. Source: Supplied
Virgin's The Club is a sanctuary of schmooze for high-flying corporates and captains of industry.
Source: Supplied

Virgin says that The Club is under review, which should come as no surprise given that the airline is adopting a mid-market strategy with a lesser focus on corporate travellers and deliberately not aping the full-service approach of arch-rival Qantas.

More JetBlue than Jetstar

“We’ll compete very differently than we have in the past,” says Virgin boss Jayne Hrdlicka, who spent five years as CEO of Qantas' low-cost arm Jetstar. “We’re not trying to compete head-to-head; we’re not trying to beat Qantas. We’re Virgin Australia.”

The Virgin Australia 2.0 mid-market model contentiously includes axing free snacks in economy and jettisoning its flagship Airbus A330 and Boeing 777s with their flatbed business class, while the airline is now reassessing its free WiFi service.

“I think one of the great examples (of a mid-market airline) is JetBlue,” Hrdlicka says. “We’ve looked a lot at airlines around the world, and who we want to look like … and while there’s nobody specifically that we’d say 'that’s exactly it', it’s more like a JetBlue than not."

Read more: Why Virgin Australia's future is more JetBlue than Jetstar

Turbocharge your Velocity Points balance with our round-up of the best Virgin Australia Velocity credit card sign-up offers, kicking off with 120,000 bonus Velocity Points from a single card application.

David

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.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 558

You can start reading the Murphy strategy for VA , it's going to be a me2 marketing strategy same as apple, copy the opposition but try and make it better.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 558

Should I add , just waiting for the VA Points Club as well.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 209

Good to hear - Just in time for my return flight to Brisbane.

Will be nice to have a decent coffee before  the flight although the food is rather limited in the lounge.

With all of these ups and downs with COVID and border closures it will be great  to get home and not worry about getting a flight, although it’s 8 days to go so anything could happen.

I feel so sorry for those who can’t get home, I got stuck here in WA last year for almost 4 months so had a slight taste of it and it’s not nice.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 169

"More JetBlue than Jetstar" ... I'm pretty sure I remember getting free snacks in JetBlue economy though!

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 22

I can deal with the Covid safety measures implemented lounge but in my recent visit I found the limited food selection and poor drinks offering very disappointing. The main food item offered was a triple cheese and spring onion sandwhich... seriously? They also only had one person manning the bar when I last visited both SYD & BNE which resulted in long queues for drinks.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 387

Someone should lose their job over that !!!  It's always the 'last mile' or 'one percenters' that separates contenders from 'wannabes'.  What on earth has Hrdlicka been doing all this time?  Seriously?

But all kudos to Virgin for re-opening the Perth and GC lounges, well done.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 209

Boeing-Tragic.

The answer to your question about what she has been doing is apparently NOTHING.

Would have thought we would have had some inkling by now!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 387

No RodH, that isn't so, shame on you (smirk).  Read between the lines.  When Hrdlicka says:

“We’ve looked a lot at airlines around the world, and who we want to look like … and while there’s nobody specifically that we’d say 'that’s exactly it', it’s more like a JetBlue than not."

- that's spin for 'we've been spending a WHOLE LOTTA time studying JetBlue because that outfit SERIOUSLY DOES know how to run an airline and Mike and I feel we can learn a real lot from them'.  

. . . . meanwhile back at the ranch, because micro-businesses and small businesses don't fit into their definition of 'corporates' (the way Bain & Co and others of their ilk do), as a revenue sector we get ignored because they think Qantas wouldn't be interested in us.  Which is kind of ignorant, given we have absolute and total discretion of which metal we fly in and whether we choose a business class fare of fly Eco.  Prior to March last year, I had preferred Virgin's J-Class to what Qantas offered, but now under Bain it's already beginning to look as though my expectations have been dumped in with all the Eco travelers.  Of course, I hope I'm proved wrong (and soon!), but it shouldn't take a responsive, forward looking CEO this long to communicate clearly why I should stay loyal to VFF and not jump to QFF, etc.  

Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . . tick . . tock . . .  (yes, I'm getting impatient, and I doubt I'm alone!).

Now that they're clear of the Administration phase and assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that Keith Neate is still on the payroll (as a CFO I hear he's far more than just a number-cruncher, something closer to a Chief Operating* Officer/Deputy CEO), Hrdlicka should be leaning to him for analytical foresight to make smart decisions and announce them (rather that studying JetBlue and other LCCs).  Murphy needs to get some smarter people of the Virgin Board who can point Ms Hrdlicka in the right direction.  Board seats are for people with intelligence and ideas, not a club for Bain to reward past loyalty (take them to the cricket of the tennis for that!).  Just my A$2.00 worth.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 209

Well put Boeing-Tragic.

It’s rather difficult to understand just what it is they are waiting for.

Surely the lounge service could be improved right now as there’s very little to  be had there. Seems like they are missing a good publicity opportunity by not announcing improved service as well. Same could be said for in flight service.

I guess what is there is better than nothing 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 387

Lounge service!  My God !!  This is THE PERFECT opportunity to totally re-invest how warm/prepared food is served, removing the opportunity that many took to treat the lounge as a common cafeteria where they'd LOAD UP the plate high with food (as though they hadn't eaten in days!) and all too often dropped it on the floor walking back to their seat.  I'd see the BNE and SYD lounges looked truly dreadful by 6PM, sometimes like a school cafeteria (patron behaviour just as bad).  

It may mean more staff serving.  I'd prefer a charge of $10/time to get a modest serving of BETTER QUALITY food - 2 small courses would be fine.  This ain't rocket science and Hrdlicka doesn't need countless 'focus group' meetings to come up with a reasonable/better solution and trial it for a few months.  

Here's a 'free kick' for Dear Jane:

1) Red and Silver - 2 'Comped' meal vouchers*/month, then pay $10/time;

2) Gold - 6 Comped meal vouchers*/month, then pay $10/time;

3) Platinum - 12 Comped meal vouchers*/month, then pay $10/time.

* non-transferrable and non-cumulative, eVouchers credited to our membership cards and redeemable on the day at a kiosk/machine in the lounge (not as a condition of entry).  All drinks (up to and including 1st shelf spirits) remaining complimentary except premium (and I do mean 'top-shelf') spirits and cocktails sold at 'hard cost' (i.e. product and labour, no margin).  

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 22

Worth noting that the JetBlue doesn't operate a lounge network. This allows them to run a very competitive operation in the states when it comes to price and free inflight perks (wifi, SatTV, additional legroom). If Jayne does adopt the major tenets of JetBlue's operating model, I'd expect there to be a reduction in investment in the lounge network (no Club lounge, hot food removed with the introduction of a paid model, limited alcohol offering etc., paid entry even for status pax for those on the cheapest fare bucket). Note that just because hot food becomes paid doesn't necessarily improve the quality.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 558

My thoughts........... It's all smoke and mirrors at the moment not wanting to show Murphy's hand. "Fine Cotton" comes to mind, make it look like a dud.

08 May 2020

Total posts 56

In the current Covid Climate why the Hell would I book a flight to Perth, I may fly out of Melbourne with the Border open but by the time the Flight arrives the Border may be shut and 2 week Quarantine applies.   I cannot see making any use of the Perth Lounge anytime soon even Queensland has similar issues.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 209

Pete sw

Totally agree , one would have to be very keen indeed  to book a flight into Perth given the current Covid problems.

I’m fortunately going from Perth, which is quite Covid safe ATM  , to Brisbane so don’t expect any problems except flight cancellations by VA as has already happened and I have had my flight changed.

I will certainly be interested to see what the Perth lounge is like.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 209

Sitting in the Perth VA lounge awaiting my flight to Brisbane.

Very few people here, chicken sandwiches, fruit,fruit juices , wine and beer available.

Having a sandwich and a couple of reds before boarding.

Very pleasant staff and nice and quiet.

It will be great when full service resumes , if it does of course.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 387

Quick, on your bike Rod, boarding for VA469 will close any minute!!  Safe travels.


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