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