Virgin unlikely to open lounge premium entry lanes until 2022

Virgin Australia expects its premium entry lanes at Sydney and Brisbane to remain closed until next year.

By David Flynn, November 8 2021
Virgin unlikely to open lounge premium entry lanes until 2022

Virgin Australia’s lounges are getting back into full swing – including a new menu being rolled out across the network – but travellers should expect a slow return for the airline’s fast-track Premium Entry lanes.

Located at the valet parking entry to Virgin Australia’s Sydney and Brisbane terminals, the Premium Entry facility gave business class passengers and Velocity Platinum frequent flyers their own checkin desk and security lanes, which led straight into the lounge.

But the time-saving channels have been shuttered for almost two years, since beginning  of pandemic and Virgin’s subsequent collapse into administration.

And they’re expected to remain locked up until next year, with Virgin citing “low demand” during the impending peak holiday period.

“We believe that during that during the Christmas and school holiday period, with our leisure guests returning (it) generally implies they’re probably travelling with luggage,” says Sarah Adam, Virgin Australia's General Manager for Product & Customer Experience, noting that the Premium Entry lanes lack luggage checkin facilities, being are for the carry-on only brigade.

Adam says the airline’s current focus is on “getting our people returning to work and getting more planes in the sky, and making sure that our operations are ready for the ramp-up” in demand across December-January.

“We’re continuing to assess what is the next step for Premium Entry,” Adam tells Executive Traveller.

The same ”wait and see” approach applies to the Premium Exit in Virgin’s Melbourne Lounge, which recently reopened after a refresh to bring it into line with the airline’s new and more relaxed look.

Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.
Virgin Australia's refreshed Melbourne Lounge.

First look: refreshed Virgin Melbourne lounge is ‘same but different’

The Melbourne Lounge is located before security rather than after, although Melbourne Airport plans to close the security facilities at Terminal 3 – home to Virgin Australia – by mid-2022 and force all travellers departing from T3 to walk to T4 for screening, before heading back to T3 to catch their flight.

This will also see Virgin’s Melbourne Lounge become an ‘airside’ lounge, sitting behind security.

“We do anticipate that sometime next year that our lounge would be an airside lounge (instead of) the current landside operation that we have,” Adam tells Executive Traveller.

However, as with the Premium Entry lanes leading into the Sydney and Brisbane lounges, Melbourne’s Premium Exit path will remain closed for the time being.

Also read: Virgin Australia trials toasted sandwiches for economy meals

21 Jul 2020

Total posts 15

That doesn’t make sense regarding Brisbane. Anyone who flys from here knows to bag drop and then walk up to premium entry. It’s still way faster than normal security. Saying passengers will have bags means little when it’s still a better option.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 361

While I think Virgin has done a solid job in most post-Bain initiatives such as the new Adelaide lounge and the Melbourne lounge refresh, the business class meals and now the lounge meals, and the concept that The Club could become Velocity's own 'Platinum One' tier, premium entry really needs to come back now that people are flying again. I get that it costs Virgin money because they have to pay for the airport security staff, maybe the new lower priced fares don't allow enough markup for this? I'd hate to see the Premium Entry at Sydney left to gather cobwebs.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 509

I guess this is the work of the bean counter which is probably valid, but JH need to remember that her airline is pitched at premium service at a mid-tier price and there is no point paying mid tier price without the experience. If that is the excuse I doubt the premium lane will open before early Feb then.

Readers may recall the hordes of pax at SYD T2 security which is depressing to watch, worse when you actually in that queue (some pax who still carry stuff on hand carry -20 years after 9/11 security changes- which is flagged by the X-ray screening enough to slow the traffic) and a premium lane is much appreciated by the seasoned travellers. 


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