With more flights and more passengers, Virgin Australia is now adding more lounges to the mix. But not all of them: some won't open their doors again until next year, while others are closed for good. Here's the rundown.
Virgin's lounges at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are now open, in readiness for the country's three busiest airports experiencing a swell of summer holiday demand.
"Historically the Golden Triangle has been one of the busiest flight corridors in the world," notes Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, who expects to see the airline running at 60% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by January 2021.
In fact, at the time of writing, Virgin's Melbourne lounge is undergoing some maintenance work so all lounge-worthy passengers – including business class flyers, Velocity Platinum and Velocity Gold members, Virgin Australia lounge members, AMEX Platinum and Centurion cardholders, and Virgin lounge pass holders – are being sent to the normally-secret The Club lounge.
All three lounges offer a limited range of food such as chilled 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.
However, the time- and hassle-saving Premium Entry channels at Sydney and Brisbane – and the Premium Exit lane at Virgin's Melbourne lounge – will remain shuttered until next year, a spokesman for Virgin Australia has confirmed to Executive Traveller.
Virgin lists its Gold Coast and Perth lounges as "opening soon", with no specific date attached, while a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller its Canberra lounge will reopen in early 2021.
The airline's Adelaide lounge isn't expected to fling open its doors until early 2021, at which time it'll reveal an all-new design to which other Virgin lounges will be upgraded in the coming years.
As previously reported, Virgin Australia has decided to axe its lounges in Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin, Mackay, Perth Terminal 2, and Wellington, New Zealand.
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 also 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.