Photos: Virgin Australia opens new lounge at Mackay Airport

By David Flynn, December 21 2011
Photos: Virgin Australia opens new lounge at Mackay Airport

Virgin Australia’s all-new lounge at Mackay Airport opens its doors today.

It's the the third of Virgin’s new-look lounges and also the smallest in the family – a cosy 260 square metres, with room for up to 70 guests.

This makes it around one-third the size of Virgin's Brisbane lounge and almost one-fifth the footprint of Melbourne, which remains the flagship until Sydney gets a major makeover into a two-storey facility beginning in 2012.

Despite its compact size, the new Mackay lounge – located opposite Gate 2 – incorporates the same fresh design and is built around the same principles as Melbourne and Brisbane.

The reception desk is backed by Virgin's iconic 'flying maiden'...

... and opens straight into the lounge.

The open space is neatly segmented into a series of discrete 'zones' for working and relaxing.

This includes grabbing a bite to eat from the 'Luke Mangan-inspired buffet' and making use of the sandwich toaster, which has become almost a fixture of Virgin Lounges.

A quick toastie is probably your best bet for a pre-flight snack. To mark the opening of the lounge AusBT christened the toaster with a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich on wholegain bread.

Other essentials include a coffee machine (no fancy barista service here, it's all DIY)...

... plus a supply of sweet and savory treats, such as Tim Tams, Kit Kats and Mars Bars.

Need to wet the whistle? The selection of cold beers will be a hit with mid-Queensland travellers...

... as will the red and white wines.

Other must-haves for business travellers include free wireless, newspapers and magazines.

Directly off to the left of the reception desk is a combined workspace nook which can also serve as a sort-of-quiet zone, with two Windows workstations...

... plus two desks with AC outlets for your laptop (plus a printer/fax that's out of shot).

The two long workstation benches (with handy AC outlets) near the servery provide a more social space to work.

There's also a private meeting room that seats up to eight.

Or just sit back and relax.

Just don't expect any sweeping tarmac views.

Qantas also plans to open a new Qantas Regional Lounge at Mackay Airport, but this remains under construction and won’t be open until early next year.

Virgin's regional push

Also open today at Mackay Airport is a new Priority Boarding lane for business class passengers as well as Velocity Platinum & Gold members.

The Mackay lounge is Virgin Australia’s latest move in wooing travellers from the mid-Queensland city.

Starting 5 March 2012, Virgin will add a sixth daily service between Mackay and Brisbane during weekdays (with four on Saturday and five on Sunday).

Most of the Brisbane-Mackay flights are made on Boeing 737-800s, which will offer business class across all Virgin Australia services from 18 January 2012.

The new weekday service will depart from Brisbane at 6.30am for arrival into Mackay at 8am, with the return leg leaving Mackay at for wheels-down into Brisbane at 9.50am.

The airline has also taken up naming rights for three years at the local Mackay Stadium.

"Mackay is an extremely important market for Virgin Australia" says Martin Daley, Virgin Australia Group Executive of Product and Guest Services, citing the region's "strong mining industry which attracts corporate and government travellers."

"This is all part of the game change program" Daley told Australian Business Traveller.

"We've done lots of work in the main ports such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but regional growth is very important in us becoming Australia's airline of choice, and that includes having a growing presence in regional Australia."


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.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Looks pretty good -- by the looks of it they've toned down the number of TVs in the lounge (as compared with Melbourne's), which I personally find a bit annoying.  Pity the coffee's made by a machine and not a person -- that's one of the things that I rate about Virgin's lounges over other offerings, and it's disappointing that they haven't put it in their smaller lounge.

How many places are there to charge laptops/other devices -- I can see that "dining area" table has some power points, but it looks pretty bleak from the rest of the photo...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Frequent Flyer

28 May 2011

Total posts 81

Looks fantastic ^^ as above more power points the better. 

I would think having a barista in a regional lounge would be pretty inefficient use of an employee. Having a barista stading there would be such a waste. 

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

In Canberra (roughly the same size as this) they only had one person manning the kitchen area, and would make coffee as people asked for it.  Doesn't seem that inefficient to me.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

I am right there with you on the TV point. The incessant, irritating, inane drone of rolling news in the mezzanine area is the worst thing about the Melbourne lounge. (Are you listening, Virgin Australia? Subtitles were invented for a reason.)

Virgin Blue - Velocity Rewards

04 Apr 2011

Total posts 8

You know we listen John!

We have work planned for mid-January where we will split the audio on the veranda section of the MEL Lounge so that only those seated in front of the screen will be able to hear the audio.

Thanks for the feedback!

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

It's like Christmas has come early! Thanks guys ;)

(Last time I was in the MEL Lounge it was political conference season, and I felt like stuffing up my ears with cotton wool the audio was so annoying...)


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

If it's like the other Virgin lounges there will be powerpoints in the office-nook area and on the workstation benches, none around the walls. But for a small lounge like this I reckon that's ample, and so many consumer devices these days are iPads with ample battery life.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

Shame that there isn't some more contrast to the white and black... Some timber or the the leaf panels from the other lounges, on the ceiling would make it feel a whole lot more expensive/exclusive... Still an excellent looking lounge considering it's a pretty small regional destination!

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