How to use Qantas, Virgin Australia ‘on arrival’ lounge access

Savvy frequent flyers can take advantage of visiting an airport lounge after their flight…

By Chris Ashton, August 15 2023
How to use Qantas, Virgin Australia ‘on arrival’ lounge access

Airport lounges are generally considered as places to spend time before jetting off somewhere, but in the right circumstances they can also be visited after your flight.

‘On arrival’ lounge access can be the perfect solution to those times you need to make a pit-stop to attend to some urgent business or join an online meeting, or even to grab a quick coffee or a bite to eat.

It's also a great way to maximise your sleep on those east-west ‘red eye’ flights, allowing you to skip the breakfast meal service and pop into the lounge for a bite to eat and a shot of barista-pulled coffee.

Need to tackle some post-flight work? Make a beeline for the lounge when you land...
Need to tackle some post-flight work? Make a beeline for the lounge when you land...

While only a relatively small number of airports around the world have a dedicated arrivals lounge for international travellers, Qantas and Virgin Australia offer the convenience of arrival access to their domestic airport lounges across Australia once you step off a domestic flight.

Here’s all you need to know about Qantas Virgin Australia ‘on arrival’ lounge access. 


Qantas ‘on arrival’ lounge access

Qantas restricts domestic arrival lounge access to its very top-tier frequent flyers – specifically, those holding Qantas Platinum, Qantas Platinum One or Qantas Chairman’s Lounge status.

Disappointingly, there’s no arrivals lounge access for business class passengers (this is one area where Virgin trumps Qantas).

Qantas restricts 'on arrival' lounge access to its very top-tier frequent flyers.
Qantas restricts 'on arrival' lounge access to its very top-tier frequent flyers.

While Qantas used to permit business class travellers coming in on overnight red-eye flights from Perth to pop into its domestic Qantas Business Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for a much-needed break to hit the showers, grab breakfast and tackle some work, the airline has suspended this handy feature, although Executive Traveller understands that decision is now under review.

What about Qantas international arrivals lounge access?

Qantas does extend its ‘on arrivals’ lounge access policy to international flights landing in Australia.

While this is still restricted to Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and Chairman’s Lounge members, they can be arriving on a Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates or Oneworld flight, or a Qantas codeshare service (such as a Fiji Airways flight booked under a QF flight number).

But with most Australian airports having physically seperate international and domestic terminals, the time and trouble to change terminals can reduce the appeal or even practicality of swinging by a domestic Qantas lounge after your long overseas flight.

There can also be the additional issue of having to deal with any checked luggage from your international flight.

Virgin Australia ‘on arrival’ lounge access

In stark contrast to Qantas, Virgin Australia offers arrival lounge access to a far wider range of passengers, including

  • business class passengers
  • Velocity Gold and Velocity Platinum frequent flyers
  • members of Virgin’s exclusive invitation-only Beyond program
  • members of the paid Virgin Australia Lounge program
  • eligible members of loyalty programs from Virgin Australia partner carriers such as United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways when arriving on a connecting Virgin Australia domestic flight
Unlike Qantas, Virgin Australia offers 'on arrival' access to business class passengers.
Unlike Qantas, Virgin Australia offers 'on arrival' access to business class passengers.

However, two caveats apply here:

  • you must enter the Virgin Australia lounge within 60 minutes after your flight arrives
  • preference is given to business class passengers, Velocity Platinum and Beyond members, while everyone else is ‘subject to space availability’ as a measure to avoid the lounges becoming over-crowded


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 930

Out of curiosity, does "The Gift that Keeps Giving" Qatar Platinum have arrival access at Qantas?

Sadly no. The perk is for Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members only. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 28

If you have a check-in bag it's probably not a viable arrival option. If you don't take your bag off the luggage carousel within a reasonable time what happens to your bag?

It depends how long you're intending to stay in the lounge for. If it's a quick duck in and out, it could be doable with checked luggage, as it can take some time for the bags to be fully offloaded. If you're planning to stay longer, the bag would either be offloaded and placed alongside the carousel for a time or taken directly to unclaimed baggage. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 640

Hmmm, riddle me this Chris.  Here's where the checked luggage barcode sticker could be put to good use if, by having lounge staff scan it on 'arrival', the conveyor belt automatically re-routed it to the safer hands in 'Un-claimed Luggage' instead of it being deposited onto the carousel ??  Something for the 'kids in IT' to work on?  

I like the idea, but given recent times have shown airlines can struggle simply getting bags onto the carousel, adding another level of complexity could be a step too far. Definitely something to be considered though. 

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 262

The domestic feature I miss most having dropped back from platinum. Would be good to see it offered to gold, even if only off peak and/or as a LTG additional benefit over standard gold

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 46

LTG *possibly*  But definitely not for QF Gold.

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 56

Oh man, on arrival lounge access is seriously one of my favourite things. It's a shame there isn't a way to make feasible use of this in Australian airports internationally due to the terminal set up. Bring back the CX arrival lounge in Hong Kong and anything similar.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2018

Total posts 16

I love arrival access. Living in Melbourne and only travelling with carry on luggage, it a simple process. 

I was really grateful for arrival access after 2 overnight international flights. I felt really unwell, so being able to have a shower and breakfast in the Melbourne domestic business lounge was really refreshing before going home. 

I will really miss this privilege if I can’t maintain Platinum status. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2012

Total posts 39

I miss this benefit when arriving at London Heathrow.  Was great being able to visit the British Airways Arrivals Lounge after the early morning Qantas arrival with a shower, breakfast and freshen up.  Sadly this and chauffeur rides gone along with service... 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 640

Well, that was a first for me!  On arrival at Virgin's ADL lounge late yesterday afternoon, 'Mr Moustache' intervened and denied this Velocity Platinum member access for the simplest of nature's calls - the venerable 'pit stop'.  Now . . . I had heard that the ADL folk were still a little sore over the loss of the F1 Grand Prix to Melbourne, but to act up over a 'pit stop' was, I thought, a touch resentful (particularly as his colleague had given me a green flag to proceed!).  

Talk about 'Pit Lane closed for you' !!   :-)


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 930

The thing that has me amazed is Virgin rates a business passenger over a 3600 status credit platinum passenger when the lounges are full before or after the flights.

08 May 2020

Total posts 87

I have never been denied access, alone or with up to 3 Guests in 10 years of Platinum, so I am not sure where the deferential of Bus Class & Platinum comes from

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Feb 2015

Total posts 40

Every Tuesday I arrive at Perth Airport from Melbourne. I access the lounge for approximately 4 to 6 hours waiting on a connecting flight from original flyer. Most FIFOs will do this and drink the bar empty. The high viz is not a good look in the virgin lounge however in Melbourne and Sydney this does not seem to happen .possibly a culture thing i.e. wa drinking culture.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 102

I didn’t know that I (as a QF P)had access to lounges on arrival… where is the link to this source please?

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