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