- Abundant natural light and tarmac views
- Lengthy door list, plus an option for paid access
- All-day barista coffee, bar service from 12am
- Can become crowded during peak travel hours
- ‘On Arrival’ access available for up to 60 minutes
Perched above Gates 17 and 18 at the newly-expanded Gold Coast Airport, Virgin Australia’s Lounge hasn’t seen much attention in recent years – a fine example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – yet it remains an inviting sanctuary for those seeking a little pre-flight relaxation.
Welcoming business class passengers and Velocity members Gold and above, the lounge does double duty for domestic and international flyers – those jetting overseas just need to clear a second security screening and passport control en route to their boarding gate.
However, there have been a few minor adjustments in recent years, particularly to the food and beverage offering, prompting Executive Traveller to give the space a second look.
Location & Impressions
After clearing the newly-enhanced security screening check (using the priority lane if you’re in business class or a Velocity Gold or Platinum member), turn left and continue to the far end of the terminal, just past Hungry Jack's.
You’ll see the lounge entrance opposite Gates 17 and 18, recently rebranded from Gates 1 and 2 as part of the terminal expansion.
Making your way inside, you can admit yourself via the self-service access point – handy during peak travel times – or see the friendly staff at reception. Gold, Platinum and Lounge members can bring up to three adults and three children as guests, depending on their membership tier limit.
The lounge proper is directly above reception and accessed via stairs and an elevator. At the top of the stairs you’re greeted by a short stay area with a handful of high tables and chairs, as well as arrival and departure screens near the entrance to the bathrooms.
The primary lounge is just around the corner and includes a mix of seating options: high seats and low lounges, dining tables for those wanting to spread out, and workstation benches.
Overall, the look and feel is very familiar to Virgin Australia's other domestic lounges, featuring liberal use of timber and purple lighting.
When flying on a Virgin Australia operated flight, the Gold Coast Virgin Lounge is accessible to:
- Velocity Gold and Platinum members, and business class passengers
- Virgin Australia Lounge members, with an annual membership fee of $399
- Velocity Partner credit card holders with a single-entry pass
- Velocity Partner Airline status holders with Virgin Australia Lounge access included
- American Express Centurion or Platinum card
- Single entry passes can also be purchased for $65 on the day of departure
One of the most noticeable recent changes is to the dining experience. No longer a self-service buffet, you place your order from a set regularly-rotating menu with the staff member on duty.
For my morning flight, the hot menu included smashed avo with freshly baked sourdough, crumbled feta and lemon (with optional bacon, on the side), and Canadian pancakes with maple syrup.
There were also pastries and an assortment of cold options, including fresh cut fruit, yoghurt and muesli.
It was a streamlined offering to the hot and cold buffet of old, but still plenty of choice.
Juice, a selection of teas, and barista-made coffee, together with sparkling and still water, were also available. Alcoholic beverages including craft beers and wine are available from 12pm.
My delayed flight due to high winds in Sydney meant I also had a chance to try out the lunchtime menu too, which featured a chicken and basil pesto sandwich, falafel wrap, spiced Israeli couscous salad, and Thai beef salad. The latter looked a bit sad on display.
Business travellers hoping to fire off a few emails before the flight will no doubt gravitate towards the ‘business zone’, tucked away around the corner from the main space.
It features several curved workstation benches with power outlets and comfortable leather swivel-seats, along with a row of desks facing the wall.
This four-seat space originally had a number of computers for guest use, though they’ve since been removed. There's no power supply for these particular seats.
I’m pleased to say the free WiFi has received a huge speed boost in recent times. A quick test revealed blistering 114.6 Mbps download and 149 Mbps upload.
If you’re in the mood to relax, or just want to soak up the view across the tarmac to the Tweed Hinterland beyond, you can choose from lounges radiating from round coffee tables, or pick a solitary perch in front of the window.
Particularly useful before evening flights or international services are the shower facilities, with all amenities provided – this includes separate shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
Beyond this, there’s not much to do except sit back, read a book, and maybe download a few movies on your Netflix or Amazon Prime account to enjoy onboard.
It’s worth noting this is a ‘silent lounge’ with no announcements, so you will want to keep an eye on your watch and the Departures screen to ensure you don’t miss your flight.
Overall, it’s a good lounge with the same facilities you’d expect from its counterparts in the larger capital cities, albeit a more intimate space.
Despite being several years since its last makeover, the lounge has held up surprisingly well, with service always a genuine highlight. It runs rings around the nearby Qantas Club.
Virgin Australia reintroduced ‘on arrival’ access earlier this year, meaning members can once enjoy access to the lounge after their flight. The time-limited perk includes up to 60 minutes of use, giving enough time for a quick bite, coffee, and a few emails.
Though initially quite deserted, the lounge became increasingly crowded as the day went on, particularly with rolling delays affecting many flights, to the point of almost standing room only.
In light of the Gold Coast Airport’s expansion, it may be time for the Virgin lounge to follow suit.