Virgin Australia brings back Velocity Gold lounge access at LAX

By Chris Chamberlin, March 21 2017
Virgin Australia brings back Velocity Gold lounge access at LAX

Virgin Australia’s Velocity Gold frequent flyers will once again enjoy airport lounge access in Los Angeles prior to their flights back to Sydney, Brisbane and soon Melbourne.

Since one of Virgin's many recent 'lounge shuffles', Velocity Gold members have been stuck out in the airport terminal from the start of this year with only a US$40 food and beverage voucher and 10,000 Velocity frequent flyer points as 'compensation' for being turfed out of LAX Star Alliance lounge (below).

That changes for the better from March 21 2017 (Los Angeles local time) with Gold-grade travellers finding a warm welcome at the swish Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge at LAX.

They'll join Virgin's business class travellers in the recently-opened lounge, which boasts a modern design with a cocktail bar and shower facilities.

Photos: Inside the Etihad Airways lounge at LAX

But here's a twist: Velocity Platinum cardholders will now be directed to the Emirates First and Business Class Lounge.

Yes, you read that correctly: Qantas partner Emirates is ironically providing lounge access to Virgin Australia guests in Los Angeles, and what's more, access to a lounge that Qantas' own Gold and Platinum frequent flyers cannot visit.

(The Qantas/Emirates joint venture partnership doesn't cover flights or airport lounges in the United States, which is also why Qantas doesn't codeshare on Emirates' flights to or from US cities.)

Emirates' lounge is likely to prove a quieter option than Etihad's for these Velocity Platinum members, with buffet dining, free WiFi, a business centre, an ‘indoor-outdoor’ terrace overlooking the terminal’s departures gates (below) and private shower suites.

While the drinks here are self-served rather than mixed by a stationed bartender, we've found the staff in Emirates' LAX lounge frequently offering to pour or mix drinks as guests approach the alcohol counter, which can then be enjoyed in the nearby dining room or elsewhere throughout the lounge.

AusBT review: Emirates' combined business class, first class lounge, Los Angeles

Virgin Australia's lounge arrangements will change once more by the middle of 2017 when the airline moves its flights from the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX to Terminals 2 and 3, alongside its own alliance partner Delta Air Lines.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

What if flying Premium with VA back to Aus and Gold?

In short:

  • Velocity Platinum (in any cabin): Emirates lounge
  • Virgin Australia business class: Etihad lounge
  • Velocity Gold (in any cabin): Also the Etihad lounge

(The Emirates lounge is only for Velocity Platinum members. Everybody else normally eligible for lounge access now uses the Etihad lounge.)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

Thank you Chris.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 120


By any chance, do you know whether VA 'the business' passengers flying on Delta codeshare (DL 6798) tickets are also eligible for Etihad lounge access?

17 Jul 2013

Total posts 3

Is this still the case? Flying VA Business Class to BNE next week (I'm on SQ KrisFlyer redemption and my wife is on Delta Skymiles redemption). Thanks.

All lounge-eligible passengers now use the Emirates Lounge at LAX, which you can confirm on the Virgin Australia website.

SilkAir - KrisFlyer

15 Jul 2015

Total posts 10

Great to hear this news! Long overdue.
Matthew Holden

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Oct 2015

Total posts 64

Musical lounges...... I feel like spinning the lounge lottery wheel with Virgin right now....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Nov 2012

Total posts 24

Any changes on guest limits for plats?

Nope. If there were other changes here, we'd have reported them.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 111

Virgin should consider adding a 'Find My Lounge' menu option to their mobile app so that international travellers can quickly find info on what lounge(s) they can access based on their location (and Velocity tier for situations such as LAX).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

27 Mar 2013

Total posts 7

Dearie me... in May we go from a nice range of lounges in TBIT to Delta..Thats not a step up!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 53

Be interesting to see how that works next month when I fly to SFO via LAX with VA.  In Jan I found as a Plat and J class passenger the Etihad lounge an absolute joke of a lounge, over crowded, insuffiencient food and I couldn't get a drink.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

Air NZ are great to fly with and the *A Lounge is fantastic. Service, food and the space.


10 Sep 2012

Total posts 4

Do Velocity Gold/Platinums have access to the *A lounge when flying AirNZ? I can't get any definitive answer on this one...

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

I'm 99% sure they do get access

Ash: Yes, access to the Star Alliance lounge is available when flying Air NZ - details can be found within Virgin Australia's international lounge directory.
(Just select Velocity Gold or Platinum, then click to expand Air New Zealand, then look for Los Angeles.)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

I received access last week on Monday at LAX *A lounge, flew Premium with AirNZ and Gold with VA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1262

So is VA saying that the EK lounge is superior to EY's? ;)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Feb 2016

Total posts 37

I am velocity platinum flying business tomorrow out of LAX. which lounge would you recommend? The Etihad or Emirates lounge? 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2013

Total posts 12

I'm wondering the same thing as Jorge_Fly. I'm assuming that as Platinum's we get to choose between Emirates and Etihad? If so, which is the better lounge? Any advice appreciated.

30 Jun 2011

Total posts 50

Same Jorge, I'll be in J on that flight too.  No idea but I'll be asking for *A lounge.  My comped *A Gold and AltaFrecciaElite Plus I think expire 31/03 as well.  Surely that's enough.

Stredinnick: You can use the Star Alliance lounge prior to Air NZ flights with Star Alliance Gold status, but neither Star Alliance Gold nor SkyTeam Elite Plus will get you inside the Star Alliance Lounge before Virgin Australia flights from LAX: that particular lounge deal is over, and Virgin Australia is not a member of either Star or SkyTeam (not that SkyTeam status would get you inside there, either).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 173

Is Virgin the only user of the Etihad lounge in the late evenings (2x 777 currently, moving to 3x next month)?  

Meanwhile the Emirates lounge is already shared with the Emirates flight departing LAX at 10:30pm.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 173

Just further to this "The Etihad lounge seats a total of 76 people, with a maximum capacity of 122 people".

Virgin's three flights depart between 8:50pm and midnight or so; each with 37 business class seats (and god knows how many golds onboard).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Feb 2016

Total posts 37

HEY all, 

Just started a virgin Australia lax Lounge options discussions for my thoughts on Platinum options. 

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 19

Any word on what lounge Virgin will be using once they commence the LAX service out of MEL?

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 66

Yikes - the LAX EY lounge could barely handle the number of VA platinums, I shudder to think how overcrowded it will be with Golds and business (who I assume would be much larger in number).

The other problem for SYD VFFs travelling Stateside is the crappy EY lounge in SYD before you get to LAX.

It's not necessarily 'bad', but without the dining options (not offered for VA flights) it's a sub-par experience and it just can't handle the numbers VA throws at it.

Hope they fix that one too. Currently the Trans-Pacs are flagship routes for VA, but they're severely hampered by poor experience on the ground at both ends.

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