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.
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.
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.