Virgin Australia expands 'on arrival' lounge access, with a catch

By Chris Chamberlin, June 18 2018
Virgin Australia expands 'on arrival' lounge access, with a catch

  • Virgin Australia Lounge members now get lounge access after their flight
  • 60 minute time limit for on-arrival access for Velocity Gold, Platinum

Members of the Virgin Australia Lounge program can now access the airline’s network of domestic airport lounges after arriving on a Virgin Australia flight, enjoying the same perk as business class passengers and Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers.

It's a welcome opportunity to grab a coffee and a bite to eat, tackle some urgent emails and perhaps freshen up with a shower after a red-eye flight from Perth.

However, Virgin Australia Lounge members and Velocity Platinum and Gold card-holders will be limited to a 60 minute stay in the lounge after their flight.

That's a new twist for those top-tier frequent flyers, who previously faced no such time restrictions on their post-flight visit.

No similar limitations apply to Virgin Australia business class passengers using lounges on arrival.

By comparison, Qantas doesn’t offer lounge access on arrival for its paid Qantas Club members, Gold frequent flyers or business class passengers (except those flying business class overnight from Perth) – keeping ‘arrivals’ access for Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members only.

Travel tip: Freshen up in the Qantas lounge after your redeye flight from Perth

That said, Virgin Australia Lounge members can currently access Air New Zealand’s network of lounges in Australia and New Zealand before eligible flights, but with AirNZ ending its alliance with Virgin Australia and forging a new partnership with Qantas, this perk isn't expected to continue beyond October.

Access to Virgin Australia lounges for all departing passengers remain unchanged, which means there's no 60-minute time restriction in place if you choose to check-in early and enjoy the lounge.

As before, holders of single-use Virgin Australia lounge passes – such as awarded to Velocity Silver members and via eligible credit cards like the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Visa – are not eligible for lounge access after their flight.

Virgin Australia lounge access continues to be available to travellers brandishing an American Express Platinum charge card or the invitation-only Centurion Card before departure, but as before, access to lounges on arrival isn't available via these cards: unless flying business class, of course.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Umm, ok, and they plan to enforce it how exactly?

15 Nov 2016

Total posts 18

Funniest thing I have read in ages! Ankle bracelet?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2016

Total posts 2

A kitchen timer that goes off haha

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 189

Exactly how long do they think we spend in the lounge on arrival flights, how has that data been assembled (and by whom)? Speaking only for myself, my use of the lounge on arrival flights has typically been for bathroom use, a fresh coffee/water and return/make a few phone calls (rather than do so in an Uber/Taxi).


Virgin's time would be better used pursuing those members who treat the lounge as their private restaurant gorging on several plates of food, typically pre-departure.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

11 Jun 2018

Total posts 26

Hi Chris,
In the link you posted (https://www.executivetraveller.com/travel-tip-freshen-up-in-the-qantas-lounge-after-your-redeye-flight-from-perth), it is said that VA “has advised that lounge access ‘on arrival’ isn’t a privilege extended to business class flyers “. I assume there is an update for this rule also?

That article on Qantas red-eye lounge access was published in August 2016. Lounge access on arrival for VA business class was later introduced in November 2016.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jan 2015

Total posts 72

I wonder how they police the 60mins rule. But I’ve often wondered that about the Plaza Premium lounges as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 339

How on earth will they police this?

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 9

Lounge congestion in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is already an absolute joke - so they're going to let even more in?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

"after arriving on a Virgin Australia flight"


Does it have to be a domestic flight or int'l / trans-tas flights also count?

The rules don't say, specifically, so there's no harm in asking nicely.

For lounge members, the new rule reads:

Subject to space availability, Lounge Members and their Invited Guests may access the lounge immediately upon arrival with a Virgin Australia itinerary or boarding pass that is eligible for the day of travel. The use of the lounge is available to these members for up to 60 minutes after their flight arrival.

For Gold/Platinum, the rules now read:

Velocity Platinum Members and each of their Invited Guests may access the lounge immediately upon arrival with a Virgin Australia itinerary or boarding pass that is eligible for the day of travel. The use of the lounge is available to these members for up to 60 minutes after their flight arrival.
Subject to space availability, Velocity Gold Members and each of their Invited Guests may access the lounge immediately upon arrival with a Virgin Australia itinerary or boarding pass that is eligible for the day of travel. The use of the lounge is available to these members for up to 60 minutes after their flight arrival.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

Thanks!!

Sticking to the rules, an int'l or trans-tas flight should count.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 169

That rule seems reasonable. Most of the time I wouldn't go in anyway as I have to go somewhere, so even 60 minutes is quite a long time to be in the lounge. Not that I think they are going to properly police it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 70

VA really need to travel QF for a week and see how to treat, recognise and value Platinum members. Further the VA lounge is rather adequate if you compare to QF Qantas Club and domestic business lounges. VA are confused how to retain high value customers.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

When I had the chance to decide either upgrade to platinum or pool my scores to my wife for her gold status, I chose the later because, indeed, platinum status gives members not too much from a gold status.

Because VA used to be a budget carrier, maybe they don't expect many actual platinum members, and they don't have many to offer them anyways -- only the service worth the membership is the access to the silverkris lounges and Etihad lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 136

And exactly how do VA plan on keeping tabs of this timed access?

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 12

Surely (and don't call me Surely), "The use of the lounge is available to these members for up to 60 minutes after their flight arrival" is intended to mean that one can enter the lounge for up to one hour after the arrival time of the flight, not that one can only remain inside for up to 60 minutes.
The intention is that you can't arrive on VA, spend a day in town, then 8 hours after arriving on VA - and before you depart on TT/JQ/QF or otherwise without VA lounge access - still expect access to the lounge on an "arrivals basis".

As you say, the wording of the new policy sets the time limit on "use of the lounge", not "access to the lounge", so the policy very much says that you're welcome to stop by after your flight, but not to remain all day by turning the lounge into a free office and restaurant (which, with no 'time limit' on arrivals, was technically permitted under the old rules).

Before this new policy was introduced, I found that the lounge staff would regularly ask "just freshening up?" when entering the lounge on arrival, which also communicated that you're welcome to pop in but not remain all day: and now, there's an official policy to that regard.

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 59

That's my guess too. I don't see this changing my behaviour much. Usually if I'm in the lounge on arrival it's because I'm having a coffee waiting for a colleague to arrive on a later flight or I need to print a couple of things out I'd finished writing on the plane before heading off to a meeting.

In fact, I suspect this is a behavioural economics nudge trick which is trying to get people to think about arrivals access as a short-term thing rather than an "open" thing, because I honestly can't see how they could possibly enforce it.

I wonder if for those who are using it as an office all day if they'll just change from using access on arrival to arriving for their return flight 9 hours early!

30 Jun 2011

Total posts 50

I suspect the rule is to stop flyers who flew in during the A.M. returning in the evening, ensuring they are partaking of F&B at their airport hotel rather than the lounge. Certainly there is no ability to conduct an audit once you have entered. Seems petty.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

How are these time limits enforced?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 172

Great question and this has been asked on the thread a few times.

They’ve introduced the carrot, they really need to explain the stick.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Understand user concerns about overcrowding, but if VA decides to allow arriving passengers lounge access then a rul limiting to 60 minutes seems silly.


There would have to be some passengers who would only stay for 10 or 20 minutes to grab a bite to eat etc., and others who'd stay longer: it should balance out, especially with business travellers as for many, time is money.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 653

Enforcement is obviously an issue but realistically who wants to fly in from somewhere and then spend more than another hour in the airport? I guess you could spend an hour if you flew in on a red-eye from PER or DRW but apart from that I can' think of a circumstance where most people wouldn't just prefer to get a later flight.


The other issue I have with these arrival lounges is what happens with your checked luggage. I assume it goes around for a while on the carousel and it eventually ends up in Unclaimed Baggage and you collect it from there. Is that correct?

As with Qantas, VA lounge access on arrival is designed for people without checked baggage (which covers a good chunk of business travellers), except in Melbourne where you can collect your bag and walk to the lounge, as it's located before security.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 17

Exactly! People are flying because they have things to do or people to see at the destination. Not so they can sit around a generic, domestic airline lounge all day

29 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

Maybe they will bring in “check out” for the lounge? Currently you have to “check in” to the lounge and unlike QF who just glance at a valid BP, on VA every person entering either has the Velocity card or BP scanned. That is the only way to enforce the 60 mins as you would soon know who has overstayed.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 85

And do what, exactly?

29 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

We are talking about VA who threaten to charge platinum members with overweight luggage when 2kg over the economy allowance for a single checked bag and police carry-on at premium lounge entries so who knows what they’ll do. Maybe send you a “you overstayed email”, suspend privileges for overstaying, revoke membership for serial abusers?? I don’t know, all I’m saying is I can see this happening as they are penny pinching everywhere else!

[Deleted by admin - off topic]

Hi Warren. The question you posted had nothing to do with this article, so in line with our Comment Policy, it has been removed. However, we'd encourage you to post your question in the 'Qantas & Jetstar' discussion area in the site's Community area, where AusBT readers may be able to assist with your Qantas Club enquiry.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 104

Well done VA. A useful additional benefit for Lounge members. The new 60min limit is reasonable - you really should only be using it for a freshen up and to get out the laptop for some emails, not as an all day office and restaurant.

I turn the lounge into my office sometimes. Being an independent app developer, I often accompany my wife on her business trips and it's mostly an early morning departure and the hotel check-in is not possible until later that day. So I spend a few hours in the lounge. Not really consuming much, but using a desk and power. A quite unique case I guess, but surely some others do the same under similar circumstances.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 303

Will be interesting to see how they enforce the 60 min rule...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 189

At the very least, VA should have the courage to issue a notice, via email, to lounge members alerting them to this change. Absent such a notice, I'll continue to occassionally use the lounge on arrival, always within 30 minutes of my flight arriving. Stand back, citizens, if you ever hear a lounge member 'cross that line' by asking me if I'm there "just to freshen up" - that conversation will get 'robust' very quickly (and you WILL be entertained!).

Qantas

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

One way to tidy up the wording would be - you can access the lounge up to 60 minutes after your flight's arrival time. This would prevent those returning any time of the day. As to managing - scan the boarding pass on entry and exit and make PA announcements requesting by name those who have overstayed to attend the entry counter.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 35

30 Oct 2017

Total posts 5

So as above I'm reading "the same as business class passengers" well flying business class from Perth (was told by perth Virgin) I could pop in the other end...Melbourne to the lounge...most embarrassing, in he girls at Melbourne lounge didn't agree!???

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 189

You must have spoken to the'team' sitting behind the counter on the right side of entry, next time use the self-check devices or speak to 'management' sitting behind the counter inside on the left.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

Hi all,


I am Velocity Gold and flying Business from SIN to SYD (red eye). Do I have any lounge on arrival options in SYD?

Thanks for your help.


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