Virgin Australia's Melbourne Airport lounge Premium Exit now open

By Chris Chamberlin, September 16 2014

Virgin Australia's new ‘Premium Exit’ in its Melbourne Airport lounge is now open, providing a time-saving direct path from the bustling lounge to the northern departure gates.

Frequent flyers will welcome the ability to fast-track from the lounge straight to gates 1-10 instead of backtracking towards the pre-departure screening area due to the lounge's location beyond the airport's secure zone.

Premium Exit is effectively a mirrored version of Premium Entry in the airline's Sydney lounge. Howard Mitchell, Virgin Australia's Manager, Lounges, told Australian Business Traveller that Sydney's Premium Entry provides travellers with an average 'through time' of just 2-3 minutes.

Out in the main Sydney terminal, Mitchell suggests an average of 15 minutes for check-in and security screening, making Premium Entry – and now, Premium Exit – real timesavers.

Fast track for lounge lizards

The Premium Exit's two dedicated screening lanes are both open during peak travel times, although the airline doesn't anticipate any more than two flights boarding at the same time.

However, as some travellers don’t arrive early enough to enjoy the lounge before their flights, Virgin has retained the priority line at the terminal's main screening checkpoint for business class passengers along with Velocity Platinum and Gold members.

Premium Exit won’t be available for passengers departing from gates 11-15 (Pier F) – insteadm the airline installed one-way exit doors at the southern end of the lounge earlier this year to save travellers some time:

Located at the far right of the lounge's bar, the Pier F exit opens near the entrance to a new general security screening point which is being moved forward from its current location:

Mitchell tells Australian Business Traveller that while approximately 60% of the airline’s passengers depart from gates 1-10, only 40% do so from gates 11-15.

By repositioning the existing screening facility the airline avoids the operating costs of an extra security checkpoint while still providing a reasonably quick security experience by way of the priority screening line.

Awkwardly positioned in the ‘landside’ space between two departure piers (below), the lounge itself will remain before security for the time being.

However, Mitchell advises that Melbourne Airport’s Southern Precinct Development should see the terminal's sterile area extended to include the lounge within “five to ten years”.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Virgin Australia.

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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!

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Any of this still beats the Qantas Club treck from the lounge to the gates in the main pier.Not to mention that the new Virgin lounge squashes Qantas Club hands down. Never too crowded and a great feeling of open space compared to Qantas Clubs all over the country that have line ups for all catering, a lack of seats and often grumpy staff

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 14

Landside was actually quite helpful recently. I had 5 hours to waste before an international flight (after an inbound domestic arrival). I picked my 2 pieces of luggage off the belt and walked up the stairs and into the lounge with them no problem.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 567

Miranda Devine tweeted last week about how much nicer the VA lounges are than the standard Qantas Club, also heightened because you don't feel that you're missing out on the nicer Business Lounges etc just a short door away.

The Qantas Clubs have become a bit of a zoo in recent years and some of them are looking a bit tired furniture wise.  I'm sure the Business Lounges are nicer but my status doesn't get me in there.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Maybe it's a grass-is-greener thing, but I prefer the QF lounges (which I can't access) to the VA ones (which I can). Some of the VA lounges still have a bit of a sterile waiting room feel to them. And the Virgin lounge at ADL is rubbish (not that I've seen Qantas Clubs outside SYD or MEL recently).

Still, the MEL one is certainly a lot better now than it was, and once it's finished it'll probably be pretty sweet.

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 141

I've been to both the Qantas Club and VA lounge in Adelaide, and sad to say the VA lounge just doesn't compare.

 

Being a QF Plat and VA Gold, I'm not having equal comparisons of the lounge experience - Qantas Business lounge undoubtedly beats the VA lounge each and everytime. Suppose VA had an answer to Qantas's Business Lounge? That would be awesome! :)

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 298

When you equal both experiences out across the whole trip Qantas and Virgin are the same nearlt every time, that's my thought as a Platinum member of both airlines.

JBH
JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 118

smart, sensible solutions that enhances their frequent flyers experience. A refreshing customer 1st mentality prevails at VA.

QantasFF Platinum

16 Feb 2012

Total posts 153

Chris, I notice there is a walkway currently under construction, to what appears to be a link between the lounge and Gates 11-15. Did you notice this? 

20 Apr 2011

Total posts 19

I've noticed this as well and initially thought the premium exit related to these gates, not 1-10.  Would be interested to know what that walkway is all about.

Still unsure where the premium exit is going.  It doesn't look like any construction has started on this.

I've asked the lounge staff about the walkway, and they've advised me it's to carry passengers to the southern departure gates while works are underway on the new checkpoints – which will obstruct the current path.

(It's not for direct access to/from the Virgin Australia lounge.)

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Oh, I was wondering how they'd handle the fact that there's two directions to exit. And now I know, they just won't. That's a shame.

Having a lounge before security seems like a problem, but really it's so quick getting through the premium security line at MEL that it isn't an issue.

09 Mar 2014

Total posts 2

Be aware. When going though the new screening point. You will not see the explosive detection machines untill after you have picked up your bags and gone through the door. You are still required to be swabbed if selected. And you have not cleared security untill after you pass the ETD machines. Remember the nicer and quicker you are the nicer and quicker they are. 

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

The problem still remains that the lounge is BEFORE Security. It would have been smarter to move the entry of the lounge to after Security in both piers (move the Security check-point for the left-hand pier up much closer to the lounge. The pax could go through security first and then enter the lounge (and come and go air side as they please). This would eliminate the worry about needing to still go through security after boarding is called.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Good, this benefit has been teased for too long. Will cut down on treading the same carpet twice, back-tracking out the main entrance.

The term "Premium Exit" conjures up images of Henry VIII's Groom of the Stool dispensing with his duties...

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 140

look forward to using it this sunday

02 Jun 2014

Total posts 3

So I'm not clear.. is this only for Plat/Gold FF's? 

If you can access the Melbourne lounge, you can use Premium Exit – you don't need to be Velocity Gold or Platinum.


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