Virgin Australia trials 'grab and go' airport lounge breakfasts

By David Flynn, December 5 2017

EXCLUSIVE | Virgin Australia will offer 'Grab & Go' meals at its Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lounges, allowing passengers to quickly bundle up a light breakfast or brunch to bring on board their flight.

The concept will be introduced today, Wednesday December 6, and run through to March 2018 as a three-month trial of the concept.

However, the airline says this will not result in changes to either the regular lounge menu nor inflight meals.

From when the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lounges open until 10.30am, travellers will be able to grab a take-away espresso coffee and a breakfast item such as a muffin, pastry or a piece of fruit, from a 'Grab & Go' station, stow them into a small carry bag and head to their flight.

If you'd rather a travel-friendly toastie, there'll also be a toasted sandwich station with grease-proof paper bags to take away.

Virgin predicts the concept will be particularly convenient for business travellers who don't have much time to spend in the lounge before their flight.

"We know that sometimes our guests are in a hurry in the morning and don’t have time to spend in the lounge before their flight," says Virgin Australia's General Manager for Inflight Experience, Tash Tobias. "So we’ve come up with a way that guests can have their coffee and favourite breakfast items from the lounge, and still make their flight."

Grab-and-go lounge meals was one of several ideas floated by the airline to in July 2017 to a series of focus groups on Virgin's meal and drink service.

Other options discussed, and potentially still to be rolled out by Virgin, included more substantial 'complimentary snacks' for economy class passengers and the introduction of buying meals and snacks from kiosks at the departure gate, in partnership with airport retail outlets such as Sumo Salad.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

MattJelonek

MattJelonek

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Budget Airline?

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

In what way, Matt? Cathay Pacific has a 'grab and go' arrangement at what it calls The Pantry at its Pier lounges in Hong Kong and also in London, and I think you will see that CX is not a 'budget airline'.

deany83

deany83

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 135

Yes but Cathay gives you more than a snack onboard

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

A few early comments once again over-reacting without thinking this through. VA says no cuts to lounge meals or inflight meals so this is an addition to the current service offering, which no doubt some people will find useful. How many people remains to be seen, one reason why this is a 'trial'. Agree that juggling a take-away container with a snack and coffee along with your bag and boarding pass and phone while trying to navigate narrow aisles and trying to put your bag in the overhead locker could lead some some coffee spills though.

Russjking

Russjking

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 75

Oh no, a recipe for disaster!

Boarding is fraught with hassles: narrow aisles, bags being tossed around, drinks placed on seats whilst bags are sorted then being knocked over....

I have become almost exclusively VA since they introduced Economy-X but the risks of arriving with coffee and marmalade sandwiches is not a good look except for Paddington Bear.

Hello Qantas, missed you!

rencontre

rencontre

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

Calm down doomsayers.....its a "trial" lol

And I thought pax were already permitted to bring their own hot beverages onboard, no? Have yet to hear of any horror scalding stories

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 254

Lipstick on a pig me thinks. A “trial” of something already permitted and done by many due to lousy on board catering. Grease proof bags are a nice touch though.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 293

Hey wasn't it Qantas that introduced takeaway coffee "Doomsdayers" Let's bash someone for trying to push forward

CBRQF

CBRQF

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2011

Total posts 32

I have a strong preference for Qantas, but this sounds like a great idea if it is in addition to their existing offering. Especially for those trips where you want to pretty much walk straight on the plane - go grab a small bag of food and coffee.

silvyvc

silvyvc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jun 2017

Total posts 41

That sounds like an interesting idea; however, it concerns me the amount of waste that the takeaway cups will produce. If VA comes up with something about it, it will be a winning idea.

plutekplutek

plutekplutek

12 Sep 2017

Total posts 17

How about improving the on-board catering instead ?

damien

damien

Virgin Blue - Velocity Rewards

12 May 2011

Total posts 20

They're gearing this offer to Gold and Platinums as access is presided you have lounge access. I think it's clever. Will lead to a small increase in costs due to more items getting used but not a huge investment from their end.

apacau

apacau

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 46

This was in the BNE lounge this morning - muffins, fruit etc. all in addition to the existing lounge and on board offering.

I didn’t take anything but as an additional option for lounge users, I think it’s a great idea. I would think for people about to take a longer flight (PER, DRW etc) this would be a great way to pick up a tasty additional inflight snack!

grumpytravel

grumpytravel

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2016

Total posts 40

More re-arranging of deck chairs on the Titanic!

TheBigM

TheBigM

07 Mar 2017

Total posts 32

Username checks out.

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Grease proof bags, yikes, they don't go well with suits or decent clothing. Can you imagine the smells permeating the cabin with this trial and all the butter trails. No thanks. Keep toasties in the lounge.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 106

Haha now I’ve heard it all!

The negative comments above don’t display any sense. It’s a trail, it’s an improvement, it won’t be used by all, it’s prob only going to be used by a few passengers on any given flight you would think, changing airlines because someone is in possession of a toasted sandwich or coffee please.

These are other worldly issues that would warrant negativity, this isn’t one.

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

It only takes one toastie in that butter dripping so called grease proof bag to ruin an entire flight. As for an improvement, I find that very hard to believe.

danmuli

danmuli

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Mar 2017

Total posts 3

The person next to you cold spill a coffee on you as it is today from the coffee provided on board. How is this any different? Calm your farm.

SteveCF

SteveCF

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

Interesting move by VA. Mainly from the perspective that it's kind of communicating that they're inflight service isn't sufficient.

Virgin are correct that in the morning lounge visits can be very brief, Usually I only have time to grab a coffee then I'm off to board drinking on the go, but at least with Qantas you get a breakfast.

Virgin could be viewed as communicating 'you better get something now because you won't on you're flight'.

Virgin have done a great job to get where they are, but they're just not quite there as a full service airline.

mo

mo

22 Dec 2012

Total posts 37

This seems surprisingly sensible. Everyone knows that on-board catering is pretty lousy on Virgin. But providing food in the air is probably a lot more expensive than providing some grab-an-go meals on the ground. This way Virgin focuses its catering on loyal fliers.

I'm not sure what the nay-sayers are worried about. I've been bringing my own coffees on virgin flights for a while. The lounge provides coffee cups.

JPeuty Banned

JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

This seems like the death throes of what was, not so long ago, a respectable airline.

Vidic15

Vidic15

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 May 2013

Total posts 23

Wow a moral panic over a trial. I've seen it all now.

ZT

ZT

07 Jan 2017

Total posts 31

Some airlines have a policy of no byo hot drinks on board.

Genji88

Genji88

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 11

@Damien, I'd say it's catered on Lounge Using passengers, as even Nothing Reds can gain Lounge Access by paying $65.

Being able to conveniently grab a pastry, toastie & a coffee adds a premium feel to the airline, but for me Seatback IFE & Charge ports are needed to be a Full Service airline.

JPeuty Banned

JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

How does it add a "premium" feel? You can grab a pastry, toastie and coffee in just about any airline lounge in the world.

declanr

declanr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Nov 2017

Total posts 14

Well done VA for at least trialing this. Seems many people looking to knock them without reading the detail. Nothing is being removed. Just an added convenience. However I do share the concern re the potential for a more painful boarding process. However, any potential pain in boarding with a sandwich and coffee would be countered by limiting hand luggage. Seriously, the amount of hand luggage I see is crazy. It should be one piece and maybe a suit bag absolute maximum.

declanr

declanr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Nov 2017

Total posts 14

Since when did allowing you to take a sandwich on-board equal the end of an airline? I bet if once the trial is over and they withdraw it the same people will be howling again!

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 106

Declanr exactly!

quick_dry

quick_dry

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 26

it might be mostly just adding a stand of greaseproof paper bags - but I hope the trial is a success. I'd much rather have the bags than trying to wrap a sandwich or something in a couple of paper serviettes.

Though I wonder how long till some enterprising soul fills the bag with that nice muesli and a dash of milk/yoghurt.

jaideester

jaideester

07 Dec 2017

Total posts 3

Much ado about nothing!

traveller90

traveller90

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

Lets take Virgin to a new low. Its now selling its self as a grab and go tuck shop food outlet. They say there trying to gain market ground with decisions like this - perhaps time to give up all together and join Easy Jet as a partner airline. Time for Virgin to replace their Marketing Team for one that works!

ji

ji

14 Jan 2013

Total posts 11

I think this is a great idea when in a hurry.

Presumably, take away coffee wouldn’t work in Melbourne as you have to go through the scanners when you leave.

Fine when you scan when entering the lounge - Sydney etc.


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