Virgin Australia has opened a second temporary pop-up lounge at Melbourne Airport to ease overcrowding at the airline’s existing temporary lounge, housed in the space of Virgin’s “The Club”.
Until renovations of the main lounge are completed in mid-2021, the temporary “The Club” lounge will remain available to Velocity Platinum and Virgin Australia Business Class passengers.
But Velocity Gold members, Virgin Australia Lounge members, flyers using complimentary lounge passes and frequent flyers of eligible partner airlines now instead have access to the “pop-up” lounge located between AFL Kitchen & Bar, and McDonald’s in Terminal 3 of Melbourne Airport.
To get to the lounge, turn right from the Virgin Australia check-in area and walk towards Terminal 2. It’s located before security, on the upper departures level.
Australian Frequent Flyer visited the pop-up lounge on its first day of operation. It’s not a particularly large space, and could become busy during peak times. There have also been initial reports on our forum of long waits for hot food during peak hours. But there was enough seating for everyone in the lounge during our visit around 5.30pm.
The pop-up lounge has the feel of a good airport restaurant, with a range of seating options available.
There are charging outlets available at the seats by the windows, which also offer a great view across the airfield. While there is no dedicated lounge wifi, guests can connect to the Melbourne Airport wifi. But there are no toilets in the lounge; you would need to exit the lounge and use the public toilets near McDonald’s.
There’s a rather flash bar with a wide range of drinks available. These include draught beer, wine and spirits such as Bombay Sapphire gin, 42 Below vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey. Non-alcoholic options include soft drinks, apple & orange juice, and bottled still or sparkling water.
There’s also a staffed barista station with coffee & tea available.
While the food options are still somewhat limited, they are better than what was previously available at the other Melbourne lounge. The food menu includes sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, croissants, wraps, cookies and cheese & crackers. There was also a roasted cauliflower salad on the menu, but the staff said this was unavailable.
As a matter of interest, the catering in Melbourne’s other temporary Virgin Lounge has also been upgraded. In addition to the sandwiches and snacks, that lounge now has some additional breakfast items available (such as a protein bowl) and hot pastries in the afternoon.
The QR code ordering system is gone. Instead, guests can now approach the counter to place an order. The staff will hand you the order over the counter, or issue you with a table number if you order a toasted sandwich or croissant which needs to be freshly heated and deliver it to your table.
There is also a “grab & go” snack bar near the lounge entry. The lounge staff were asking guests to let them know what they were taking, presumably so it could be recorded.
While this temporary pop-up lounge is in no way a match for the Qantas Club in Melbourne, which is much bigger with more substantial food options, toilets & showers, it is fit for purpose. Think of it as an airport restaurant with a nice bar, where everything on the menu is “free”.
If you’re a Velocity Gold or Virgin Lounge member, this isn’t the kind of lounge you would arrive at the airport early to visit. But it’s a more-than-adequate temporary solution to the overcrowding at the other Virgin lounge in Melbourne for the next couple of months, until the renovations of the main lounge are completed. It’s a good thing that Virgin has taken the initiative to open this space.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Melbourne Virgin Lounge using old “The Club” Space – Overcrowded!