Virgin’s Lounge Network is Still a Work in Progress

Virgin's Lounge Network is Still a Work in ProgressWith the planned opening date for Virgin Australia’s new Wellington lounge pushed back until April, Virgin passengers departing Wellington remain without lounge access for now. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia passengers departing Brisbane on international flights are being relegated to third-party lounges as construction of the new Brisbane “My Lounge” continues. Virgin’s Brisbane lounge is now due to open in May 2019.

Read more about the current international lounge access arrangements for Virgin Australia passengers here: Virgin Australia’s New International Lounges

Thankfully, this situation for Virgin Australia passengers at these airports is only temporary. But for Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers travelling on Virgin’s partner airlines, there are still many surprising gaps where lounge access is unavailable.

Velocity Frequent Flyer members have access to some excellent airport lounges when flying with some of Virgin’s partner airlines. These include the Etihad Airways First Class & Al Reem Lounges in Abu Dhabi, the Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus lounge in Hong Kong and the Virgin Atlantic Club House in London. (There are also some very mediocre lounges – such as the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge in Singapore – but that’s a story for another time.) Velocity Gold and Platinum members also receive the benefit of Delta Sky Club access when travelling within the USA – a benefit not even afforded to Delta’s own frequent flyers or those with SkyTeam Elite Plus status.

But, as Virgin Australia is not in an alliance like Oneworld or Star Alliance, lounge access is a bit of a mixed bag. Lounges are only available to Velocity Gold and Platinum members when flying with partner airlines from airports where specific arrangements are in place. There is a full list of international lounges available to Velocity members on the Virgin Australia website.

There are unfortunately many situations where Velocity Gold and Platinum members flying on a Virgin Australia partner airline will find themselves without lounge access. Here are six of the most surprising situations where Velocity members really ought to have lounge access, but do not…

1. South African Airways in Perth

South African Airways is Velocity’s only partner airline based in Africa. The South African airline has just one route out of Australia; from Perth to Johannesburg. So you’d think that lounge access would be available in Perth to Gold and Platinum members ahead of this flight. Nope, it’s not.

2. Hawaiian Airlines in Brisbane

Velocity members only have access to lounges at two airports when flying Hawaiian Airlines; these are in Sydney and Honolulu. For some reason, access is only offered at these airports if you’re booked on a “VA” codeshare. Flying Hawaiian in Economy on a “HA” flight number? Tough luck – lounge access is not available.

But here’s the part that makes even less sense. You won’t get access to any lounge in Brisbane (or any other airport) when flying with Hawaiian Airlines to Honolulu – even if you did book with Virgin Australia on a “VA” flight number!

3. SilkAir in Darwin and Cairns

SilkAir, Singapore Airlines’ regional subsidiary, flies from Darwin and Cairns to Singapore. But you won’t have access to any lounges when flying with SilkAir from Australia. Lounge access with SilkAir is only in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur (and nowhere else).

4. Singapore Airlines in Europe (except London)

If you want to fly to Europe, Virgin Australia gives you a choice of flying via Singapore with Singapore Airlines, via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways or via Hong Kong with Virgin Australia & Virgin Atlantic. If you’re flying on Singapore Airlines, you would have access to the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge at London Heathrow when flying home. But if you’re leaving from any of the other European cities that Singapore Airlines flies to – such as Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Amsterdam, Zurich or Istanbul – you won’t be entitled to lounge access as a Velocity Gold or Platinum member.

If you’re flying to continental Europe, it may be better to fly Etihad Airways. You’ll not only have access to lounges at many more European airports, but also a much better transit lounge in Abu Dhabi.

5. Any airline in Shanghai (except Etihad Airways)

Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Etihad Airways all fly to Shanghai, one of the largest cities in China. But the only Virgin partner airline that offers lounge access to Velocity Gold and Platinum flyers is Etihad, if you happen to be flying from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi.

6. Tianjin Airlines or Capital Airlines at any airport

Virgin Australia launched partnerships with China-based Tianjin Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines in 2017. Yet, there are still no lounge access arrangements for Velocity members flying with either of these airlines at any airport.

Join the discussion on Virgin Australia lounge access on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New international lounge arrrangements from 28 Oct 2018


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]