Virgin Australia has gradually been reopening its airport lounges ever since it exited voluntary administration in November 2020. Beginning with the Brisbane lounge, Virgin has now also reopened its existing lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast. Unfortunately, as I discovered on a recent visit to the Virgin Australia Lounge in Brisbane, the service at those reopened lounges had been siginificantly scaled back with very limited (and mostly pre-packaged) food.
But this week, Virgin Australia opened a brand new lounge at Adelaide Airport. Not only does the new Virgin Australia Lounge in Adelaide feature a distinctly different design to all of the airline’s previous lounges, but there has also been a vast improvement in the food, drinks and service provided.
Following the launch, Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that “not only is the new Adelaide Lounge the best airline lounge at Adelaide Airport, but it’s fun, relaxed, and a place that everyone will feel welcome and comfortable.”
I would agree that the new lounge is fun, relaxed and comfortable, but is it the best airline lounge at Adelaide Airport? Let’s find out…
|Airport||Adelaide (ADL), Australia|
|Location||Opposite Gate 15|
|Opening hours||Monday-Friday: 05:00 – 18:30 |
Saturday: 05:00 – 15:00
Sunday: 07:00 – 18:30
With enough space for 283 visitors, Virgin Australia’s new Adelaide lounge is around double the size of the old lounge and features a range of seating options. There are dedicated dining areas, work stations with power outlets and lounge chairs.
As you enter the lounge, there’s a staffed service desk immediately on the left.
With the first of several seating areas opposite the service counter.
As you walk further into the lounge, there are two work stations with desk lamps, USB and power sockets. There are also two desktop computers behing the work benches, however these are currently switched off due to COVID-19.
There’s a barista coffee station and a bar, stocked with beer, wine and spirits.
Behind the bar, there’s an area that looks like it could be used as a future buffet food station. However, this is currently unstocked and food & drinks can instead be ordered using a QR code system (more on this later).
Finally, there’s another large seating area at the other end of the lounge.
Overall, the new design is modern and bright. There’s plenty of natural light and the space feels warm and inviting.
Lounge Food, Drinks & Service
Compared to my experience at Virgin Australia’s Brisbane lounge last month, the catering at the new Virgin Australia Adelaide Lounge is vastly improved. There are new, freshly prepared food options including salads, wraps, toasted sandwiches, fruit and healthy snack plates. There’s also a full range of drinks available including excellent barista coffee, tea, soft drinks and juice.
Various beers, South Australian wines (including sparkling wine), cider and spirits are also available from the bar after 12pm. During my visit, the spirits available were Absolute Vodka, Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Tanqueray gin.
Breakfast is served from 5am until 10.30am. This is the current Virgin Australia Lounge breakfast menu:
- Fruit platter
- Protein bowl (hard-boiled egg with spinach)
- Toast (with choice of spreads)
- Ham & cheese toasted sandwich
- Vanilla chocolate twist pastry
- Yoghurt & muesli pot
Here’s an assortment of options from the breakfast menu:
All-day dining menu
After 10.30am, all-day dining becomes available. This menu includes a variety of snacks:
- Cheese & crackers
- Pita bread with hummus & carrot sticks
- Mixed nuts
- Shortbread biscuits
As well as some more substantial light meal choices:
- Betroot falafel salad with cauliflour and lentils
- Chicken walnut sandwich
- Roast vegetable wrap
- Thai beef noodle salad
- Ham & cheese toasted sandwich
All of these meals are freshly prepared in the on-site kitchen and presented nicely, including the falafel salad which was very tasty.
I also enjoyed the Thai beef salad…
…and the vegetable wrap.
The one thing that was missing from the menu was hot meals (or even soup). By comparison, on a recent visit to the Qantas Club in Adelaide, hot scrambled eggs and fritata slices were available for breakfast. That kind of thing is missing from the Virgin lounge. That said, I thought the menu was reasonably fit for purpose and I would still be quite happy grabbing a quick bite to eat from the new Virgin lounge menu before my flight.
End-to-end table service
With COVID-19 putting a pause on buffets, lounge visitors can now order food & drinks by scanning the QR code at their table with a smart phone. After scanning the code, you’ll be able to view the menu and place an order.
Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer
After selecting an item, you also have the option to customise the order. For example, when ordering a coffee you can select the type of milk, strength and add syrup. Or, choose a mixer when ordering one of the four spirits on the menu.
After confirming the order and inserting your name, the friendly lounge staff will then promptly deliver the order directly to your table.
The lounge staff were quite insistent that we had to order food and drinks using the QR code ordering system. However, if you don’t have a smart phone, the lounge staff will be happy to help you out.
Speaking of the lounge staff, they were all very friendly and enthusiastic. Some of them hadn’t had an opportunity to work since the previous lounge closed, so they were especially grateful to be back at work!
In addition to the various seating areas, work station and well-appointed bar, there are brand new bathrooms and showers.
The showers are temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19, but I was able to get a sneak peak. Unlike with the current Virgin Australia lounges, the showers are in separate rooms and not directly connected to the main bathrooms.
Free wifi is available, but I unfortunately found the internet speed to be quite slow.
The Virgin Australia Lounge is available to Business Class passengers, Velocity Gold & Platinum members, frequent flyers with some of Virgin Australia’s partner airlines, Virgin Australia Lounge members and as a benefit with various credit cards. You would need to have a same-day Virgin Australia boarding pass to access the lounge. (See the Virgin Australia website for details.)
Lounge access is not currently permitted on arrival.
Disclosure: The author travelled to Adelaide as a guest of Virgin Australia.
Virgin Australia Lounge, Adelaide
There’s no doubt that the new Virgin Australia Lounge in Adelaide is an inviting, modern space with most of the things you’d need to relax before your flight. The service is excellent and the catering is a huge improvement over the recent meagre offering at Virgin’s other lounges. (Virgin says it will roll out the new menu to its other lounges over the “coming weeks” – and thank goodness for that.)
So, is this the best airline lounge in Adelaide?
Well, the nearest competitor would be the Qantas Club. I’ve visited the Qantas Club in Adelaide multiple times since COVID-19 began, and found the service there to be equally very good. I do think that the Qantas Club still has a slight edge in terms of catering, with more hot meal options. But Virgin’s new menu certainly isn’t bad, and both lounges offer a similar selection of drinks. Importantly, both have great coffee.
While the Qantas Club in Adelaide is still physically larger than the Virgin Australia Lounge, the new Virgin lounge feels more modern and inviting and there is plenty of space given Virgin also has fewer flights. The Qantas Club has less natural light and feels a bit like it hasn’t had a major upgrade for a couple of decades. So, Virgin has an edge there.
Either way, if the new Adelaide lounge is a sign of things to come across the rest of the lounge network – and Virgin says it plans to refurbish its other lounges in the style of the new Adelaide lounge – things are looking up.
If you’ve visited the new Virgin Australia Lounge in Adelaide, feel free to share your thoughts on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum or by leaving a comment!