Virgin Australia flyers in Adelaide now have access to a brand new lounge, following the opening of the new Virgin Australia Lounge at Adelaide Airport today. Virgin’s final remaining lounge in Canberra is also due to reopen next month.
Around double the size of the previous Virgin lounge in Adelaide, the bright new space features a modern design, new catering options and enough seating for 283 people.
The new lounge is significant because its design is markedly different from Virgin Australia’s previous lounges. Virgin says that all future refurbishments of its other domestic lounges will be based on the design of the new Adelaide lounge, so this gives us a taste of where Virgin plans to take its brand in the coming years.
“We plan to make significant investment in our lounges over the next few years. The new lounge we’ve unveiled today will be the foundation for the Virgin aesthetic and experience we will roll out across the network,” Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said.
The Adelaide lounge includes a bar, dining areas and work stations with charging outlets, as well as modern bathrooms and showers (although the showers are temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19). There is lots of natural light, although there aren’t any great views of the runway as the lounge instead faces Ikea.
And, despite Qantas removing service desks from its lounges, Virgin’s new lounge has a rather flash one.
“We know our capital city lounges are highly-valued by our frequent flyers and we’re reimagining the experience in a very Virgin way. 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,” Hrdlicka said.
You can read Australian Frequent Flyer‘s full review of the lounge here: Virgin Australia Adelaide Lounge Review
Catering improvements to roll out to other lounges
Since Virgin Australia began to reopen some of its existing lounges in late 2020, the pre-packaged food options at those lounges have been very limited.
With the opening of the new Adelaide lounge, Virgin Australia has also introduced a new menu. This is a considerable improvement, and there are now more fresh options including salads, wraps, toasted sandwiches and healthy snack plates. There is also a full range of drinks including barista coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, beer, wine and even spirits.
There’s no buffet in sight – instead, Virgin is trialling end-to-end table service. To order food or drinks, lounge visitors need to scan the QR code on their table and place their order through an App. The order is then delivered promptly by lounge staff. The QR code ordering system is also currently being trialled in Melbourne.
While the new menu is not yet available in Virgin’s other airport lounges, Virgin says this will happen “in the coming weeks”. That will be welcome news for Virgin Australia flyers!
Virgin’s Canberra lounge to open next month
Virgin Australia also confirmed today that its last lounge to reopen, at Canberra Airport, will finally reopen sometime in March 2021. But the airline has not given an exact opening date.
As previously announced, Virgin Australia’s former lounges in Cairns, Darwin, Mackay, Alice Springs, Wellington and Perth (T2) will not reopen.
A 10-month delay
Designed by WMK Architecture, Virgin’s new Adelaide lounge was originally planned before COVID-19 and construction work began in early 2020. The new design of the Adelaide lounge had already been planned before Virgin Australia went into voluntary administration and was bought by Bain Capital last year.
A temporary Virgin pop-up lounge at Adelaide Airport was set up in February 2020 while the new space was being built. The pop-up lounge was originally supposed to be in place for around 5-6 weeks until the new lounge opened in April 2020, but actually closed after just three weeks due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
Inevitably, COVID-19 ended up delaying the Adelaide lounge opening by around 10 months. At least the new lounge appears to have been worth the wait!
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: The new Virgin lounge in Adelaide [opened 23 Feb 2021]
Disclosure: The author travelled to Adelaide as a guest of Virgin Australia.