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New Virgin Australia lounges are part of revolution

October 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email


Virgin Australia’s new international lounge network signals a major egalitarian shift in lounge thinking – with lounges open to economy class passengers who pay at the door, rather than just frequent flyers and passengers travelling at the pointy end of the plane.

The Virgin Australia lounges, and those of Etihad, are run by No1 Lounges, a fast-growing operator whose website lists four ways of accessing the group’s airline lounges:


  1. Book Online. Best price guaranteed and no booking fees.
  2. Invited by your airline. “We look after the premium passengers of many leading airlines.”
  3. Access with a member card. Guarantee your place with a reservation and benefit from free priority security access.
  4. Purchase entry at the airport. You can also turn up on the day of your departure as a walk-in guest.

Note number four!

Here’s another extract from the No1 Lounges site:

Is there a dress code? 

Yes, we have a dress code in place to ensure a premium lounge experience for all our guests. 

We ask all of our guests to wear smart-casual clothing. 

We reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone wearing clothing which we deem to be unsuitable. This may include themed or fancy dress outfits, clothes with slogans that may cause offense, replica sports kits, beach flip-flops [that’s thongs, in Australian usage], clothing that exposes midriffs or upper thighs, or bare shoulders on men. We also ask that guests do not wear tracksuits while in the lounge – we appreciate that people like to travel comfortably and so welcome guests to change when departing the lounge.

Lounges where you can pay to enter are spreading. Plaza Premium Lounge, for instance, has long operated on that basis. They first opened in Hong Kong and are now found in 17 countries.

No1 Lounges is an award-winning, UK-based airport lounge operator, founded in 2006 by former Tony and Olivier Award-winning theatre producer Phil Cameron. It is the only operator of multiple lounge brands: My Lounge (aimed at the leisure markets), No1 Lounges (its core, business-class brand), the Clubrooms (its most premium UK brand) and The House – the latest addition to the collection, designed to serve major international hub airports.

No1 has 10 lounges in the UK, located at Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham and Edinburgh Airports and will expand to 18 lounges, in the UK and internationally, over the next year.

Virgin Australia has confirmed that its customers will be able to access seven new international departure lounges including:

  • Three international lounges located in Australia, in partnership with No1 Lounges.
  • Four international lounges located in New Zealand.

Virgin Australia announced the launch of a new international lounge network in Australia and New Zealand, with seven international lounges rolling out from the end of this month. The announcement expands on the airline’s already strong domestic lounge network, consisting of 12 premium lounges across the country.

The international lounges in Australia will be in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, while in New Zealand, they will be found in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington.

Etihad Airways, which has strong links with Virgin Australia (being a major shareholder) earlier named Sydney and Melbourne as the next airports in the global rollout of new lounge brand The House.

Etihad announced recently that eligible customers, and those of its partner airline, Virgin Australia, travelling through Sydney would be able to experience The House from today (Tuesday 23 October 2018), while the new upgraded lounge experience will open for customers departing Melbourne from this Saturday 27 October, following the brand’s launch at Heathrow Terminal 4 earlier this month, on 5 October.

“The House is the result of a unique collaboration between Etihad Airways and award-winning lounge provider, No 1 Lounges, with the two brands working together to create a stylish and contemporary airport lounge experience in keeping with Etihad’s design and guest experience philosophy.”

Complimentary entry will continue to be offered to Etihad Airways Business Class and First Class customers, and to those travelling in The Residence. Gold and Platinum members of the airline’s Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme and Business Class and First Class travellers ticketed on codeshare partner services operated by Etihad Airways will also eligible for access.

Etihad has also confirmed it will offer paid-for access to The House for its Economy Class travellers.

“The lounge will also continue to be used by the premium passengers of a small number of other airlines and, subject to availability, will be available for purchase by passengers of other airlines.”

Virgin Australia is collaborating with No1 Lounges on the international lounges located in Australia for Virgin Australia guests.

Virgin Australia Airlines group executive, Rob Sharp, said the airline was now providing an improved lounge experience for guests travelling overseas.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring guests have the best travel experience with Virgin Australia.

“Together with our partners, we fly to more than 400 international destinations and we know our guests are going to be delighted by these lounges, which will feature stylish new design aesthetics and service enhancements.

“Our international strategy continues to grow and in recent months we’ve launched our Sydney to Hong Kong route and announced three new services into New Zealand, so guests are going to really benefit from the international lounge network which will be available in the next month,” Sharp said.

Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive Karl Schuster called the news particularly exciting for the airline’s loyalty members.

“For the first time, eligible guests will have access to international lounges with a Virgin Australia flair.

“We’re focussed on providing great benefits to our Velocity members and this is just another way we can ensure their travel overseas is even more enjoyable,” Schuster said.

Founder and chief executive of No1 Lounges, Phil Cameron, said: “We share Virgin Australia’s bold and innovative spirit and are excited to be partnering with them. We have worked closely with the airline to create unique branded experiences for its international passengers and look forward to welcoming them into the lounges.”

Written by Peter Needham

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