In the fourth of our series of articles delving into the trans-Tasman alliance between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, we're looking at how you get into the Virgin Australia Lounges or the Air New Zealand International, Koru and Regional lounges.
The reciprocal lounge access that's part of the alliance is especially useful for Velocity Frequent Flyers when travelling across the Tasman, since Virgin Australia lounges are found in domestic terminals within Australia, not international ones.
Who gets lounge access?
The trans-Tasman alliance means that if Virgin Australia grants you lounge access, Air New Zealand will as well, with a couple of exceptions.
Members of the paid Virgin Australia Lounge program, who don't usually get lounge privileges extended outside Virgin Australia's own lounges, do have access under the reciprocal scheme. (Why is Air New Zealand different? Because the airline has a paid program too, the Koru Club.)
Here's the agreement in table form -- bearing in mind, that Velocity Platinums get the same as Velocity Gold.
Now, those exceptions to the agreement:
Contract lounges -- for example, the lounges available for Air New Zealand passengers in Adelaide and Perth -- aren't included in the deal, so you won't be allowed in unless your ticket allows it.
Pacific Island flights or lounges aren't part of the alliance agreement either, so no luck trying to get into the Air New Zealand lounges in Rarotonga or Nadi unless you're in Air NZ's business class or Works Deluxe premium economy.
And if you want to get into one of Air New Zealand's regional lounges (in Hamilton, Invercargill, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Tauranga), make sure you ask for the PIN code to get in the door.
Virgin Australia Velocity Gold & Platinum Frequent Flyers
Gold and Platinum cardholders get access to Air New Zealand's domestic New Zealand and international lounges, except when flying on Pacific Island flights.
You're also allowed to bring one guest into the lounge with you.
Gold and Platinum frequent flyers also have access to Air NZ's international lounge in LAX when flying Air New Zealand.
Virgin Australia Lounge program members
Virgin Australia Lounge program members only have access to Air New Zealand's international lounges on a trans-Tasman flight.
So you can't ruck up to the Air New Zealand lounge in Los Angeles' LAX, for example.
Having trouble getting into the lounges?
We know that there are still Virgin Australia/Pacific Blue and Air New Zealand agents on both sides of the Tasman who haven't got the system figured out yet, and our readers confirm the occasional problem.
The solution: have this handy official Virgin/Air NZ alliance reference guide to hand, either printed out or tucked away on your laptop, phone or tablet. It's a hefty 1.1MB PDF aimed at travel agents, and somewhat jargon-filled, but it's authoritative on lounges.
For more of our in-depth coverage of the Air New Zealand/Virgin Australia trans-Tasman alliance, check out:
- the trans-Tasman alliance: how it works, routes and flights
- how to snag those extra-legroom seats on Air NZ or Pacific Blue
- those ticket and fare types, demystified
- what you need to get into Air NZ's regional lounges as a Velocity member
- how to get ultra-comfortable long haul seats and service on trans-Tasman flights
- which Air NZ flights from Australia give free premium economy seat upgrades to frequent flyers
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.