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Virgin Australia axes unlimited 'anytime access' to airport lounges

By David Flynn     Filed under: airport lounges, Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Lounge, Velocity Frequent Flyer

Today's the last day that Virgin Australia's top-tier Velocity frequent flyers enjoy unlimited access to its airport lounges.

From tomorrow, Wednesday August 15, the airline will remove the ability of Velocity Platinum and Gold members to use Virgin Australia lounges without flying on Virgin – a provision known as 'anytime access' which meant those high-flyers could be travelling on a competing airline, or not even flying at all.

"We basically made the decision to ensure our lounge experience is the best it can be for the guests who are flying with us", a Virgin Australia spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

Après-flight access for Platinum, Gold

However, Platinum and Gold card-holders will still enjoy access to the lounge after arriving on a Virgin flight – as long as they can present a boarding pass for the flight they've just stepped off – so they can get a quick bite, grab their email or hit the shower after catching the redeye from Perth and before heading into the office.

For other travellers, access to the lounge will be available only prior to their flight on Virgin or a partner airline.

Qantas axed Anytime Access to its domestic airport lounges in February 2011, while British Airways followed in June with the removal of its 'Open Doors' privilege for BA Executive Club Gold cardholders.

There's no doubt that Anytime Access is useful when meeting or seeing off a colleague or client at the airport.

However, we suspect that Virgin found the privilege being abused by some members – especially those who took advantage of the Velocity status match against their Qantas Platinum or Gold card but never flew with Virgin, while remaining happy to use the airport lounges like a private club.

Have your say...

We're interested in your take on Virgin Australia removing Anytime Access from its lounges: cast your vote in our poll, then share your thoughts with other AusBT readers in the comments field below.

 

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Profile

About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 24/7/12 by AusFlyer

Virgin now starts to remove benefits that they so highly boasted as being better than Qantas when they started their Frequent Flyer program....

2 on 24/7/12 by Al

I think Anytime Access was part of Virgin's move to make sure as many Qantas passengers as possible who they got across using the status match promotion would sampled their lounges in Brisbane and Melbourne, and now the Gold Coast. I also wonder how many of those who were not flying Virgin were 'sampling' those lounges when it suited them, especially on the Gold Coast where there is no Qantas lounge!

I think Virgin could consider issue some single-entry guest passes to Platinums and Golds, maybe 4 for Platinum and 2 for Gold, so that these people can still use the lounge while waiting for colleagues or friends who are arriving. But then, again, why should they get this perk when Qantas doesn't offer it?

There does seem to be a bit of an 'attitude' among some people that they have the right to this privilege all the time, just because Virgin introduced it, but that's business, things change, and if this privilege was being abused by some people (and I think it was, with people using it like their own drinks club!) then away it goes, live with it.

3 on 25/7/12 by Greg82

I truly hope that this story is picked up by the wider media. 

QANTAS can't make the slightest change to its offering without being scrutinized and hauled over hot coals in the press.  It's time that the media started reporting more of Virgins downfalls or lay off QANTAS all together. 

Where is the spirit of the Aussie battler...give QF a chance and stop kicking it in the guts when it's down.

1 on 14/8/12 by KC

QANTAS spend their time reacting to VA, Eg. return to OOL because VA provides J service there. And look at the unaccompanied child saga. QF has same policy but it took days for that to come to light after the flurry of VA backlash.

Interesting to note that yesteday I had the policy expalined to me by a lounge staff member. A Platinum or Gold member can access the lounge if they are not flying if they are taking a guest in who is flying.

So it is still possible for Platinum to take up to 3 guests in if only one of the guests is flying. Makes seeing family off at the airport still preferable at the Lounge.

2 on 14/8/12 by tronixstuff

The concept of the 'little Aussie battler' is dead. QF (and any business) is a business and not a charity or quasi-socialist operation. They will control their own success or failure in conjunction with the market. 

4 on 15/8/12 by dc

Gee, I'm glad I read this! Nothing more embarrising than taking a client into a lounge and told you can't come in? Virgin, please tell me, whats the difference between Platinum and Gold now? I think it was a clever poly to get Qantas FF's to taste the Virgin experience rather than reward the loyal Virgin flyers (like me).

 

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