Virgin Australia’s new Canberra Airport lounge is now open, gracing the ‘west wing’ of the airport’s terminal with another contemporary lounge in its growing network.
A much-needed replacement for the old Virgin Blue bunker, the new lounge has room for 300 travellers and a panoramic view over the tarmac.
It looks even better of a night, if you’re on one of the half-dozen Virgin flights which leave of an evening.
As expected, it shares the same design DNA as Virgin’s other lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane (with Sydney heading in the same direction).
That includes a cluster of comfortable lounge chairs…
… a trendy bar area...
… the self-serve buffet with all-day barista service...
… and those snaking workbenches.
But there are a few new touches in the mix.
The workbenches now sport inbuilt USB sockets to charge up your smartphone or tablet, alongside the regular AC powerpoints.
Wooden dividers along some of the higher seating areas provide a bit more privacy while you work or eat, with more AC sockets within easy reach.
The new terminal itself boasts more checkin counters, a larger baggage carousel plus additional passenger screening areas, all so that you can spend less time in line and more time in the lounge.
And yes, the new terminal space also contains Virgin Australia’s invitation-only The Club lounge for Canberra’s politicians and powerbrokers.
The door, discretely marked ‘Private’, sits just off to the side of the main lounge’s entry, next to the self-checkin terminal.
Those who can’t get into The Club can grab a glimpse inside this haven for the well-heeled from the floor of the terminal itself, which affords a surprisingly open view up into the private lounge.
(And no, we're not going to make the obvious comment about The Club's VIP set looking down on the hoi polloi!)
The opening of the Canberra lounges is “a day I’ve been waiting for since the day I joined Virgin” says Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, seen below cutting into a Canberra Airport-shaped cake at the terminal's opening.
Borghetti is well aware of how vital these new lounges, and Virgin's business class flights, are to engaging the corporate travel cogs of Canberra.
“We are no longer an airline in transition for Sydney-Canberra, Melbourne-Canberra or indeed any route” he says.
“We now are an airline that has not only the best product in the sky, we also have quality first class facilities on the ground. This lounge by any measure is outstanding, the terminal and checkin is outstanding, and most importantly our staff is outstanding.”
With Virgin now offering business class across its entire Embraer E190 fleet plus smaller ATR turbo prop planes, “for the first time in over a decade Australians will have a choice when it comes to competition in business class travel in and out of the capital” a clearly chuffed Borghetti proclaims.
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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.