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Virgin Australia rolls out in-lounge business class upgrades

By David Flynn     Filed under: upgrades, Virgin Australia, Velocity Frequent Flyer

Virgin Australia is now offering upgrades at its airport lounges, enabling travellers to bump up to business class shortly before their domestic flight.

The scheme, trialled in recent months in Virgin's Melbourne and Brisbane lounges, lets you use Velocity Frequent Flyer points or trade in one of the four Complimentary Fare Upgrades issued each year to Platinum members.

Requests can be made at the lounge's service desk through to 40 minutes before the flight, but you'll need to be booked on a Flexi-grade fare – the cheaper Saver Lite and Saver fares don't qualify.

That will cruel the deal for many travellers – on a Sydney-Perth flight the gap between the Saver and Flexi fares are typically $200 one-way, with Saver Lite at $239, Saver at $259 and Flexi at $439.

A points-based upgrade at the lounge will cost the same as if it was requested through Virgin Australia's call centre.

That works out at 9,900 points for sitting at the pointy end between Sydney and Perth; 7,400 points between Melbourne and Brisbane; and 4,900 points for the debatable benefits of an upgrade between Sydney and Melbourne.

In related news, Virgin Australia has also added the prestigious Langham hotels group to its Velocity partner program, with frequent flyers now able to earn Velocity points with every stay.

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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.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 28/6/13 by tronixstuff

Great news. After a few wines in the lounge it could be an easy temptation to upgrade oneself. 

1 on 28/6/13 by Al

I was thinking the very same thing myself, Tronix!

2 on 28/6/13 by sdwylie

This is a major gap-closer between Qantas and Virgin, and perfect timing as Qantas points are now worth a lot less to frequent flyers!

I feel some Virgin flight bookings coming on!

3 on 28/6/13 by KC

Have used this several times lately and love it!

Perfect for those times when you are feeling like a little more personal space onboard. And as I've noticed both service standards and food starting to improve it keeps the relaxation going after you've left the comfort of the lounge.

Just need to allow it from saver fares as well, even if it means more points used it is worth it.

1 on 28/6/13 by 444desiro

KC have you encountered any catering issues at all?

I flew J class a few times last year during the half-points upgrade campaign, on occasions when I changed flights at the airport catering was 'not gauranteed' and there was normally not enough meals on board. I accepted the risk in return for getting home early!

I assume this issue has been resolved/improved now and the catering is more flexible for late changes?

1 on 28/6/13 by KC

Not a problem once 444desiro, even had an option each time.

In chatting to the crew it seems that they load over the expected load automatically now, I think they said always 2 extra meals.

They also mentioned that the caterers now have the ability to load extra up to the 40 min cutoff.

But sometimes I'd risk the lack of food just to be able to stretch out and not have my travel companions elbows digging into me! And of course the ability to have a (real) glass of wine to help me unwind...

2 on 2/7/13 by Brett G

Took a fly ahead on business class from Perth to Sydney on Wednesday last week about 40 minutes before the flight. Because I got row 4 I didn't get my first meal choice, but the alternative was fantastic anyway. I've never had any catering issues yet...

But that said, virgin's A330 business class is just horrible. People should stick to economy and leave the business class seats for me. ;-)

 

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