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Virgin Australia's new Perth Airport terminal, lounges open Nov 22

By David Flynn     Filed under: Perth Airport, Virgin Australia

The long wait is over for Virgin Australia, with the airline's shiny new terminal at Perth Airport opening on Sunday November 22nd, 2015.

Domestic travellers will find two new lounges plus a new fast-track check-in system with kiosks and bag-drop channels, plus be shorter transfer times to both regional WA and international flights.

Variously tagged as the T1 Domestic Terminal, T1 Domestic Pier and the Virgin Australia Pier, the airline's new home is an extension to the international T1 terminal.

The spacious and slick-looking terminal was built especially for Virgin and designed by Australian-based international architectural practice Woods Bagot, whose work will already be familiar to many frequent flyers via the Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, the Qantas Chairman's Lounges and the Qantas Business Lounge at LAX.

"This terminal is the centrepiece of our commitment to Western Australia and will deliver an outstanding travel experience for all of our customers," boosts Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti.

Perth Airport CEO Brad Geatches believes the terminal "sets a new standard of passenger experience in Australia."

"The contemporary design and use of glass allows expansive views across the airfield; we expect the new terminal will become a favourite viewing area for plane-spotters!"

Two Virgin Australia lounges

Open to business class travellers plus Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, Virgin's main Perth lounge follows the same contemporary design as its east coast siblings.

It will be slightly smaller than the airline's Brisbane Lounge (below) but feature hallmark touches such as an Espresso and Wine Bar, as well as great views.

There will also be a WA outpost of The Club, Virgin's exclusive invitation-only lounge for VIPs and influencers.

Read: Perks of 'The Club', Virgin Australia's secret VIP tier

New check-in system

The new terminal will also see the debut of a new check-in system which will later be extended to Virgin Australia's east coast hubs at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Travellers will be able to choose between computer-assisted check-in desks and familiar check-in kiosks, 28 in all, or a more ‘traditional’ check-in experience where everything is handled by staff.

“Our new check-in service will enable us to tailor the experience to the needs of different customers, combining cutting-edge technology with the personalised customer service for which Virgin Australia is renowned," Borghetti says.

“We believe the new Virgin Australia ground experience will raise the bar for airport services around Australia and help to ensure that Virgin Australia is the number one choice for travellers on the all-important trans-continental routes."

But Borghetti is quick to differentiate Virgin's system to that of Qantas.

"I think there are two extremes here" Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller last year, as the system was still in development.

"There's the old fashioned checkin where people line up in a Disneyland queue, and there's the other extreme of being fully automated, no humans, which arguably is the one Qantas uses."

"Some passengers actually want people to look after them, and some passengers don't want to talk to anybody, so one model doesn't fit all. What we believe is that neither of them are right and both of them are wrong," Borghetti suggests.

"What is right is something in the middle – but when it's in the middle you've also got to be able to flex it one way or the other depending on the port."

"And I think that's the mistake many airlines have made, they’ve either tried to force everybody up the technology path or stayed in the 1980s."

"What we're rolling out in Perth is something that is flexible and can cater to everybody’s needs."

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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 27/10/15 by Tom

Will be intresting to see the pictures of the new lounges, hopefully you guys can do a review for us! 

It will be intresting to see if the new lounges will top Qantas' lounge.

2 on 27/10/15 by Chris_PER

On a side note....telling a taxi driver to get to Terminal 1 domestic will be like getting blood out of a stone.

1 on 27/10/15 by Aubrey

It's just all T1. The taxi drop-off location hasn't changed (well when all the forecourt work has finished it won't have). It will be effectively right outside the Virgin check-in which is at the western end of the addtion to the original curved internaitonal bulding. Signage from the the landside will be T1, there's no differentiation between domestic and international from that perspective.

3 on 27/10/15 by Rod

I will be travelling Perth-Brisbane on 30th Nov VA " The Business" so am really looking forward to a double whammy of things " new " - the new Terminal and the new seats on the A330. . Should be a great flight!!

4 on 27/10/15 by Dave

I normally fly Qantas but switched my flights over to Perth at Christmas to Virgin to test out the new terminal. I am glad it is finally opening and looking forward to check it out

5 on 27/10/15 by Sim1

Does that mean the additional A380 gate that is kind of attached to new Pier will also be open.. or is that running already?

1 on 27/10/15 by Aubrey

It's not kinda attached, it is part of the new pier :-) It is also a swing gate; domestic or international. It will be operational from 22 Nov.

6 on 27/10/15 by Alexaqua

Well after just being burnt by Virgin for $3,000 worth of "refundable" business class airfares, it's sad for me to say I won't be having the pleasure ever of using their lounge.  Honestly Virgin needs to update its website, the fares should show credited to a travel acount to be used wihtin 12 months, not refunbdable.  COmplete joke at the end of the day and frankly I can say Qantas has given me a credit on non-refundable airfares.  Anyway, lesson learned.

1 on 27/10/15 by henrus

better now?

1 on 28/10/15 by Shoudy

This Perth Virgin Terminal sure looks better to me! 

Good thinking there henrus! :) 

2 on 28/10/15 by Alexaqua

Kinda.... I've transferred these tickets to a Sydney Perth return in November (which btw Virgin are doing at $1499 each way, so cheaper than the $1929 each way I've been paying each month with Qantas since Feb) and booked fully refundable business class tickets on Qantas to to a new destination for next year, so it has all worked out for me.  I had been thinking about testing the new Virgin business class seats so I'm just being forced into it sooner than I had planned. 

In all honesty Virgin has lost nothing with me not using them again, I use them (and their partner airlines) infrequently at best (probably only 5 flights during the last 3 years), so no big loss.  I had lodged a complaint with Virgin customer service and haven't heard a peep, they are probably thinking "another crazy moron" LOL

7 on 27/10/15 by Jess

Perth Airport is running a main trial of the new pier on Saturday 7 November, the public can sign up to be apart of it at the Perth Airport website. Should be good!

8 on 28/10/15 by Sitevisuals

You can watch a timelapse of construction of the new Virgin Terminal at

9 2 weeks, 3 days ago by Rod

I am staying in Perth on a 5 weeks visit to my sister, flying out VA 24th November to Brisbane. Yesterday I did a practice run to see how difficult/ easy it was to drive to the new T1 terminal. Very pleasantly surprised , it would have to be the easiest most straightforward drive to an airport I have ever done. Drive down Leach Hwy and it's virtually a straight line all the way to the new terminal and very good signage along the way. It's a real credit to the designers. Should be a nice experience for me, new terminal,new lounge and new A330 Business Class seats. Looking forward to it.

1 5 hours, 53 minutes ago by Rod

Did my VA Business Class flight on Nov 24th Perth- Brisbane. Love the new terminal , check in was a breeze and fast as well. The new Terminal is very spacious and very well set out . The Lounge is also wonderful in it's design and layout. However- the food needs a big upgrade , rather poor same old selections but the beverages were excellant. One huge let down is the presence of those FIFO's in there thongs , shorts and high viz jackets. I do realise most go straight to work after arrival but surely they could wear something better and get changed when they arrive. Several had removed their thongs and had their bare feet up on chairs opposite them  Very poor behaviour. I guess if the food was much better the FIFO's would arrive even earlier and eat the lot . They make a good effort as it is . The new seats on the A3330 are fabulous , one of the best I have used. The service from VA flight attendants is excellent. Overall the whole flight was about as good as I have ever had on many Business Class flight Internationally as well as Domestic. My verdict- 10/10 re the Terminal and the flight. Can't wait to fly with VA again.



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