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Virgin Australia takes on Qantas with invitation-only Club lounge

By David Flynn     Filed under: invitation only, airport lounges, Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Lounge

Virgin Australia has shot another arrow at the heart of Qantas with the opening of its first invitation-only lounge, dubbed 'The Club', at Sydney airport.

The exclusive loung is located upstairs from the main Virgin Australia lounge and is restricted to Virgin's most highly-valued passengers – including politicians, A-list celebrities and the upper ranks of Australia's largest companies, especially those who shovel a substantial amount of their travel budget towards the airline.

Virgin has since cut the ribbon on The Club at its home base of Brisbane, with similar elite lounges slated for Melbourne, Perth and Canberra, the later as part of Canberra Airport's all-new terminal extension due to open next year.

Chasing the Chairman's Lounge crowd

Previously codenamed 'Invite+', The Club goes up against the Qantas Chairman's Lounge as Virgin Australia's latest effort to snare a larger slice of Australia's high-end government and corporate travel market.

Also in keeping with the Qantas Chairman's Lounge playbook – a book which Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti wrote during his time as one of The Red Roo's most senior executives – guests at the invitation-only lounge will enjoy "premium guest services".

Earlier this year Borghetti revealed to Australian Business Traveller his plans for a Concierge service intended for the crème de la crème of Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyers, saying it's for "certain – obviously high-status – people."

"There'll be someone meeting and greeting you on arrival at the terminal and taking you through. It's to make sure the experience through the airport is all fine. And if there's any issues you need help with, well, that's what they're there for."

When approached by Australian Business Traveller a Virgin Australia spokeswoman declined to comment on The Club.

Meanwhile, we're told the rest of the Sydney lounge will also be shifted into the renovated upper level in the very near future, to allow for an extensive make-over to proceed on the lower level so that the somewhat tatty facility can be transformed into Virgin Australia's flagship lounge.

What's that? You'd like a peek inside the Qantas Chairman's Lounge? Here's one shot to whet your appetite, and you'll find plenty more here...

For the very latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers, tune into @AusBT on Twitter.


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 2/8/12 by Southland

Good on you Virgin. You have my business and my loyalty. Qantas International see you in the Smithsonian Museum. Another great reason to move to Virgin. Lower Business fares thanks. Status match Thanks. Better lounges (yes QF has lifted thier service) thanks. OTP war Thanks. Best airline Thanks. Best service Thanks. Happy little camper THANKS

1 on 4/8/12 by mitchimus

think we are lucky in Aus to have 2 great domestic airlines. Virgin lounges not up to Qantas lounges yet.

2 on 2/8/12 by here2go

I hope DJ expand their service for Gold and higher flyers elsewhere in Australia too.  Even a coffee voucher for those waiting in DRW to board their redeye, until the DJ lounge is built would be appreciated.

1 on 2/8/12 by tronixstuff

Great idea :) I'll second that for NTL. 

2 on 4/8/12 by David

Have you seen AirNZ's Koru Express mini-lounge? It's a top idea, very applicable to airports that don't yet have a fully-fledged lounge (or might never be able to justify one).

1 on 4/8/12 by here2go

I totally agree.  DJ needs something like this in DRW ASAP.  However, to compete with QF up here long term, especially when waiting for a red eye, a lounge is infinitely more attractive!

3 on 2/8/12 by aero-seat

Interesting! This is a great choice to conquer Qantas. Excellent move! "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," it is a great way to reward those high-valued passengers. This way attracts attention, people seeing celebrities on planes (if they're not on their own private jet).

I have been informed that the current Virgin Australia lounge in Canberra will switch to mostly The Club due to the limited Business Class seats caused by the airline's decision to switch to ATR72-500 aircraft.


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