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...
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.