Virgin Australia's Brisbane Airport lounge has come a long way since its 2003 debut as the 'Blue Room' – a reincarnation of the old Ansett Golden Wing lounge in then-Virgin Blue style – and now in its third Virgin rendition following substantial refurbishments in 2011 and again in 2015 to bring the space into Virgin Australia's modern style and palate.
The latest makeover also saw the lounge stretch out and over the Virgin Australia valet dome to provide seats for over 400 guests, new Premium Entry facilities and some tarmac views, which Australian Business Traveller observed on a recent visit to Brisbane Airport.
Location & Impressions
Located past security and near Gate 41, Virgin Australia's new Brisbane lounge carries the airline's most modern design with blasts of complementary colours... ... in a significant step up from the 2011 version of the lounge which was rightly described as 'clinical' and 'sterile' by many travellers thanks to a then-abundance of white walls, furniture and fittings.
The whites aren't completely gone but are more refined with nice touches like fresh flowers to break things up... ... joined by timber stripes at the main entrance... ... and the impressive skylight and coloured walls for guests using Premium Entry: Our only gripe? By nature of the terminal and road layout in Brisbane, the Premium Entry doors are quite inconvenient to access from the public and hire car drop-off roads, instead proving more useful for Virgin Australia valet parking customers who can pull up at the entrance – but still better to have them than not at all.
- Passengers flying onwards in Virgin Australia business class
- Gold and Platinum members of Velocity Frequent Flyer before or after their Virgin Australia flight or after a partner airline flight (including codeshare flights on Alliance Airlines)
- Paid-up Virgin Australia Lounge and Air New Zealand Koru members
- Silver Velocity frequent flyers plus American Express Velocity Platinum and Virgin Money High Flyer cardholders redeeming one of their yearly lounge passes
- American Express Platinum and Centurion charge card holders when flying with Virgin Australia
- Airberlin Topbonus Gold and Platinum
- Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One
- Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion
- Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum and Exclusive
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club
- South African Airways Voyager Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum
- Virgin America Elevate Gold
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold
- All other travellers who can redeem 10,000 Velocity points or pay $65 for a one-time visit
Business class passengers travelling with only carry-on luggage plus Velocity Gold and Platinum guests with the same can also make use of Premium Entry on weekdays... ... Virgin Australia's direct kerbside entrance with a private check-in room and concierge desk... ... leading through to an also-private security screening point before emerging straight into the lounge proper, without ever setting foot in the main terminal.
Frequent Virgin Australia travellers will find all of the usual staples here including fresh salads, breads and ingredients for ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches... ... hot soups during the day, snacks like chips and popcorn... ... and apples seemingly wherever you turn: Added to that, Virgin kicks things up a notch in (finally) offering more substantial dishes at meal times with eggs and bacon for breakfast and a very tasty chicken curry with rice during our evening visit: The more refined focus on food and beverage is echoed through a dedicated espresso and wine bar in the centre of the lounge – a concept originally debuted in Melbourne – but which has grown to comprise seating that's great for solo travellers... ... paired of course with finely-crafted barista coffee, complete with latte art and flavoured syrups (including caramel and vanilla) if that's what takes your fancy: During busy times the staff here can prepare up to 10 cups of coffee simultaneously, but if you can't wait there's a separate push-button coffee machine closer to the windows... ... plus red, white and sparkling wine that's usually self-service, both at the wine bar and over at the main buffet... ... while spirits which have traditionally been absent from Virgin Australia lounges continue to be so in Brisbane, with competitor Qantas offering these to all lounge-eligible domestic travellers and also mixes them into cocktails from time to time.
When it comes to work and productivity, Virgin Australia's Brisbane lounge – like the bulk of its domestic lounge network – ticks the basic boxes by offering defined space for travellers to work on their laptops... ... easy-access AC and USB charging facilities... ... a small business centre with Windows computers and printing/photocopying facilities... ... and wireless Internet which was more than usable, pulling down 15.39mbps and uploading 9.23mbps during our speed tests.
Although there's nice jazz music playing in the background plus several TVs throughout the lounge, we didn't find them loud enough or intrusive enough to interfere with our work, allowing some travellers to feel relaxed while others can continue to type away in comfort.
If your day has been a fruitful one, kick back with a refreshing drink near the windows with a partial view out onto the tarmac... ... take a shower in one of several private suites, located down a central corridor where you'll also find the main bathrooms... ... or indulge in a little reading material with magazines at the ready and thousands more titles available free via the PressReader smartphone and tablet app when connected to the lounge's WiFi network: When it's time to leave and board your flight, take that same bathroom corridor and hit the magic green button to exit the lounge... ... which saves trekking back to the entrance only to again walk in the same direction if your flight is departing from one of the satellite gates.
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