Virgin Australia Gold Coast Airport lounge

Review: Virgin Australia Gold Coast Airport lounge

Country:
Australia
City:
Gold Coast
Airport:
Gold Coast
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
None
Airline:
VA (Virgin Australia)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Tarmac views, natural light
  • Lengthy door list, plus an option for paid access
  • All-day barista coffee, bar service from 11am

What's Not

  • Painfully slow WiFi
  • No access when flying with VA partner Hong Kong Airlines

X-Factor

  • Shared by both domestic and international passengers

Introduction

Virgin Australia's Gold Coast Airport lounge offers many of the amenities you'd expect at much larger airports: but tweaked to suit a smaller space, with seating for up to 135 passengers.

Positioned in the airport's domestic zone, it's accessible to both domestic and international flyers – those heading overseas just complete a second round of security screening and clear passport control en route to their international boarding gate, similar to the process in Canberra and Adelaide.

Australian Business Traveller stopped by the 2018 Commonwealth Games' host city to bring you this review.

Location & Impressions

After clearing security (and using the priority lane if you're in business class or a Velocity Gold or Platinum member), turn left and continue walking to the far end of the terminal, near Gate 1 and 2, to find the Virgin Australia lounge.

As the lounge is located directly next to two boarding gates used by Tigerair (on which passengers do not enjoy lounge privileges), there are often large volumes of people sitting and standing in the areas directly surrounding the entrance, which you'll need to dodge to get through.

It also explains why Virgin Australia has installed barriers around its exterior lounge walls, to keep people from using this area as a waiting zone!

Once you've escaped the airport crowds, you can admit yourself via the self-service access point – particularly handy during busy times – or see the friendly staff at reception.

The lounge proper is located on the level above, which can be accessed using stairs or a lift...

... which both have you emerging in a 'short stay' area with a few tables and chairs nearby the bathrooms and exits...

... with the main lounge space just around the corner:

There's plenty of natural light here, courtesy of tarmac-facing windows...

... with the overall look and feel of the space very familiar to Virgin Australia's other domestic lounges.

Access

  • Virgin Australia business class passengers before or after their Virgin Australia domestic or international flight
  • Velocity Gold and Platinum members with a same-day Virgin Australia domestic or international flight (access on departure and on arrival), and before Air New Zealand international flights from the Gold Coast
  • Paid-up Virgin Australia Lounge and Air New Zealand Koru members travelling with Virgin Australia or Air New Zealand
  • Silver Velocity frequent flyers plus American Express Velocity Platinum, American Express Velocity Business, ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures and Virgin Money High Flyer cardholders redeeming one of their yearly lounge passes
  • American Express Platinum, American Express Business Platinum and AMEX Centurion charge card holders when flying with Virgin Australia
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints Gold, Elite and Elite Priority One
  • Alitalia Millemiglia Freccia Alata, Freccia Alata Plus and Freccia Alata Plus Per Sempre Club
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion, plus Delta Sky Club members
  • Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum and Exclusive
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Gold, PPS Club, Solitaire PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club Life
  • South African Airways Voyager Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold

Not covered by that incredibly extensive list? Access can also be purchased for $65 or 10,000 Velocity points for a one-time visit when travelling with Virgin Australia: but with some domestic business class upgrades available for fewer points which also include lounge access, consider this path before spending your points on a lounge pass.

However, note that business class passengers of Hong Kong Airlines – a Virgin Australia partner which flies from the Gold Coast – have no access to this lounge, nor do Velocity Gold or Platinum frequent flyers when travelling with the same: for now, at least.

Star Alliance Gold members, other than Air New Zealand Airpoints members, also have no access to this lounge when departing on Air New Zealand (Star Alliance) flights.

Dining

As this lounge is relatively small compared to its more popular cousin in Brisbane – where the airport terminal building had to be expanded to accommodate more seats – the design here makes best use of the space available without skimping on the usual features.

For instance, the buffet counters here are noticeably curved to create more surface area for nibbles and more room for travellers to approach during busy times...

... while still accommodating favourites like all-day barista coffee...

... and a sandwich toaster:

Our morning visits to the lounge found standard breakfast options of ham, cheese and tomato available for toasting, plus a selection of yoghurts, fruits, salad, eggs and sauces...

... along with made-to-order pancakes, fruit juices...

... cereals, and other hot breakfast items, which were still in ample quantities towards the end of the morning.

Alcohol is available from 11am – one hour earlier than the noon opening of the Qantas Club bar on the Gold Coast – but with the noticeable absence of spirits: favouring beer, wine and cider instead.

At breakfast time, however, a freshly-made latte is always preferred:

We found the food and beverage staff here to be friendly, and were accommodating when we had to ask for more bread, ham and a knife to make a toasted sandwich, as a busy period in the lounge had caused these items to run empty in quick succession.

Work

Business travellers with work to accomplish will likely gravitate to the dedicated 'business zone': fortunately located in the far corner of the space where the atmosphere tends to be quieter.

Computers, printing and photocopying facilities are available here...

... while several benches stand ready for laptop work:

AC power points are accessible from many of the seats...

... but, here's a tip: if you specifically need USB power, or the lounge is busy and you don't want to hog an AC plug just to charge your smartphone, look for a spot near one of the wider power banks: these feature two USB charging ports in addition to the AC outlets, which keeps everybody happy:

Some of the other seats throughout the lounge also offer access to power – particularly those lining the walls, albeit a single AC plug at each location:

Wireless Internet access is available here, but we found speeds ranging from rather slow to downright unusable.

A visit on a quiet Tuesday morning – where we were one of only several passengers in the lounge – found download speeds of 1.8Mbps, uploads of 1.7Mbps and ping speeds of 36ms, which is particularly unhurried, but still functional.

We returned on a much busier Sunday morning, and with the lounge at around 60-70% of capacity, the wireless network was so jammed that it took 10 minutes just to load the WiFi login page: at which point, we simply gave up.

It's not that all of the passengers outside in the terminal were pilfering bandwidth – the network is password-protected, after all – it's that the connection itself is too slow for its purpose, and in a lounge catering to both domestic and international passengers, a functional Internet connection surely isn't too much of an ask.

Relax

Without a good WiFi service, you can pass the time before your flight in one of many comfy chairs, some offering leg rests, with a variety of reading material available, and a TV close by.

Particularly useful before evening flights or international services are shower facilities, with all amenities provided – including separate shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, which isn't the case in many competing Qantas Club lounges where only a single 'shampoo shower soap' is offered.

Just keep in mind that when travelling abroad, you'll need to allow plenty of time to complete a second round of security checks, passport control formalities and to lodge any TRS claims, if applicable, before boarding your flight.

We were travelling to Hong Kong on Hong Kong Airlines' morning departure (with Virgin Australia lounge access by special arrangement), and were through to the international zone within five minutes: but the lounge staff here suggest allowing 20-30 minutes to be safe, particularly before trans-Tasman flights where many more people are heading through at the same time.

Overall, with many of the same facilities as we'd expect of much larger capital city lounges, Virgin Australia's Gold Coast lounge is a pleasant place to await your flight – but working WiFi would be a welcome fix.

Chris Chamberlin visited the lounge a guest of Virgin Australia.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

19 comments

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    18 Oct, 2017 07:08 am

    I've been using that lounge solidly for 6 years now and can confirm your comments on the wifi, quite frankly embarrassing to be so poor for so long.
    No member give thanks

  • henrus

    henrus

    18 Oct, 2017 11:00 am

    I think the WiFi issue is a problem in every Virgin Australia lounge around Australia.

    I flew up to Cairns a few weekends ago and in the Brisbane Lounge on a Friday afternoon there were many hotspots including one named "Virgin Lounge WiFi is terrible".

    Meanwhile, in Cairns on a Sunday afternoon return, there were around 5-10 people in the lounge but it could hardly reach 1mbps in a speedtest.
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    18 Oct, 2017 07:28 am

    The lounge can get busy but, compared with the chaos of the general terminal area which flows terribly, it is paradise.


    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    18 Oct, 2017 09:13 am

    Passing through security at the Gold Coast airport can be one of the worst experiences at peak times, whether your a Qantas Gold or higher / Virgin Gold or higher frequent flyer. People think your pushing in line and have a crack. I hate to see what it's going to be like when the games are on.

    The general staff at the Virgin lounge are great, they go out of there way to help. The 2 managers can be a bit snobbish unless they recognise your face. A few friends comment to me about this, even one day in Sydney while waiting for my car to get serviced my mechanics wife started complaining about her experiences at the lounge (they live on the Gold Coast and work in Sydney).
    I shouldn't complain Qantas staff can be unfriendly at the Gold Coast as well, when the rip the Virgin ticket that you arrived with out of your pocket and then you have to explain your flying back with Qantas.
    No member give thanks

  • Darren

    DGP

    18 Oct, 2017 09:34 am

    This is a great little lounge. What I find strange and very typical of VA is that Hong Kong Airlines passengers don't get to use the lounge. Hong Kong Airlines is part of HNA which is a major shareholder in VA. They are practically related airlines now.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 Oct, 2017 10:16 am

    I'm hoping that comes in the next stage of the partnership, although in lieu of lounge access, Hong Kong Airlines provides 2x$15 meal vouchers to business class passengers out of the Gold Coast, which I found more than ample for an Eggs Bene, latte, bottle of water and a protein ball at one of the cafes in the domestic zone on my flight last week... so provided you haven't arrived the full three hours early, by the time you've ordered and eaten, it's basically time to head through to international.

    Wasn't a bad way to start the day, actually!
    Member who gave thanks

    DGP

  • Alex

    tm_smile

    18 Oct, 2017 11:06 am

    All part of the Russian roulette of VA lounge access...
    No member give thanks

  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    18 Oct, 2017 10:51 am

    QF lounges are far superior to VA. Further VA do not value or recognise Platnium or Business class passengers and until they do I will stay with QF. VA are still stuck in the cycle of a low cost carrier with some small value adds. Keep trying VA
    No member give thanks

  • stredinnick

    stredinnick

    18 Oct, 2017 11:38 am

    I really can't agree. VA do a good job so unsure of how much more pampering and jollies you expect should be handed out. One think I enjoy about VA compared to QF is less 'uppity' types in general and guaranteed points upgrades, rather than the QF lottery. As for the GC lounge, I always find the staff are good here. Occassionally amusing to watch some pax who will leave it as late as possible to leave the lounge - only just beating the manifest-bearer to the door.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex

    tm_smile

    18 Oct, 2017 12:18 pm

    In terms of substance, I think QF lounges are better. VA lounges for me are more like nicer terminal spaces with basic food and drinks. I never feel fully comfortable in a VA lounge. In saying that, there are a few terrible QF lounges in the system.

    The biggest problem I have with VA is managing expectations. For me, they seem to over promise and under deliver. I'd rather they didn't promise so much to build up expectations. Despite how much they hype their product, economy is a step above JQ (but at QF prices).
    No member give thanks

  • Cheyne Jonstone

    cheynejonstone

    21 Oct, 2017 10:27 pm

    I find VA lounges better by far, and I've used both extensively. I also find the cabin crew on VA flights are loads friendly and more attentive than those in QF. It does help that quite a few VA cabin crew now recognise me (and vice versa) because I see them so often.
    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    18 Oct, 2017 12:21 pm

    I don't mind the VA lounges, they have better beer selection than QF and their food is on par. They just need to fix their in flight catering in Y. Shocking to say the least.
    No member give thanks

  • mo

    mo

    18 Oct, 2017 02:51 pm

    VA lounges are passable compared to the general hubbub of the terminal but the WiFi is shockingly terrible and the absence of any mixed drinks makes the hospitality seem like a cheap facade. Would it really kill them to offer some basics?
    No member give thanks

  • Fred Seitzinger

    Cruise2097

    18 Oct, 2017 02:55 pm

    Very recently used this lounge for the first time, as always great service and a lovely retreat from the crowds.YEs it is a bit awkard to get through the Tiger air crowds.
    We love Velocity , they have looked after us very well over. Many years, even though we are not huge frequent flyers.Currently Platinum.
    No member give thanks

  • Jazzop

    Jazzop

    18 Oct, 2017 03:52 pm

    My home lounge with VA. I don't know when Chris flew... but I've never seen it so empty! Be there at 6.30am in the morning and then write your review... it gets cramped!
    But, the coffee is good and the staff are great.

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 Oct, 2017 04:11 pm

    Hi Jazzop, as a rule, we don't photograph other passengers on flights or guests in lounges for privacy reasons (and when this is unavoidable, we either shoot from a distance or pixelate faces in Photoshop), so most of the photos you see in reviews are taken when it's quiet (where possible), because it's much easier to photograph the space.

    In this particular case, however, we were a bit lucky - we flew out on a Tuesday morning, and by chance, it happened to be quiet when we visited. We actually thought the lounge would be rather busy on the Tuesday and hard to photograph because of that, so we'd also arranged access again on a Sunday morning after the flight home. Sunday was much busier (as noted in our review), but we still had no problems finding a seat, and it took only a couple of minutes to get a coffee, so while we'd always prefer a quieter lounge, the space was still functional nonetheless (except for the WiFi!).
    No member give thanks

  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    18 Oct, 2017 04:51 pm

    Another excellent review by Chris: well done with detail such as where to charge one's smartphone.

    Is the poor WiFi speed at this and other VA lounges the airline's fault for being stingy in the plan it negotiates, or providers such as Telstra's fault for having insufficient bandwidth available?

    Or is it merely a function of the amount of nearby glass and steel? I have a relative who works in an inner city suburb of a major capital city, and he cannot call or even text me from inside his two storey office building because of the alleged demands on Telstra's equipment.
    No member give thanks

  • Cheyne Jonstone

    cheynejonstone

    21 Oct, 2017 10:24 pm

    I'm certain I read somewhere in recent months that VA's wifi is done through a deal with Optus. If so, it's a good thing Optus are not putting their name to it because it definitely is terrible no matter which lounge you use.
    No member give thanks

  • Rohit

    Rohit

    19 Oct, 2017 02:51 pm

    To massage the point on wifi a bit more, in the last 3 months, I have accessed, VA lounges at BNE, CNS, MEL & SYD (multiple times) and the wifi at all of these venues have struggled to go north of 2mbps, which as many have already said, is shameful, to say the least. To make matter worse, Syd & Mel in particular were so overcrowded, I was running for the exits few minutes in.

    One positive was my experience at the BNE lounge, you folks in BrisVegas are lucky to have a nice lounge, leaves the one in Syd for dead.

    I am not sure how ppl flying J on Hong Kong Airlines would feel accessing such a sub standard lounge at OOL.

    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Jul, 2019 01:18 pm

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×

Resend activation email

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

×