Virgin Australia's upgraded lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane airports will include dedicated security channels for the benefit of business travellers and frequent flyers.
In a presentation to the Macquarie Investor Conference today, Virgin Australia listed "Brisbane and Melbourne priority access lane" as enhancements to its ground operations.
The move follows the launch of an innovate and highly-praised 'fast track' system at Sydney Airport where premium passengers can go from kerbside valet arrival to a check-in desk, dedicated security channel and then walk straight into the lounge – a process we timed in under two minutes from kerb to couch.
Australia Business Traveller first revealed plans for Melbourne's dedicated in-lounge security channel last month, which will allow Virgin Australia passengers to move straight from the lounge to the boarding gate.
(Unlike most airport lounges, the Melbourne facility is located before the security checkpoint, so guests must currently exit the lounge and join the queue at the security gate before moving to the boarding gates inside Terminal 3.)
Both the Brisbane and Melbourne lounges are expected to open within the next two weeks following an extensive rebuild and will feature what Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti calls "an architecturally inspired design" created by Tim Greer, from Sydney-based Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects.
Food and drink services at the new Virgin Australia lounges are also being upgraded, with Aussie chef Luke Mangan taking on responsibility for ground catering as well as the new in-flight menu.
Australian Business Traveller has been told that Mangan’s lounge menu will change every month, and will also be rotated through each lounge so that travellers flying between Sydney and Melbourne for example won’t see the same meals at both ends of the journey.
New items will include ‘gourmet popcorn’ instead of the salt & vinegar chips, roast beef to replace the current ham and salami cuts, as well as a cheese selection and a new menu of spirits and possibly a ‘cocktail hour’ (which will hopefully last for a few hours).