Virgin Australia:

Virgin Australia: "no time limit" for new international lounges

UPDATE | Virgin Australia says it will not impose any time limit for passengers visiting its new international lounges at Sydney and Melbourne, over-ruling a statement made overnight by lounge operator No1 Lounges.

As reported earlier today, No1 Lounges spokesman Duncan Cargill said that Virgin's business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers would be allowed to stay in The House lounges at Sydney and Melbourne for only "four hours before (departure) - in line with Virgin Australia’s policy."

However, Virgin Australia spokeswoman Kieran Debney has since contacted Australian Business Traveller to advise that its passengers wouldn't see a countdown timer ticking away when they call into The House, nor at Brisbane's new My Lounge.

"We recommend guests arrive at the airport 120 minutes before their international flight departure. however guests who arrive early or have a long connection will be welcomed at our lounges" she confirmed.

This is in line with Virgin Australia's lounge access policy, which doesn't specify a limit on the length of a visit and states 'All you’ll need is your same-day boarding pass and Velocity membership card or lounge membership card to access lounges operated by our airline partners or third-party operators.'

PREVIOUS| Virgin Australia's new international lounges at Sydney and Melbourne will impose a four hour time limit on business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers.

The move will likely cause little inconvenience for the majority of passengers but could catch out transit passengers making connections from regional towns who will be faced with unavoidably long time before their international flight departs.

The House lounges at Sydney and Melbourne – which were both previously Etihad Airways lounges, and now serve as the home of Etihad as well as Virgin Australia – are managed by London-based No1 Lounges, and like many independent lounges imposes a standard three-hour time limit on how long guests can stay before their flight.

According to the terms and conditions listed on the No1 Lounges website,  "You can arrive three hours prior to your flight time. You can also buy extra hours in advance or while you're in the lounge – if your flight's delayed and you want to stay longer for example."

However, No1 Lounges spokesman Duncan Cargill told Australian Business Traveller that the time limit for Virgin Australia was "four hours before (departure) - in line with Virgin Australia’s policy."

It's not known if travellers who need a 4+ hour stay due to unavoidably long connection times would have to pay an additional fee.

Also yet to be revealed: if this same time limit will apply at Virgin Australia's new My Lounge, which will also be operated by No1 Lounges and is due to open later this year at Brisbane Airport international terminal.

Travellers on airlines other than Etihad and Virgin Australia will soon be able to visit The House by paying a flat rate, which is rumoured to be around $90 for a three hour period.

"We will announce a walk up rate when we launch this formally, in the near future," Cargill told Australian Business Traveller.

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.
 

40 comments

  • Matthew Skinner

    BRIS_VA_HAWK

    8 Nov, 2018 11:32 am

    So will it be 3 hours or 4 hours? The quote from Duncan Cargill says 4, but the T&Pc's say 3...
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  • tjworsley

    tjworsley

    8 Nov, 2018 11:33 am

    "You can also buy extra hours in advance or while you're in the lounge – if your flight's delayed and you want to stay longer for example." .. anyone else think that is just adding insult to injury? If I had something out of my control, like a flight delay, mean I went over, I sure as heck wouldn't be happy to be asked to pay to stay!
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    8 Nov, 2018 01:30 pm

    Yes, that's appalling. They can't possibly think that it's OK to say: "Sorry, your flight has been delayed for two hours. Please pay if you want to stay in the lounge for that extra time." !!!!!
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  • David Flynn

    David

    8 Nov, 2018 11:36 am

    The standard access for 'walk-in' passengers is three hours, across all No 1 lounges, but for The House and Virgin Australia passengers it's actually four hours. A reader flying with Virgin Australia reported being told of the three hour limit at The House Melbourne, which is why we sought clarification, and The House has confirmed four hours to us.
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  • SilverBromide

    SilverBromide

    8 Nov, 2018 11:39 am

    This is a slap in the face to Virgin Australia's most loyal customers. We knew that the Number One takeover would make the lounges worse, but to ask a top-teir frequent flyer or paid business passenger to pay for extra hours in the lounge? They have no shame.
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  • S

    S

    8 Nov, 2018 11:51 am

    Slap in the face!? That’s a bit much.
    How you could spend more than an hour or two in an airport lounge is beyond me.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    8 Nov, 2018 01:32 pm

    The issue is when a flight has been delayed. Then it's not your choice, it's just what the situation is. But to suggest passengers should be charged extra if their flight is delayed is insulting.
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  • SilverBromide

    SilverBromide

    8 Nov, 2018 06:19 pm

    The fact of the airport lounge is irrelevant. When Virgin says to a passenger that they must pay for more lounge time, they're saying that our custom isn't worth the pittance it would cost them. That's a slap in the face.
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    8 Nov, 2018 08:23 pm

    Can happen. QF1 once hit a problem at Dubai. 7 hour delay. Thank goodness for lounge access with Emirates
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  • Anna80

    Anna80

    8 Nov, 2018 11:40 am

    Would anybody really want to spend three or four hours in one of these lounges?
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    8 Nov, 2018 11:55 am

    It's more about people with long connections, it's either the Lounge or hanging around in the general terminal space.
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  • Jordan Rowland

    thegurio

    9 Nov, 2018 09:12 am

    Or people from other pets than the main capital cities - and I include HBA in that - with awful long connections...
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  • RTWFF

    RTWFF

    8 Nov, 2018 11:42 am

    What happens when the flight is delayed?
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    8 Nov, 2018 11:58 am

    I'd say all it means is that entry isn't permitted until 4 hours before the scheduled departure time.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    8 Nov, 2018 01:33 pm

    And if your reach the four hour limit because of the delay, they expect you to pay to stay in there beyond that!!
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  • QFP1

    QFP1

    8 Nov, 2018 12:01 pm

    Nobody wants to spend 3-4 hours in a lounge but some of us don't have any choice based on where we live and how long the connection will be. And out of Sydney for example VA83 to HKG is regularly late. I'm sure the lounge staff won't be walking around with an EFTPOS terminal, checking boarding passes and collecting an extra $20 or whatever because we have exceeded our time limit, but the very fact there is this imposed time limit is just unnecessary and makes the airline look cheap. No need for a time limit at all, nobody would want to stay in the lounge more than 90 minutes if they had a choice, but not everyone has a choice!
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  • Dan Ho

    djtech

    8 Nov, 2018 04:12 pm

    I agree. How are they able to enforce us to stay 4 hours or less in the lounge if the flight is delayed?
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  • Dave

    Grannular

    8 Nov, 2018 12:15 pm

    Surely if you are in the lounge and your Virgin flight is delayed so long that your stay exceeds 4 hours in the lounge, it should be Virgin paying for the lounge time extension and not the inconvenienced passenger.
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  • GB18

    GB18

    8 Nov, 2018 12:26 pm

    Most recently I think about the near 6 hours I spent at LAX in the Emirates lounge prior to a VA2 flight home I headed to the airport earlier than I normally would to allow for Los Angeles’s traffic, TBIT security lines which were better than usual and because I had nothing else to do in LA at 5pm then my flight back to Sydney was delayed.

    As a Newcastle resident I also often weigh up a 2+ hour drive to Sydney international or flying from Newcastle to Brisbane and having a long connection instead.

    In both cases I wouldn’t appreciate having to pay for longer use of a glorified buffet and average WiFi when I have Gold/Platinum status or if I’ve paid for Business.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    8 Nov, 2018 01:02 pm

    Apart from some, but not most, transitting passengers, this seems fairly innocuous given check-in rarely opens more than 3 hours before scheduled departure for international flights on all airlines. I flew F with QF a few months ago and was firmly told the day before on the phone that if I arrived more than 3 hours before departure, I was welcome to wait in the check-in suite but would not be checked in.

    Delays may be an issue but my experience is that most lounges, including paid lounges, take a fairly commonsense approach here. As has been stated, if it is an issue you'd hope the airline is working it out with the lounge directly.

    Personally, anything over 2 hours in a lounge sends me a bit stir-crazy. I had to spend 4 hours in the EK DXB lounge earlier this year and was very fractious by the end. The only reason I stayed in the lounge was DXB is such a zoo; had it been SIN, I have left hours earlier.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    8 Nov, 2018 07:24 pm

    The four rule most affects transiting passengers as they are the ones most likely to be affected due to poor connections which is in my experience very common and so a lounge is much better than the terminal area which I had to endure recently. Sunday’s are not good days for reasonable connections.
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  • Ross  Anderson

    serfty

    8 Nov, 2018 01:11 pm

    There is a report from a week ago from a reliable source who was asked to pay $25 per extra hour because they had arrived at the lounge more than three hours before their flight from Melbourne. At the time this was "confirmed" by lounge management - however due to their eftpos being down, a 'one time' courtesy was given.

    Given this further clarification, I suspect some re-evaluation has been undertaken.
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  • booyeahsydney

    booyeahsydney

    8 Nov, 2018 01:28 pm

    isnt the main point of flying business class/having status, the certainty of knowing that you have the lounge, especially if the flight is delayed? People dont generally turn up several hours before flights just to take advantage of the free booze (well, maybe if you had lounge access you would turn up an hour or 2 earlier than you otherwise would), but is there really an issue of freeloaders just grazing on free food and booze all day?
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  • Aspire4platinum

    Aspire4platinum

    8 Nov, 2018 02:13 pm

    The rumour is that VA have bought bracelets which you don as you enter (either on your wrist or ankle) these lounges. At 4 hours you get haptic feed, then 15 minutes later if you still havent paid a siren goes off ....

    As a region based platinum on VA who connects to SQ flights with >4h waits, I wrote about this to VA CEO & COO when time limits were mooted in an article on AusBT. Clearly fallen on deaf ears.....
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  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    8 Nov, 2018 02:56 pm

    VA truly do not value high yield passengers or top tier frequent flyers. With all the changes that have taken place over the past few months they are not much better than Jetstar.
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  • Tony D

    StarTeam

    8 Nov, 2018 03:45 pm

    Jet Airways' Bombay Lounge has a 4 hour limit imposed, even for Etihad The Residence/First Class passenger connecting at BOM. I found that rule utterly inconvenient.
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  • Joe

    Joe

    8 Nov, 2018 04:43 pm

    What do you expect from a 'lipstick-on-a-pig' LCC(low cost carrier)? You all act surprised and disappointed?
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  • Mike K

    Mjkcan

    8 Nov, 2018 06:15 pm

    Will KrisFlyer Gold members flying on VA to LAX or HKG in Y or PE get access to this lounge?
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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    8 Nov, 2018 06:43 pm

    Everytime you think VA takes one step in the right direction, they then go and take 2 steps back...
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  • David Flynn

    David

    8 Nov, 2018 06:53 pm

    Please note that this article has since been updated based on comments from Virgin Australia, with the airline nixing the claimed 4hr limit by lounge operator No1 Lounges and saying there will be no time limit for passengers visiting its new international lounges.
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    highflyer

  • Dan Ho

    djtech

    8 Nov, 2018 07:21 pm

    Glad to see Virgin not being so cheap. Didn't know how they would enforce the rules anyways.
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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    8 Nov, 2018 07:29 pm

    Another backflip from VA... seems to be a trend with them lately... at least it seems that they listen to the masses when there is outrage...
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    DownSouth

  • Lachlan Burnet

    Lachlan72

    8 Nov, 2018 07:49 pm

    I understand people saying that they couldn't spend more than 2 hours in a lounge but for me, I actually find it advantageous. Sometimes I'll get to the airport really early as I can be so much more productive in a quiet "office like" part of the lounge and get so much more work done - without being distracted by co-workers and phone interruptions. Plus, I don't need to leave "the office" to find a bite to eat. ;-) Personally, time in the lounge is where I get ahead and on top of things work-wise. I love it.
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  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    9 Nov, 2018 09:52 am

    Yes, agree. Sometimes I find I'm much more productive just before a flight in the lounge.
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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    8 Nov, 2018 08:07 pm

    I see that VA has said no time limit but how would the lounge operator know how long a person has been in the lounge.
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  • QFP1

    QFP1

    8 Nov, 2018 08:12 pm

    Thanks AusBT for being on top of this and sorting it out!
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  • RTWFF

    RTWFF

    9 Nov, 2018 09:58 am

    According to Virgin’s web site, check-in opens only two hours before “international short haul” so unless someone is transiting they’re unlikely to exceed the limit for most flight
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  • gjspectre

    gjspectre

    9 Nov, 2018 12:06 pm

    Next thing we will hear is Virgin bringing the time limit back........except if your a veteran
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  • RTWFF

    RTWFF

    11 Nov, 2018 08:24 am

    Currently in The House. I can see why they want to impose a time limit. WiFi is woeful and still can’t find the bedroom (what’s a house without bedrooms?)
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  • John Ruming

    jcr737

    11 Nov, 2018 08:55 am

    Virgin Australia...“yeah, no”.
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16 Nov, 2018 02:28 am

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