Virgin Australia trials 'grab and go' airport lounge breakfasts

Virgin Australia trials 'grab and go' airport lounge breakfasts

EXCLUSIVE | Virgin Australia will offer 'Grab & Go' meals at its Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lounges, allowing passengers to quickly bundle up a light breakfast or brunch to bring on board their flight.

The concept will be introduced today, Wednesday December 6, and run through to March 2018 as a three-month trial of the concept.

However, the airline says this will not result in changes to either the regular lounge menu nor inflight meals.

From when the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lounges open until 10.30am, travellers will be able to grab a take-away espresso coffee and a breakfast item such as a muffin, pastry or a piece of fruit, from a 'Grab & Go' station, stow them into a small carry bag and head to their flight.

If you'd rather a travel-friendly toastie, there'll also be a toasted sandwich station with grease-proof paper bags to take away.

Virgin predicts the concept will be particularly convenient for business travellers who don't have much time to spend in the lounge before their flight.

"We know that sometimes our guests are in a hurry in the morning and don’t have time to spend in the lounge before their flight," says Virgin Australia's General Manager for Inflight Experience, Tash Tobias. "So we’ve come up with a way that guests can have their coffee and favourite breakfast items from the lounge, and still make their flight."

Grab-and-go lounge meals was one of several ideas floated by the airline to in July 2017 to a series of focus groups on Virgin's meal and drink service.

Other options discussed, and potentially still to be rolled out by Virgin, included more substantial 'complimentary snacks' for economy class passengers and the introduction of buying meals and snacks from kiosks at the departure gate, in partnership with airport retail outlets such as Sumo Salad.

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

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.
 

26 Comments

  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    6 Dec, 2017 01:01 am

    Budget Airline?
    Member who gave thanks

    grumpytravel

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    6 Dec, 2017 08:32 am

    In what way, Matt? Cathay Pacific has a 'grab and go' arrangement at what it calls The Pantry at its Pier lounges in Hong Kong and also in London, and I think you will see that CX is not a 'budget airline'.
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  • deany83

    deany83

    6 Dec, 2017 10:05 am

    Yes but Cathay gives you more than a snack onboard
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    6 Dec, 2017 08:38 am

    A few early comments once again over-reacting without thinking this through. VA says no cuts to lounge meals or inflight meals so this is an addition to the current service offering, which no doubt some people will find useful. How many people remains to be seen, one reason why this is a 'trial'. Agree that juggling a take-away container with a snack and coffee along with your bag and boarding pass and phone while trying to navigate narrow aisles and trying to put your bag in the overhead locker could lead some some coffee spills though.
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  • Russjking

    Russjking

    6 Dec, 2017 01:10 am

    Oh no, a recipe for disaster!
    Boarding is fraught with hassles: narrow aisles, bags being tossed around, drinks placed on seats whilst bags are sorted then being knocked over....
    I have become almost exclusively VA since they introduced Economy-X but the risks of arriving with coffee and marmalade sandwiches is not a good look except for Paddington Bear.
    Hello Qantas, missed you!
    No member give thanks

  • rencontre

    rencontre

    6 Dec, 2017 01:23 am

    Calm down doomsayers.....its a "trial" lol

    And I thought pax were already permitted to bring their own hot beverages onboard, no? Have yet to hear of any horror scalding stories
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  • Steve987

    Steve987

    6 Dec, 2017 06:36 am

    Lipstick on a pig me thinks. A “trial” of something already permitted and done by many due to lousy on board catering. Grease proof bags are a nice touch though.
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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    6 Dec, 2017 08:43 am

    Hey wasn't it Qantas that introduced takeaway coffee "Doomsdayers" Let's bash someone for trying to push forward

    No member give thanks

  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    6 Dec, 2017 09:24 am

    I have a strong preference for Qantas, but this sounds like a great idea if it is in addition to their existing offering. Especially for those trips where you want to pretty much walk straight on the plane - go grab a small bag of food and coffee.
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  • silvyvc

    silvyvc

    6 Dec, 2017 09:43 am

    That sounds like an interesting idea; however, it concerns me the amount of waste that the takeaway cups will produce. If VA comes up with something about it, it will be a winning idea.
    No member give thanks

  • plutekplutek

    plutekplutek

    6 Dec, 2017 10:21 am

    How about improving the on-board catering instead ?
    Members who gave thanks

    wdeguara, BJ01, Sanderoonie

  • damien

    damien

    6 Dec, 2017 10:59 am

    They're gearing this offer to Gold and Platinums as access is presided you have lounge access. I think it's clever. Will lead to a small increase in costs due to more items getting used but not a huge investment from their end.
    No member give thanks

  • apacau

    apacau

    6 Dec, 2017 10:56 am

    This was in the BNE lounge this morning - muffins, fruit etc. all in addition to the existing lounge and on board offering.

    I didn’t take anything but as an additional option for lounge users, I think it’s a great idea. I would think for people about to take a longer flight (PER, DRW etc) this would be a great way to pick up a tasty additional inflight snack!
    No member give thanks

  • grumpytravel

    grumpytravel

    6 Dec, 2017 11:05 am

    More re-arranging of deck chairs on the Titanic!
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  • TheBigM

    TheBigM

    6 Dec, 2017 11:26 am

    Username checks out.
    Members who gave thanks

    David, rod102, deegee93

  • sgb

    sgb

    6 Dec, 2017 11:12 am

    Grease proof bags, yikes, they don't go well with suits or decent clothing. Can you imagine the smells permeating the cabin with this trial and all the butter trails. No thanks. Keep toasties in the lounge.
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    6 Dec, 2017 11:28 am

    Haha now I’ve heard it all!
    The negative comments above don’t display any sense. It’s a trail, it’s an improvement, it won’t be used by all, it’s prob only going to be used by a few passengers on any given flight you would think, changing airlines because someone is in possession of a toasted sandwich or coffee please.
    These are other worldly issues that would warrant negativity, this isn’t one.
    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    6 Dec, 2017 01:55 pm

    It only takes one toastie in that butter dripping so called grease proof bag to ruin an entire flight. As for an improvement, I find that very hard to believe.
    No member give thanks

  • Daniel Mulhern

    danmuli

    6 Dec, 2017 05:34 pm

    The person next to you cold spill a coffee on you as it is today from the coffee provided on board. How is this any different? Calm your farm.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • Charles

    SteveCF

    6 Dec, 2017 12:27 pm

    Interesting move by VA. Mainly from the perspective that it's kind of communicating that they're inflight service isn't sufficient.
    Virgin are correct that in the morning lounge visits can be very brief, Usually I only have time to grab a coffee then I'm off to board drinking on the go, but at least with Qantas you get a breakfast.
    Virgin could be viewed as communicating 'you better get something now because you won't on you're flight'.
    Virgin have done a great job to get where they are, but they're just not quite there as a full service airline.
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    6 Dec, 2017 12:40 pm

    If they're now doing takeaway coffee, they'd better get some more baristas. Every time I fly out of Brisbane in the mornings when it's busy, the time it takes to order and receive one coffee can be up to 25 minutes, because VA has only one barista counter for all pax. By comparison, Qantas has up to four counters going at the same time in the same airport: two in the business class lounge, another in the Qantas Club, and another set up at the top of the escalators from the premium entry thing.

    Melbourne can have a bit of a queue too, but doesn't seem to be as bad as Brisbane.
    No member give thanks

  • mo

    mo

    6 Dec, 2017 01:45 pm

    This seems surprisingly sensible. Everyone knows that on-board catering is pretty lousy on Virgin. But providing food in the air is probably a lot more expensive than providing some grab-an-go meals on the ground. This way Virgin focuses its catering on loyal fliers.

    I'm not sure what the nay-sayers are worried about. I've been bringing my own coffees on virgin flights for a while. The lounge provides coffee cups.
    No member give thanks

  • JPeuty

    JPeuty
    Banned

    6 Dec, 2017 02:09 pm

    This seems like the death throes of what was, not so long ago, a respectable airline.

    No member give thanks

  • Simon Overall

    Vidic15

    6 Dec, 2017 02:49 pm

    Wow a moral panic over a trial. I've seen it all now.
    Members who gave thanks

    David, deegee93

  • ZT

    ZT

    6 Dec, 2017 03:48 pm

    Some airlines have a policy of no byo hot drinks on board.
    No member give thanks

  • Sam Shue

    Genji88

    6 Dec, 2017 03:56 pm

    @Damien, I'd say it's catered on Lounge Using passengers, as even Nothing Reds can gain Lounge Access by paying $65.

    Being able to conveniently grab a pastry, toastie & a coffee adds a premium feel to the airline, but for me Seatback IFE & Charge ports are needed to be a Full Service airline.
    No member give thanks

  • JPeuty

    JPeuty
    Banned

    6 Dec, 2017 04:08 pm

    How does it add a "premium" feel? You can grab a pastry, toastie and coffee in just about any airline lounge in the world.
    No member give thanks

  • Declan Rye

    declanr

    6 Dec, 2017 04:12 pm

    Well done VA for at least trialing this. Seems many people looking to knock them without reading the detail. Nothing is being removed. Just an added convenience. However I do share the concern re the potential for a more painful boarding process. However, any potential pain in boarding with a sandwich and coffee would be countered by limiting hand luggage. Seriously, the amount of hand luggage I see is crazy. It should be one piece and maybe a suit bag absolute maximum.
    No member give thanks

  • Declan Rye

    declanr

    6 Dec, 2017 04:49 pm

    Since when did allowing you to take a sandwich on-board equal the end of an airline? I bet if once the trial is over and they withdraw it the same people will be howling again!
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  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    6 Dec, 2017 06:26 pm

    Declanr exactly!
    No member give thanks

  • quick_dry

    quick_dry

    7 Dec, 2017 03:20 am

    it might be mostly just adding a stand of greaseproof paper bags - but I hope the trial is a success. I'd much rather have the bags than trying to wrap a sandwich or something in a couple of paper serviettes.

    Though I wonder how long till some enterprising soul fills the bag with that nice muesli and a dash of milk/yoghurt.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • Jim Dollan

    jaideester

    7 Dec, 2017 06:31 am

    Much ado about nothing!
    No member give thanks

  • traveller90

    traveller90

    8 Dec, 2017 01:00 am

    Lets take Virgin to a new low. Its now selling its self as a grab and go tuck shop food outlet. They say there trying to gain market ground with decisions like this - perhaps time to give up all together and join Easy Jet as a partner airline. Time for Virgin to replace their Marketing Team for one that works!
    No member give thanks

  • ji

    ji

    9 Dec, 2017 02:17 pm

    I think this is a great idea when in a hurry.

    Presumably, take away coffee wouldn’t work in Melbourne as you have to go through the scanners when you leave.
    Fine when you scan when entering the lounge - Sydney etc.


    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

Guest

19 Dec, 2017 09:30 am

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