It’s been a long time coming, but Virgin Australia passengers travelling through Brisbane’s international terminal finally have a lounge to call their own. Well, technically it’s not Virgin Australia’s lounge, it’s operated by UK based No 1 Lounges. Virgin Australia is the primary customer, but not the only customer of the lounge provider.
Nonetheless, this week’s opening of My Lounge is a win for Virgin Australia passengers. Previously, business class, platinum and gold passengers off to LA on VA009 were sent to the KrisFlyer lounge. Business class, platinum and gold passengers going elsewhere were directed to the Plaza Premium lounge. Virgin Lounge Pass holders got to buy a burger and beer in the terminal.
This arrangement was attracting a lot of criticism, especially considering Virgin Australia have a steady stream of international departures from Brisbane. The new lounge was initially meant to open last year, but the opening date was delayed by a year, causing a great deal of exasperated eye-rolling amongst Virgin’s Brisbane customers.
But in the last couple of months, word emerged that Virgin’s Brisbane My Lounge was finally set to open. It has been a long time coming.
In a statement, Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah said;
“This (lounge) caters for all ends of the market, from the business traveller to the leisure traveller … Late last year we decided to form a partnership with No 1 Lounges with one in Sydney and Melbourne and our guests love them. We know there’s a strong business travel focus in Brisbane but an even stronger leisure travel focus than we have in our other destinations. So getting the balance right was very important.”
Getting that balance right
The 332sq meter My Lounge seats 108 guests and is near Gate 77 on the northern concourse. It’s an open, “loft-inspired” light-filled space with good tarmac views. So open that one local wit said you could easily pass drinks out to your mates in the terminal. Unlike the No 1 Sydney and Melbourne lounges, the Brisbane lounge does not offer a la carte dining, rather the run of the mill lounge buffet selection including sliders, stir-fries, and chicken pies. The PR people prefer to call it, a “grazing menu”. So much nicer sounding.
But the menu will rotate fortnightly, there’s an open bar, and a barista to make proper coffee. The Brisbane My Lounge is open from 5.00am to 10.00pm seven days a week.
Who gets access?
The word is the My Lounge operators are in negotiations with Priority Pass to allow access for pass holders, but this hasn’t been locked in yet. Priority Pass members passing through Brisbane should head to the Plaza Premium lounge.
Alternatively, Brisbane’s My Lounge allows entry on a pay per use basis. Three hours entry costs AUD$60.00 per adult if booked online or AUD$70.00 at the door.
Virgin Australia business class, platinum, and gold frequent flyers have access prior to their Virgin Australia flights to any international destination. Virgin Lounge members and Lifetime Lounge members have access to My Lounge when travelling to New Zealand only.
Hawaiian Airlines business class passengers have access. Virgin platinum and gold frequent flyers travelling on Hawaiian but using Virgin’s codeshare arrangement (VA5120) have access. Note this arrangement extends to VA5120 only.
Virgin’s platinum and gold frequent flyers travelling Hainan Airlines also have access. These access rules have already been criticised as overly complex.
Nonetheless, the new My Lounge is a welcome addition at Brisbane International. Not only does it give Virgin Australia the chance to settle into a dedicated Brisbane lounge it can flag as its own, but it also builds on a growing range of good airport lounges at the airport.