The new incarnation of Virgin Australia has continued its previous tradition of offering a very special lounge to its most prestigious guests. Today saw the curtain lift on the airline’s long-awaited invitation-only private ‘Beyond Lounges’ in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, reserved for corporate partners, some high-status Velocity Frequent Flyer members and key opinion leaders throughout the country.
Named after its Beyond category in its loyalty program, the lounge represents another milestone in the airline’s transformation plan. Virgin Australia Beyond is now the highest tier of loyalty for Virgin Australia customers and sits alongside the airline’s award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program which continues to offer Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum status.
Across the three capital city private lounges, members will enter via a discreet door with access granted through a sustainable digital membership card only given to Virgin Australia’s most loyal flyers. Locations of the entrance doors will continue to remain unmarked but are located in close proximity to Virgin Australia’s existing domestic lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
We can actually see this approach to invitation only lounges as an emerging trend, and might be the future approach to First Class lounges – as First Class now is only on a handful of aircraft across a handful of airlines, so a ‘First Class Lounge’ brand no longer really applies, the idea of an ‘invitation-only lounge’ seems more suitable for carriers with just a Business Class proposition but wanting to add an additional layer of luxury – Qatar Airways and Etihad would be good examples to adopt such a strategy. In a survey of Beyond members conducted last year, privacy was found to be one of the most important attributes of the invitation-only lounges.
Once through the discreet entrance, members will enter a more intimate and welcoming space, with a cosy, retro vibe featuring leather clad and oak timber walls, plush Chester-style armchairs, bright greenery and secluded privacy pods. The privacy pods are apparently a member favourite in the lounges and contain timber cabinetry with built-in charging stations, making it easy for members to work or relax on the fly. Transparent frosted glass surrounds the pods allowing for natural light to enter while maintaining discretion for those seated inside.
Numerous seating zones are spread throughout the lounges, providing members with different spaces to dine, relax, refresh and recharge in a delightfully Virgin Australia way. End of day facilities such as showers, towels and premium bathroom amenities by Appelles Apothecary Lab are also available for members from July. Aiming to appeal to the very specific demographic, private offices and board rooms are also available in each Beyond Lounge and can be booked by members ahead of or on the day of travel.
To coincide with the opening of Beyond, Virgin Australia has also launched a new and fresh à la carte menu for Beyond members, featuring light and substantial fresh menu options using the finest Australian produce. All food is freshly prepared on site and can be ordered with the airline’s dedicated Beyond Lounge Hosts who are on hand to deliver a personalised service experience.
To complement the mouth-watering menu, Virgin Australia Beyond members will have access to a wide range of carefully selected beverages, including spirits, Australian wine, cocktails, freshly squeezed juices, sparkling and still water, tea and coffee.
The airline is also ensuring that the service goes a little extra too, with zero boarding announcements and instead provide personalised 1:1 boarding invitations from the dedicated Beyond Lounge Hosts, who will come by when it’s time for members to board their flight. Beyond Lounge Hosts will also recommend meals from the all-day à la carte menu based on the duration of the members’ visit before their flight, heightening the service experience for Virgin Australia’s most exclusive member lounge.
Sadly not everyone will see behind the curtain as Beyond membership is granted by the CEO and executives of Virgin Australia for the airline’s most loyal guests, which include decision makers for the airline’s corporate accounts and key leaders in many industries across the country. Business leaders interested in being invited to join Beyond are encouraged to speak to their travel manager or Virgin Australia account manager.