As domestic border restrictions have finally been lifted in time for Christmas, and airlines are gearing up for what’s expected to be a bumper interstate travel season over the holiday period – Virgin Australia has announced a string of changes inside their popular airport lounges
As a result of ongoing border closures through the pandemic, which has heavily impacted domestic travel around the country, most airline lounges were closed during the travel shutdown period.
From this week, Virgin Australia will reopen their ‘new look’ Melbourne and Sydney lounges, while Canberra, the Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide will open their doors in the new year.
Joining the reopening of the Brisbane lounge last month, the airline says the revised offering at Sydney and Melbourne will look a little different.
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As part of the airline’s safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, numbers into each lounge will be capped dependant on state-based regulations.
There will be QR code check-in required upon entry, but perhaps the biggest change is the elimination of the self-serve buffet style station. Instead, guests will have access to all-day hosted food and beverage bar where guests place an order with a staff member and their meal or snack will be brought to their seat.
“There was a lot of preparation that went into opening up our lounges,” Sarah Adam, Virgin’s general manager of customer and product said.
“That includes training our team members on all the COVID safe regulations, and making sure that our lounge spaces were compliant with COVID safe hygiene measures such as hand sanitisation and social distancing for seating.
“One of the noticeable changes will be that we’ve replaced the buffets with a hosted meal service. You order what you want, and that will be delivered straight to you.”
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Hosted pre-made food offerings will include sweet and savoury options, sandwiches and fresh fruit as well as barista-made coffee, premium tea and soft drinks served from a hosted bar.
Alcoholic beverages will be served up from 12pm.
Rival airline Qantas made similar changes earlier this month, with the airline opening 35 of their lounges across the country.
Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Sydney as well as a number of regional lounges including Coolangatta, Devonport and Launceston were all reopened to meet renewed domestic travel demands.
Like Virgin Australia, Qantas introduced various measures inside their lounges including the elimination of the self-serve buffet style station.