Virgin Australia has unveiled its latest bid to get travellers back in the air, offering up a brand new lounge design for those sick of having their feet on the ground.
Opening in Adelaide on Tuesday with an official ceremony, the airline was all about the theatrics — firing off a cannon, sprinkling red and purple confetti over some of the crew as the silky ribbon was cut.
The new design, which features canopy ceilings and bright greenery, also features a wine cellar, library and a sunroom.
There is also an end-to-end table service system in the 283-seat Adelaide lounge where guests can order their food on their phones using a QR code.
Virgin’s new lounge menu includes freshly made sandwiches, wraps, salads and healthy snacks.
Designed by Brisbane’s WMK Architecture, the lounge of the future design will eventually be rolled-out across all of Virgin Australia’s seven domestic lounges around the country.
It is the first product launched under the new ownership, after it was purchased in November last year.
The Adelaide Lounge — which is 1097 sqm in size — also features a coffee bar, a Cellar Door Hub where guests can purchase or taste Australian wines, a library and a sunroom.
The major airline collaborated with Betty’s Burgers for the unique activation, offering free burgers and ice cream to guests at the opening.
Sharon and Lee Zacharia were the lucky first two people to enter the lounge.
The couple were travelling to Brisbane for a two-day getaway to celebrate their thirteenth wedding anniversary.
“I remember being here 12 months ago and they had a transitional lounge and we were told they were going to build something very soon,” Mr Zacharia, 64, said.
“This is worth the wait. It’s beautiful.”
His wife, 49, said it was more comfortable than the previous lounge.
“It’s on trend, the colours are great, it’s clean and, unlike the previous (lounge) which was a bit corporate, this is really inviting,” Mrs Zacharia said.
Virgin Australia General Manager Product and Customer Sarah Adam said the works for the lounge continued during the pandemic and said it was an important time to invest in products that appealed to frequent flyers.
With the new layout, she said it was important for guests to have different zones within the space to feel more comfortable, eat, drink or work.
“We have had to adapt the space, largely making sure we were managing the local regulations around social distancing. That was mainly regarding seating so we had to scale back the number of seats,” Ms Adam said.
She said the previous Virgin Lounge closed at Adelaide Airport about one year ago and the company used the airport’s renovation as a “great opportunity” to create the new space.
The company’s CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the new lounge was one of many changes made for guests, describing it as a “fun” and “relaxed” place where “everyone would feel welcome and comfortable”.
She said the company planned to make significant investment in its lounges over the next few years.
Staff working in the previous Lounge who were stood down have since returned to work.
WMK Architecture Director Russell Grady said the design was unlike anything else in Australian airports.
He said it set the scene for Virgin Australia’s new direction.
“In true Virgin Australia style, we’ve really elevated the playful elements in signage, furniture and vibrant lighting features, adding pops of colour and energising moments, to enrich the lounge’s natural material palette,” Mr Grady said.
“It’s a venue that’s delightfully Virgin and provides frequent flyers with a warm and relaxing space when they fly.”