Words by Anna Howard
I always envied those travellers who disappeared behind the frosted glass doors of an airport lounge as I trundled down to the departure gate.
"Who are these people?" "How do I get in there?"
But now, I have access to a Gold Velocity membership. Alright, I'm a plus-one, but I've had a taste of how the other half live – or at least work, relax, eat and drink before a flight.
If travel is more about the journey rather than the destination, the Virgin Australia Lounge is a highlight of any trip.
The airline has raised the bar when it comes to interstate business travel. Their sleek, modern lounges across numerous Australian capitals have myriad comfortable nooks to polish off that presentation or tap out the blog post you've been putting off.
Free Wi-Fi is an obvious inclusion. Corporate travellers can also make use of meeting rooms, a selection of printed publications and of course, charging outlets, computers and printing/photocopying/scanning facilities. That's as long as you don't get distracted by the other perks.
From shoe-shining to bespoke music features and shower facilities, there are endless features of the lounge. However, none are arguably more important than the food and beverage offerings.
For Brisbane and Melbourne travellers, an espresso and wine bar is the focal point of the area. Alcohol is served from 11am and you can choose from a range of local and craft beers and wine.
Flying through Sydney? Virgin Australia is currently trialling the service of spirits. No doubt this added bonus will be well received and hopefully roll out to other locations in the future.
If you're feeling peckish pre-flight, a smorgasbord of light bites will keep hunger at bay. Think daily soups, salads and toasted sandwiches.
Virgin Australia also has a VIP list. If you're an A-list celebrity, CEO or frequently rub shoulders with John Borghetti, you'll be granted access to the inner sanctum. Only elite flyers can access the very exclusive, very private The Club in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.
The lounge: need to know
Elite travellers can waltz into The Club with two adult guests or bring up to three guests in the lounge. These travellers can also nominate their partner for The Club membership, while an executive assistant can obtain free Velocity Platinum status.
Gold and Platinum Velocity members receive free entry into Virgin Australia lounges, along with a guest, while Silver Velocity members receive two Single Entry passes valid for one year. But you won't be completely excluded if you haven't reached these tiers.
Infrequent flyers can pay $65 for a Single Entry to enter a domestic Virgin Australia lounge. Businesses can also sign up for the Velocity Accelerator program, which rewards corporate guests with two three-month Pilot Gold Velocity memberships. Earn 80 Status Credits and fly one Eligible Sector within the three-month trial period and you'll strike gold – membership, that is – for a whole year.