Introduction: The Flight Of A Lifetime
Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Business Class 787 Washington To Abu Dhabi
Review: Shangri-La Abu Dhabi
Review: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Residence Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad Residence A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney
Review: Hyatt Regency Sydney
Review: Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 737 Sydney To Melbourne
Review: Etihad Lounge Melbourne Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 777 Melbourne To Los Angeles
My flight from Sydney landed at Terminal 3, and from there I had to walk to Terminal 2, which is the international terminal out of which Virgin Australia operates. That was roughly a 10 minute walk, and required exiting the sterile area.
Fortunately the security checkpoint was painless, and there was even a premium lane. Then I also had to proceed through immigration, which just took a minute. The security checkpoints dumped out into a maze of a duty free shop, which has to be one of the most annoying trends in terminal design.
Virgin Australia is partly owned by Etihad, so at Melbourne Airport Virgin Australia uses the Etihad Lounge for their international passengers. Etihad’s lounge in Melbourne just opened last year, so it’s fairly new.
I followed the signage towards lounges, and within a few minutes saw the escalators and elevator leading to both the Emirates and Etihad lounges, located one level above the main concourse.
At the top of the escalator I found the entrance to the Emirates Lounge on the left, and the entrance to the Etihad Lounge on the right. It’s sort of funny that the two Gulf carriers have lounges right across from one another.
While smaller than Etihad’s New York JFK Lounge, the Melbourne Lounge had the same exterior styling.
The Etihad Lounge was large, and featured Etihad’s latest design, as you’d expect for a lounge that opened just last year.
Near the entrance were rows of comfortable leather chairs (in the below picture you’ll see a door at the end of the room, which is the entrance to the Residence Lounge — I guess that won’t be needed anymore soon, since Etihad is pulling the A380 from Melbourne).
Near that was a private play room for kids.
Past the rows of seats was a large dining area, with about a dozen tables that each seated two people.
Then there was a long bench with small coffee tables and pillows to separate the dining area from the seating area by the entrance.
By the window was the signature Etihad bar, which looked stunning.
There was more seating by the windows, as well as some communal tables towards the back of the lounge.
Then back near the entrance was a more private seating area, with a couple of TVs.
The entire lounge boasted gorgeous views of planes at nearby gates. However, unfortunately they use some kind of weird green film on their windows, which makes it tough to take good pictures (and might also explain the strange lighting in the lounge).
The Emirates A380 was parked immediately below the Etihad Lounge, which made me chuckle. What a view!
The bathrooms were back near the center of the lounge, and featured several private stalls, as well as a few urinals.
There was also a private shower room located inside the bathroom.
Etihad always does a spectacular job with keeping their bathrooms clean. At all their lounges worldwide they seem to have a dedicated bathroom attendant, who always makes sure that the towels by the sinks are in a perfect “triangle.”
The buffet was towards the back of the lounge, and was decent.
It featured smoked salmon, cold cuts, smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, croissants, banana bread, cheese, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage.
There was also an espresso machine, as well as fresh juice, tea, and self serve soft drinks.
For more broad thoughts on the lounge, I thought the design was beautiful, and I loved how much natural light there was. I also really appreciated how empty it was — Etihad’s two daily flights from Melbourne don’t depart until the afternoon and evening, so it was only Virgin Australia passengers using the lounge at this time. Furthermore, the staffing levels were impressive, and the people in the lounge were friendly and attentive.
At the same time, there’s no denying that Etihad has been doing a lot of cost cutting with their lounges. I remember my first visit to the Etihad Lounge New York, where they had a la carte dining, incredible signature cocktails, and barista made coffee.
Meanwhile this lounge had no menu, no cocktail list, and the only coffee available was from the machine. These are of course total first world problems, but I think Etihad spoiled us a bit too much in the past with how good their lounge soft product was.
I had about a three hour connection, so I ended up spending about 90 minutes in the lounge. The wifi was fast, and allowed me to get some work done, since I knew my flight to Los Angeles wouldn’t have wifi.
My flight to LAX was departing at 11:30AM, so at around 10:30AM I decided to head to the gate. Boarding was scheduled for 10:45AM from gate 14, which was about a 10 minute walk away.
The international terminal was remarkably empty, and nice and modern.
Gate 14 was at the far end of the terminal on the left. The gate area was surprisingly empty.
By 10:45AM boarding was called, starting with those who needed extra time, and followed by those in business class. I couldn’t wait to experience Virgin Australia’s longhaul business class product.
Etihad Lounge Melbourne bottom line
It’s cool that Virgin Australia uses the Etihad Lounge for their business class passengers in Melbourne. It’s a beautiful lounge, and wasn’t at all crowded, given that “our” flight was the only one using the lounge at the time. The design of the lounge is beautiful and the food was decent, though there has certainly been a good bit of cost cutting when it comes to Etihad’s lounge experience.