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
For my journey back to the US I was flying from Sydney to Melbourne to Los Angeles. I was supposed to be on the 6:30AM flight from Sydney to Melbourne, but both the 6:30AM and 7:30AM flights got canceled, apparently due to fog in Melbourne.
It’s insane how many flights Virgin Australia operates between Sydney and Melbourne. For example, over the course of three hours in the morning there are flights at 6:00AM, 6:30AM, 7:00AM, 7:15AM, 7:30AM, 8:00AM, 8:30AM, and 9:00AM. Goodness gracious.
I met up with Zac of Points from the Pacific in Sydney (he was also staying at the Hyatt Regency and was on the same flight to Melbourne), so we shared an Uber to the airport at around 4:30AM.
Virgin Australia’s domestic flights leave from Terminal 2.
The check-in process was super quick, though I did check my bag for the first time in forever, given how big it was at this point in the journey.
The agent also gave me an immigration form and a fast track card for Melbourne.
At this point it was around 4:55AM, and Zac pointed out that Virgin Australia’s “Lounge Premium Entry” opens at 5AM, so we figured we’d check that out. Essentially it’s a separate entrance at the far end of the terminal for business class passengers, as well as Velocity Platinum and Gold members.
I felt a bit weird taking pictures inside since it was also a security checkpoint, but basically it’s a separate check-in facility where you can also go through security, and that lets out directly in the lounge. Since we already had our boarding passes, we could head straight to security.
Then just past security was the entrance to the lounge, which is actually the only place to go from this entry. This is a cool concept, especially when you consider that even domestic business class passengers have access to this.
Inside the entrance was a large hallway, and you could go different directions based on whether you wanted to go to the lounge, to the terminal, to the customer service desk, etc.
The lounge itself was surprisingly big, but then again, I guess in Australia a lot of people have lounge access. The lounge had many different seating options, including communal tables, coffee tables with lounging chairs, dining tables, etc.
I appreciated the number of partitions that were used in the design of the lounge, because it would feel a lot less private if they didn’t use these.
In the far corner of the lounge were some PCs with a heavy duty printer.
The buffet was back near the center of the lounge. The selection and quality of the food was significantly better than what you’d find in most US lounges.
There was yogurt, sliced fruit, hardboiled eggs, cold cuts, salad, bread, cereal, etc.
There was also a Tasman Sea Salt station, though I’m not sure I totally get that? Are you just supposed to put the salt on a cracker, or…?
In terms of drink, there was a soda fountain, juice, and water. Then there was also a fridge with beer and wine, though at 5AM I didn’t investigate that too much.
There was also a selection of tea.
Most impressively, however, there were two coffee stations with baristas who could make whatever you’d like. Why can’t more lounges have barista-made drinks?!
I had a flat white, while Zac had a cappuccino.
The wifi in the lounge was fast, and we spent about 30 minutes in the lounge. At that point we took the escalator down a level to the main terminal.
We still had an hour until boarding was supposed to start. The reason we left the lounge so early is because we wanted to try out the Priority Pass options in the terminal.
As I first wrote about a month ago, Priority Pass added seven restaurants and bars at Sydney Airport to the network, so as a Priority Pass member you can get 36AUD of free food & drinks. I had been wanting to test this out, so this was the perfect opportunity.
I shared my experience with this in a separate post. What a cool feature!
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 6:30AM, so we headed to the gate at around 6:15AM. Terminal 2 at Sydney Airport is fairly small, so it was just a short walk to the gate.
Our flight was departing from gate 40. I’m impressed by how well designed Virgin Australia’s gate areas are. There’s plenty of seating, outlets, etc. I also appreciated that they had a separate priority boarding queue that was in a different area from the main queue, which probably helps prevent congestion.
Sure enough, at around 6:30AM priority boarding was called.
Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney bottom line
Domestic lounges in Australia are significantly better than what you’ll find in the US. On top of that, even domestic business class passengers have access to these lounges (though unlike in the US, Australian airlines don’t offer unlimited complimentary upgrades). The lounge was spacious, had a good food selection, and most importantly (for me), had freshly made coffee. Virgin Australia also deserves praise for their great check-in facility.
What a pleasant experience all around!