My Experience Using The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX With Priority Pass

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As of this past Monday, November 20, 2017, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX joined Priority Pass. Initially this surprised me, since the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is quite small, and since it has a fantastic a la carte dining menu, my assumption was that surely they wouldn’t open the floodgates to Priority Pass members.

So it’s not surprising that there was a catch. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX is only open to Priority Pass members between the hours of 5AM and 12:30PM. Then the lounge closes for a couple of hours, and then it reopens for the afternoon Virgin Atlantic flights, at which point Priority Pass members no longer have access to the lounge.

Nick has reviewed the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX prior to a Virgin Atlantic flight, and yesterday I had the chance to check out the Clubhouse using Priority Pass, to see just how much the experience differed. I’ll keep this review pretty short.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in Terminal 2, so it’s accessible by passengers traveling on Delta, Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic, and WestJet (though for passengers on Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic this lounge typically won’t be accessible due to the time the flights depart).

Towards the end of the concourse you’ll see the stairs that go up a level, which is where both the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Delta SkyClub are located.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is to the left at the top of the stairs.

The lounge is small but sleek, and has great views. It’s in a triangular shape, with most of the lounge consisting of couches.

Then deeper into the lounge are a few dining tables, some communal tables along the windows, etc.

Then in the very back of the lounge is an “L” shaped booth with a cool screen behind it.

The lounge has fantastic views of the north side of the airport, including terminals 1 & 2, as well as runways 24L & 24R.

It’s not a very big lounge at all. But I already knew what the lounge looked like — my big question was what the food & drinks were like. Well, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the food & drink selection is horribly watered down compared to what they offer in the afternoons. Like, it’s worse than most other contract lounges.

In terms of food, there was whole fruit, muffins, croissants, Chobani yogurt, and one type of cereal.

Then in terms of drinks there was juice, room temperature cans of soda, filtered coffee, tea, beer (Coors Light and Corona), and several types of Frontera wine (pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay).

As far as the bathroom situation goes, the lounge has several individual bathrooms.

If you want to access any of the 1,000+ Priority Pass lounges around the world (including this one), then the following are some of the best premium credit cards that come with a membership:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
The Platinum Card® from American Express2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN2Yes$300 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Card2 Guests Or Immediate Family MembersYes$50 Per Person
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit CardUnlimited GuestsYes$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ CardUnlimited GuestsYes$75 Per Person

Should you use the Delta SkyClub or Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?

A few feet from the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is the Delta SkyClub. This isn’t part of Priority Pass, though if you’re flying Delta the same day and have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, you can access it (however, you’ll have to pay $29 for each additional guest).

All else being equal, if you’re just looking to use your laptop then I think the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse has a nicer design. However, if you want to eat or drink, the Delta SkyClub is definitely the way to go, as the food & drink selection is infinitely better.

Bottom line

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX is a beautiful lounge, and it’s a great addition to Priority Pass. Previously there wasn’t a Priority Pass lounge in Terminal 2, so having an option is better than not having an option. This was smart on Virgin Atlantic’s part as well — they were already paying the rent for the lounge, so they might as well open it to Priority Pass for 7.5 hours, make a lot of money, and not dilute the experience for their own customers.

All that being said, the food & drink selection in this lounge is disappointing. Even among third rate contract lounges the food & drink selection is usually better. But I guess we should look at this from Virgin Atlantic’s perspective as well. They’re being paid a fixed amount for each person who uses the lounge, and they have zero competition, since they’re the only Priority Pass lounge. Priority Pass members will be happy to have somewhere to sit. Without competition, do they really have an incentive to offer more services? The only potential downside is that it may give people a poorer impression of the Virgin Atlantic brand, thinking that this is the same food & beverage selection they have for Virgin Atlantic’s own flights.

So yeah, I think the Clubhouse is a great addition to Priority Pass, though I’m still disappointed in terms of what they offer.

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Comments

  1. Was in the SkyClub across the way from this Clubhouse a couple of times last week and have always had a pleasant experience. It’s good to know I’m not missing anything…or may actually be coming out on top in that situation. Also, the SkyClub serves nachos, so that’s also a huge bonus. Plus, I think once you’ve been to the Clubhouse at LHR, you’re kind of spoiled on Clubhouses and the others pale in comparison. Thanks for taking one for the team!

  2. I was in there on Monday morning when they first opened it to PP after an overnight flight from Hawaii. I couldn’t find the showers you speak of. Are you sure they’re in there? I went in every bathroom.

  3. @Ben O., did you ask a staff member? IME, most lounges with showers don’t just let anyone waltz in to use them. They usually require a key and/or staff escort. The showers *do* have to be cleaned between uses, you know?

    @Ben, it’s such a shame that the food offerings are so weak… Hell, even AA and UA have better options! 😮

  4. @ Ben O. — Whoops, I think you’re right, my mistake. I thought I saw a shower logo on one of the doors, but in doing some research it seems you’re right. Thanks for the correction.

  5. Watered down access to an airline lounge. With the amount of Priority Pass cards I’ve seen floating around (even) in Europe, I think that quality is going to go down eventually…

    Oh, and “beer (Coors Light and Corona)”? Neither of those things in brackets qualify as beer 🙂

  6. You mention that access would not be feasible for Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic, is that a typo? It is a VA lounge after all.

  7. @ SKF — My point was not accessible using Priority Pass, since Priority Pass access ends at 12:30PM, and those flights leave later in the day. Sorry for any confusion.

  8. Sitting in the priority pass lounge in YYZ international terminal and am shocked at the quality of the lounge. I have been in several PP lounges and have found them to be okay (just slightly better than domestic airline ones), but this one is actually excellent. In addition to the hot and cold buffet (which doesn’t have much variety, but all tasted very good, on par with Centurion lounges), they have a 4 item a la carte menu! And they have showers.

  9. Looks like heaven compared to the pitiful PP offering in Venice Airport! Travelex lounge, pretty security, no food, soft drink or tea/coffee which has to be requested from the lounge agent. Makes even the dreadful Hawaii PP lounges look OK..

  10. The Priority Pass lounge in the U.S. terminal at YYZ is pathetic.

    The Air France/KLM lounge and Turkish lounge at Dulles are both Priority Pass lounges. Air France restricts access based on hours, but the food and alcohol is the same all-day. They don’t kick you out, either. They just don’t allow anyone new inside.

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