Is Virgin Australia offering a gold medal lounge experience for Coolangatta flyers? Angus Kidman gives his verdict.
Perched up a flight of stairs or a short lift ride away at the northern end of Gold Coast Airport, Virgin's lounge does a fine job with relatively limited space. All the expected touches for a regular Velocity lounge are present, and the elevated location means there's a great view of the tarmac if you fancy plane spotting while you wait for your flight. The trademark purple decor and wavy ribbon desks are very much in evidence.
I visited on a Saturday morning, which meant the place was exceptionally quiet. Well, except for the inescapable noise of Channel 7 blasting from every television in the place. This is an issue to varying degrees in every Velocity lounge, but given the smaller room, you do notice it more.
What I liked
Plenty of power outlets. Lots of desks with both power outlets and USB slots wend their way through the centre of the lounge.
The free Virgin Wi-Fi also works well throughout. If you didn't bring your own laptop, there are also a couple of computers parked in the corner, as well as a printer.
Full food and drinks service. You can easily score a coffee from the barista, throw together a toasted sandwich or pop some pancakes out of the machine.
- Meeting room available. Something of a rarity for Velocity, but handy if you do want to conduct business with colleagues or prospects.
- A good variety of spaces. Despite being one of Virgin's smaller lounges, you can choose from desks, lounge chairs or bar-style seating.
INSIDER TIPIf you're keen to take in the view, there are also power outlets at some of the elevated bar seats near the window (on the left-hand side of the lounge when facing the tarmac).
What I didn’t like
Only a few minor irritations to report:
- No in-lounge flight announcements. There are plenty of screens around, but there weren't any flight announcements made for boarding on the day I was there. This irritation was magnified because…
The lounge is a long way from the gate. The Virgin Lounge is opposite gate 1, but the vast majority of Virgin flights depart from gate 5, which is about as far away as you can get, at the opposite end of the terminal. I don't want to overstate this: Gold Coast Airport is compact, so we're not talking a Heathrow-style stroll here. But it would improve the experience if Virgin flights departed more often from gate 1 or gate 2, which currently get used for Virgin's cheapskate sibling Tigerair.
- No escaping the TVs: Yes, I won't shut up about this. Because the lounge is essentially one room, it's impossible to get away from the televisions. Make sure to deploy your headphones.
Points Finder Lounge Rating: 4 stars
THE POINTS FINDER TAKEVirgin has done an impressive job to deliver its regular lounge experience in a more confined space. It's also one of the few Virgin lounges to offer a view of the tarmac.
THE FINDER LOUNGE REVIEW PROMISE: Our lounge reviews are based on a visit to the actual lounge during normal operation. We offer an honest and open critique from one of our frequent flyer experts, and update with any relevant news as it comes to hand. Being in a lounge should always be more pleasant than just being stuck with waiting at the gate, but we won't shy away from highlighting issues. Learn more about how our scoring works.
Velocity Lounge Gold Coast details
Location: Airside, near gates 1 and 2 domestic. (International fliers on partner airlines will still need to clear international security before boarding.)
Opening hours: From first to last flight.
Who can get in? Fliers on a Virgin-operated service with Gold or Platinum Velocity status (or equivalent with partners) or a current lounge membership. Learn more in our Velocity lounge overview.
How many Velocity Points can you earn flying from the Gold Coast?
Virgin Australia allocates Velocity Points based on the amount you spend on your fare, with a base rate of 5 points per dollar and tier bonuses for Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity fliers. That means you can't easily say "Gold Coast-Sydney flights are worth 600 points". To learn more about how Velocity Points work, check out Points Finder's detailed guide to the Velocity scheme.
Virgin Australia offers direct flights from the Gold Coast to the following destinations
- Auckland (via Air New Zealand until October 2018)