December is looking to be a good month for our domestic airlines. State borders have started opening up, and as a result travel demand is increasing.
As a result of increased travel, Virgin Australia will reopen the Sydney and Melbourne lounges on December 15. This follows the previous opening of the Brisbane lounge last week.
On top of the Sydney and Melbourne lounges, the Gold Coast lounge will be opening soon. At this point, there is no word on either the Perth or Adelaide lounge. However, given the forthcoming border changes in Western Australia, I suspect that the Perth lounge will open in the not too distant future. Whether that will be in time for Christmas travel remains to be seen.
The Canberra lounge remains under review, and as previously advised, the other lounges in the network will not reopen.
As a result of the current situation, there are a few differences in the lounge that you should be aware of
- QR code check-in on entry;
- Capacity restrictions to comply with state-based regulations;
- More frequent cleaning and sanitising stations;
- Hosted pre-made food offerings including sweet and savoury options, sandwiches and fresh fruit; and
- Barista-made coffee, premium tea, and soft drinks served from the hosted bar, as well as alcoholic beverages including craft beers and curated wines from 12pm.
How has airline demand increased?
Virgin has always stated that the lounges would reopen as demand increased. As part of demonstrating the demand that is starting to come back, Virgin has offered some interesting statistics
- Approximately 100,000 seats to Queensland destinations have been booked in the last seven (7) days.
- Almost three-quarters of Queensland flights booked in the last seven (7) days were for travel in the lead up to and during Christmas.
- Flight searches for routes between Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland have increased by 103% week-on-week.
- The top five flight routes were (both ways):
- Melbourne-Gold Coast
- Sydney-Gold Coast
Virgin Australia said it expects it will reach 60% of prior year domestic capacity by January 2021.
For elite members of Velocity and Lounge members, this is a good sign that things are getting back on track. Hopefully, the Gold Coast and Perth lounges won’t be too far from reopening.