Virgin Australia Make Major Lounge Access Changes In Los Angeles

by Zac George

Last year, Virgin Australia dropped lounge access for Gold members. The airline also stopped using both the Star Alliance First Class Lounge and the brilliant Star Alliance Business Class lounge. Both decisions made people quite angry, especially for Gold members.

Los Angeles Star Alliance lounge (Image – Star Alliance)

The airline announced they would be using the Etihad lounge for Business Class and Platinum guests. I haven’t yet visited the lounge but heard it’s great but quite small and gets very busy.

For Gold members in Premium Economy and Economy, they would receive 10,000 Velocity points and a $40USD voucher if you’re travelling alone or $80USD if you’re with a guest. The disappointing part about it all, besides the lack of lounge access is where you could use the vouchers. Only 3 out of 47 eateries at TBIT would take the voucher.

You could use the voucher at:

  • Luckyfish
  • Drink LA
  • 3 Forks

However today, Virgin Australia have now enhanced lounge access giving Gold members lounge access back and even giving Platinum members a new lounge to use.

Gold members can now access the Etihad lounge along with Business Class passengers. If you’re a Gold member you can also bring one guest with you. 

Etihad Lounge Los Angeles (Image – Etihad Airways)

Now for the most interesting and surprising news with the changes in lounge access.

Platinum guests can now access the EMIRATES lounge!

Yes, you read that correctly, Platinum guests can access the Emirates lounge in Los Angeles. The change is such a strange move and I can’t stop thinking about why they are now using Emirates’s facility.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles (Image – Emirates)

Qantas and Emirates have an extremely close relationship and Virgin Australia and Etihad have a very close relationship. The first thing I want to know is what Qantas think about the access for VA guests and I’d love to know what Etihad thinks about VA moving to their opposition lounge. The second thing I’d like to know is why Virgin haven’t renewed getting access to the Star Alliance First lounge which they previously had access to. That would seem like a more logical and understandable change.

What do you think about the lounge changes, especially with Platinums now having access to the Emirates lounge?

Featured Image – Bernard Proctor

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MattJ March 22, 2017 - 1:04 am

Delta and I take it VA will be moving into a new terminal in a few months so whilst the whole *A debarkle was on, and no lounge access for VA passengers this is a quick bandaid until the new Lounge and Terminal is built…

henry LAX March 22, 2017 - 4:15 am

DL is just moving up to T2+T3 – there’s no “new terminal” yet. I just passed through LAX T3 yesterday and it definitely looks like a relic from the space age. LAX T5 to T3 is actually a major downgrade until the new terminal construction is complete.

MattJ March 22, 2017 - 10:35 am

Not terminal but a move to another one and revamp?

chris May 19, 2017 - 11:25 am

This is a complete joke. I arrived at LAX this afternoon only to be told that double Platinum (in the same year) now means nothing. Since I arrived at 1500 and the Emirates lounge doesn’t open until 1830, I was left down in the concourse. Ok, that sounds snobby, but as a Platinum member I expect more from Velocity/Virgin. And I don’t care if Virgin is moving to a new terminal or revamping an existing one – this is poor treatment for those that stick with Virgin, even if for a short time until some sort of alternative arrangement is made … most people will know how long that sort of thing takes at LAX.

The main issue, for business travellers in this situation, is that the LAX concourse has next to zero 3G/4G service, no usable WiFi and no usable AC adapters (any that do exist are always in use). This means travelling through LAX and trying to get work done at the same time is near impossible before 1830.

Luckily the Velocity lady at Etihad took pity on me (haha) and was nice enough to grant access to the Etihad lounge, where I’m sitting as I write this (I’m on an economy ticket).

This, combined with the stupid new Getaway/Elevate (read: zero benefits)/Freedom fares are making it more and more difficult to continue with Virgin, despite having sufficient status to give a free Platinum membership to anyone I choose.

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