Tonight (in the US) is the last night Virgin Australia Velocity Gold Frequent flyers can access the Star Alliance lounge at Los Angeles’ LAX airport and it’s not going to be pretty.
Due to an increase in the number of Star Alliance airlines travelling through LAX the usual lounge situation for Virgin Australia guests has taken a huge beating in recent months.
Late last year it was announced that Platinum Velocity flyers would have to access the Etihad lounge which at first seemed like a positive, but it now seems like a strategy to reduce the load on the Star Alliance lounge.
That hasn’t worked, and Star Alliance has not renewed Virgin’s contract to allow guests in, and as of Wednesday 11th in LA Gold Frequent Flyers (not travelling in Business Class) will get no lounge access at all until a permanent solution is found.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson told EFTM “Virgin Australia is pleased to offer our Velocity Platinum and Gold members access to domestic and international lounges around the world. Due to current capacity limitations in Los Angeles International Airport, our Gold members travelling in Economy or Premium Economy are currently unable to access a lounge prior to departure. This is a temporary situation and we are working on a solution as a priority. We sincerely apologise to these guests.”
EFTM understands Virgin is working frantically behind the scenes to secure long-term arrangements, unfortunately this may not take place until the new Delta terminal and lounge is opened – likely in the middle of this year.
Understanding the likely backlash from frequent flyers, Virgin Australia is offering a $40 food and beverage voucher per person for use at three premium food outlets in the Tom Bradley terminal.
As an extra carrot – 10,000 extra Velocity points.
I for one would be ok with that, but let’s be honest folks, lounge access isn’t about the free food and drink, it’s about the status, the bragging rights – it’s going to be some time before Virgin can recover from this – especially for those passengers about to travel home and unaware of the situation.
One of the key benefits of the Star Alliance lounge in my view is the facilities like Showers – no voucher or points can help with that.