Virgin Australia reopens Melbourne airport lounge after pandemic closure and refurbishment

Virgin Australia's Melbourne lounge has reopened, the last in the airline's lounge network to welcome back guests as state and international borders reopen.

The Melbourne lounge closed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and has undergone a refurbishment during its closure, offering a "more contemporary and relaxed look and feel" according to the airline, including new bathroom and shower facilities.

The lounge can seat 500 guests under current COVID-19 safety protocols, making the Melbourne facility the airline's largest in the country.

Previous features of the lounge return, including barista-made coffee from the coffee and wine bar, craft beer and ciders.

The lounge launches with a new all-day dining menu, featuring items such as penne bolognaise with parmesan cheese, potato rosti with crispy bacon and baked beans, and Japanese-style karaage chicken served with coleslaw and mayonnaise.

"We are starting to see the easing of restrictions while Australia opens up and vaccination rates climb, and it's great to have the Melbourne lounge once again firing on all cylinders as booking demand returns to the market," said Virgin Australia Group chief customer and digital officer, Paul Jones.

"Since the government announced the easing of state border restrictions, we have seen a surge in bookings for the holiday season which is great news and demonstrates the pent-up demand we'll experience from now and throughout the summer holiday period."

The reopening of the Melbourne lounge completes the airline's domestic lounge network, with its other lounges in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth. The airline's premium "Club" lounges remain closed but are set to reopen in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2022 under a new name. The Club lounges in Adelaide and Perth will not reopen.

Virgin Australia will resume international flights on December 16 with services to Fiji, later resuming flights to Bali, Queenstown and other destinations. Last week the airline announced there were 1 million reward seats available to be booked on points through its frequent flyer program.

See also: Virgin launches prizes for vaccinated passengers

See also:  Virgin introduces no-frills 'seat only' economy fare