A few weeks ago I wrote about how something strange was going on with Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses outside of the UK. We now have a better sense of what’s going on.
In this post:
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses change management
In August 2021, Plaza Premium started managing Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses outside of the United States. The logic was presumably that Plaza Premium specializes in managing lounges, so not only could the company probably staff and manage these lounges more efficiently, but it could also help with monetizing these lounges among those not flying on Virgin Atlantic.
That will now be changing. It has been revealed that several Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses will now be managed by Sodexo. The company already manages the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London (LHR), and is taking over day-to-day operations at the lounges in Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington (IAD).
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Newark (EWR) will continue to be run by Plaza Premium, since at this point that’s exclusively a contract lounge, as Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to Newark.
Interestingly the timing of this coincides with Virgin Atlantic joining SkyTeam, as that’s happening as of March 2, 2023. This will allow more travelers to access Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, in line with SkyTeam’s lounge access policies.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses closing temporarily
In light of this transition, select Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses will be closing temporarily. This is because with management companies changing, there are also changes to staffing, service, etc. The following three Clubhouses will be closing temporarily:
- The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Boston will be closed March 1-April 14, 2023, and customers will be directed to the Delta Sky Club Express
- The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse San Francisco will be closed March 1-25, 2023, and customers will be directed to the China Airlines Lounge
- The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Washington will be closed March 1-3, 2023, and customers will be directed to the Turkish Airlines Lounge
- The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Johannesburg will be closed March 1-13, 2023, and customers will be directed to the SLOW Lounge
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York has already transitioned management teams, so there won’t be any closure there.
What does this mean for Amex and Capital One lounge access?
Up until now, Plaza Premium has had a partnership with American Express and Capital One, meaning that those with The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees) could access Plaza Premium Lounges. Up until now, that has included Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses outside of the UK.
A few weeks back I wrote about the odd update that Plaza Premium posted about Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, suggesting they may leave the Plaza Premium network as of the end of February. I was assured by a representative from Plaza Premium that this wasn’t the case.
I’ve followed up once again with this latest update, to make sure that continues to be the case (if it isn’t, I’ll be sure to provide an update). Of course it’s possible that Plaza Premium still has an agreement to monetize these lounges for its cardmembers, even if the company no longer manages the lounges.
Anyway, this update certainly provides a bit more perspective on why there has been some weird stuff going on with access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses.
Management of most Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses is being transitioned from Plaza Premium to Sodexo. This is the same company that manages the lounge in London, and it comes at a time when Virgin Atlantic is joining SkyTeam.
Not only has Plaza Premium managed the operations of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, but the company has also monetized these lounges, including offering access to those with premium American Express and Capital One cards. While I’ve been assured that nothing is changing, I’ve followed up just to double check.
What do you make of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses transitioning from Plaza Premium to Sodexo?