Virgin Atlantic Now Uses Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong

Filed Under: Virgin

Virgin Atlantic used to operate its own lounge in Hong Kong for its Upper Class (business class) and elite status passengers.

Early last year, they decided to close the lounge and send eligible passengers departing Hong Kong to the Plaza Premium lounge. While Plaza Premium lounges are reasonably well regarded, this lounge is also accessible by Priority Pass members.

I’m not sure about you, but I get pretty disappointed when I arrive at a lounge with a business class ticket, only to find that the lounge is also accessible to Priority Pass members. That’s because these lounges, in my experience, are generally not up to the standards of an international airline run business or first class lounge.

Virgin Atlantic has again changed the lounge they will use at Hong Kong, but this time its for the better.

Plaza Premium First Lounge

Earlier this year, Plaza Premium opened a new lounge concept in Hong Kong, which they call their Plaza Premium First lounge. Ben wrote at the time that it would offer the following, in addition to what they already offer in their ‘standard’ Plaza Premium lounges:

  • A tour of the lounge when you arrive
  • The lounge features a la carte dining and a premium selection of drinks, above and beyond what you’d find in the regular lounge
  • The lounge partners with premium brands like Elemis, TWG, Lavazza, and more, to offer better features in the lounge
  • The lounge offers complimentary massage treatments

Virgin Atlantic has now announced that eligible passengers on their nightly VS207 departure to London Heathrow will now have access to the Plaza Premium First lounge.

Virgin Atlantic has told Business Traveller of their decision:

It’s a much better product, it’s more similar to what we offered previously in our own Clubhouse. The Clubhouse experience in places such as Newark or Heathrow is key part of how we differentiate ourselves, and we needed to do better. We’re trying to do that with the Plaza Premium First lounge.

Bottom line

The last time I flew on VS207 early this year, knowing I only had access to the ‘standard’ Plaza Premium lounge, I didn’t even bother using it. I stayed in town to have a drink with an old school friend, and arrived at the airport as late as possible.

I walked past the Plaza Premium lounge on the way to the gate and there was a queue out the door to get in.

But kudos to Virgin Atlantic for spending the extra money to give their premium passengers access to a better lounge.

Oneworld remains the best option for departing Hong Kong given the numerous excellent business and first class oneworld lounges available (I’ve managed to get to both of them), but I’d be very keen to visit this Plaza Premium First lounge to see how it stacks up against the other excellent lounges in Hong Kong.

Have you visited the Plaza Premium First Lounge in Hong Kong? How does it compare to the oneworld lounges?

Comments

  1. I have been to the new Plaza Premium first lounge in Hong Kong and it is fantastic. I rate it better than CX the wing first class lounge.

    Absolutely the nicest lounge in Hong Kong.

  2. To me it’s says Virgin can’t run a premium lounge
    I thought SFO sucked when flying to London
    And their upper class seats uncomfortAble for tall pax
    The food was equally awful
    Imho all they have is a good brand perception
    I wouldn’t fly them again

  3. @ Dwondermeant – Virgin Atlantic has consistently good Clubhouses in all cities where they operate them. The issue is that Hong Kong doesn’t have a Clubhouse (anymore).

    I also skipped the Plaza Premium lounge when I flew VS207 this year (though there was a dedicated area for airline-invited business class passengers that was at least quiet).

    Sad to know that I missed out on their switch to the First lounge (which – I’ve never visited – may actually compare to their Heathrow offering, or their old Clubhouse offering at HKG).

  4. @ Dwondermeant — after dropping Hong Kong to Sydney flights it would not have been cost effective to operate their own lounge for one flight per day.

  5. I was able to use the Virgin lounge a few years back, flying DL HKG-SEA in D1. That was a great lounge with excellent service.

  6. After a visit last month, I don’t think Mark’s claim is a big call at all. And this is a great result for Virgin passengers.

    At the moment, the PP F lounge is really quiet, with many less people than were in CX Wing F. The food selection was better quality, though with slightly less choices than Wing F. The alcohol is far, far better than the CX lounges, and indeed almost any other airline-run anywhere. They have 20+ single malts, and Monkey 47 gin for goodness sake! The layout of the seats is more ‘traditional’ in the lounge design sense, and the place feels a little ‘boxy’, especially when compared to the spaciousness of the Wing F, but when it’s so quiet that didn’t affect the atmosphere negatively for me. Only the cabanas are a win for Wing F. No comparison between these 2 lounges, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’d prefer to be in the Pier F than here, just because the layout of that lounge is so much more appealing. But I’d be eating and drinking in PP F first…

  7. I agree with Mark and Mikey.

    My partner and I used this lounge last month after a long CX delay (4.5 hours) for a HKG-JFK flight. After getting to the Wing two hours early, and after the first two-hour delay (so we were in the Wing for four+ hours), we thought we were going to board at a new gate. We got to the gate, and were told that there was a further delay.

    We walked over to the Plaza Premium lounge, and as you noted James, there was a line to get in – we went around the corner to the Plaza Premium First lounge and were quite impressed. From the staff working the payment counters to the service in the lounge, everything was top notch. Servers roam the lounge clearing tables, offering drinks, etc. Restrooms were cleaned after every single use.

    Overall, it was US $50.00 well spent for two people, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use this lounge again.

    It doesn’t have the funky/vibey feel that a VS Clubhouse has, but if VS sends their Upper Class customers to this lounge, they will want for nothing.

    The bartender shown in this post was the same bartender we had, and he is exceptionally friendly and professional.

    This lounge is a great option at HKG.

  8. The Plaza Premium First is definitely the best lounge at the Airport after Cathay First Class Pier Lounge. It is smaller than Cathay Lounge and doesn’t have the views. But I actually thought the service was a bit better and personalized than at Cathay lounge, probably because it is a smaller lounge. The Plaza Premium First is way much better than any business class lounge at the airport and comes close to Cathay First in my view.

  9. Never understood the hate VA gets, though I’ve only flown their 787. I found their service to be far more chipper and smart than British Airways, the food to be excellent, and while the seat is a bit shy of storage space it made for a pretty comfy bed. The seats would be a bit tight for heavy set people (which unfortunately were on both sides of me and were pouring out) , but otherwise I found it perfectly fine. Not to mention some pretty comfy jammies in biz class and the far superior Clubhouses on both ends.

  10. The former Virgin Atlantic Club house HKG = current AMEX Centurion HKG as I know. Correct me if I am wrong. The Plaza Plaza First was actually part of their “standard” lounge near gate 1. I have a chance to access this first lounge (when it was still standard) last year and it is quiet (not so many people know at that time, not even Priority Pass). Good to know they convert it to First. I am willing to pay extra $200 HKD ($25USD) to accede this lounge.

    Btw. Doesn’t anyone know the merchant code of this Priority Pass First Lounge HKG course as travel or dining? Or something else?

  11. @IVO – The Priority Pass First lounge is coded as travel (as I see it in mint.com) at least for Chase Sapphire Preferred, and I received double points on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Hope that helps.

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