As of this past Monday, November 20, 2017, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LAX joined Priority Pass. Initially this surprised me, since the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is quite small, and since it has a fantastic a la carte dining menu, my assumption was that surely they wouldn’t open the floodgates to Priority Pass members.
So it’s not surprising that there was a catch. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX is only open to Priority Pass members between the hours of 5AM and 12:30PM. Then the lounge closes for a couple of hours, and then it reopens for the afternoon Virgin Atlantic flights, at which point Priority Pass members no longer have access to the lounge.
Nick has reviewed the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX prior to a Virgin Atlantic flight, and yesterday I had the chance to check out the Clubhouse using Priority Pass, to see just how much the experience differed. I’ll keep this review pretty short.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located in Terminal 2, so it’s accessible by passengers traveling on Delta, Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic, and WestJet (though for passengers on Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic this lounge typically won’t be accessible due to the time the flights depart).
Towards the end of the concourse you’ll see the stairs that go up a level, which is where both the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Delta SkyClub are located.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is to the left at the top of the stairs.
The lounge is small but sleek, and has great views. It’s in a triangular shape, with most of the lounge consisting of couches.
Then deeper into the lounge are a few dining tables, some communal tables along the windows, etc.
Then in the very back of the lounge is an “L” shaped booth with a cool screen behind it.
The lounge has fantastic views of the north side of the airport, including terminals 1 & 2, as well as runways 24L & 24R.
It’s not a very big lounge at all. But I already knew what the lounge looked like — my big question was what the food & drinks were like. Well, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the food & drink selection is horribly watered down compared to what they offer in the afternoons. Like, it’s worse than most other contract lounges.
In terms of food, there was whole fruit, muffins, croissants, Chobani yogurt, and one type of cereal.
Then in terms of drinks there was juice, room temperature cans of soda, filtered coffee, tea, beer (Coors Light and Corona), and several types of Frontera wine (pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay).
As far as the bathroom situation goes, the lounge has several individual bathrooms.
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Should you use the Delta SkyClub or Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse?
A few feet from the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is the Delta SkyClub. This isn’t part of Priority Pass, though if you’re flying Delta the same day and have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can access it (however, you’ll have to pay $29 for each additional guest).
All else being equal, if you’re just looking to use your laptop then I think the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse has a nicer design. However, if you want to eat or drink, the Delta SkyClub is definitely the way to go, as the food & drink selection is infinitely better.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX is a beautiful lounge, and it’s a great addition to Priority Pass. Previously there wasn’t a Priority Pass lounge in Terminal 2, so having an option is better than not having an option. This was smart on Virgin Atlantic’s part as well — they were already paying the rent for the lounge, so they might as well open it to Priority Pass for 7.5 hours, make a lot of money, and not dilute the experience for their own customers.
All that being said, the food & drink selection in this lounge is disappointing. Even among third rate contract lounges the food & drink selection is usually better. But I guess we should look at this from Virgin Atlantic’s perspective as well. They’re being paid a fixed amount for each person who uses the lounge, and they have zero competition, since they’re the only Priority Pass lounge. Priority Pass members will be happy to have somewhere to sit. Without competition, do they really have an incentive to offer more services? The only potential downside is that it may give people a poorer impression of the Virgin Atlantic brand, thinking that this is the same food & beverage selection they have for Virgin Atlantic’s own flights.
So yeah, I think the Clubhouse is a great addition to Priority Pass, though I’m still disappointed in terms of what they offer.
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