Credit card users are second class citizens in the Virgin Atlantic lounge…


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to the Virgin Atlantic Lounge policy which I refer to below as apartheid. I now realize that the use of this word was not in good taste, even if technically correct. Therefore, I updated this story to avoid confusion. I recently visited the apartheid museum in south africa and the word was on my mind but it wasn’t even constructive to imply a connection between virgin atlantic policy and south state policies -African from 1948 to 1994. Thank you all for holding me accountable.

Those entering by credit card are now second-class citizens at the Virgin Atlantic Lounge in Washington Dulles. I hope it’s a fluke and not a sign of things to come at the Virgin lounge chain outside London run by Plaza Premium.

Second Class Citizenship for Credit Card Guests in the Virgin Atlantic Lounge

I specifically chose the Virgin Atlantic lounge (via my Capital One Venture X card) because of its à la carte menu, which I was looking forward to after skipping breakfast and lunch.

After checking into the lounge, I walked to the restaurant and sat down. I asked one of the staff if there was a menu and she said there was only a buffet (and a very limited buffet at that…).

Other people sitting around me were getting food from the kitchen and I can’t imagine Virgin Atlantic suddenly deciding to stop offering menus in their lounges.

I had a QR code from a previous visit and pulled it out. Indeed, the menu. I put in my table number, ordered a plant based soup, salad and burger and submitted my order.

It arrived promptly, with the same lounge staff member saying, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were flying on Virgin today.” I told him no. Then she asked me how I ordered food and I said I have the QR code. She replied that about a month ago the salon eliminated a la carte dining for those entering via American Express or Plaza Premium…

Treating certain guests like second-class citizens at the same time in the same lounge is not only annoying, but quite underhanded considering Plaza Premium sells single access to this fair and particularly praises the à la carte menu:

Passengers who don’t know better might also come away disgusted with Virgin Atlantic, which also poorly reflects their brand.

It’s one thing to say that à la carte meals are only available at certain times, but it’s a whole other thing to depreciate customers with credit cards, which many of us sadly predicted when Plaza Premium took over management of these lounges.


I’m tempted to share the QR code here and encourage everyone to order off the menu, but I’ll contact Plaza Premium first. It is unclear whether this is an IAD-only policy or will apply across the Virgin Atlantic lounge network operated by Priority Pass.

ps The food was very good…


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