Virgin Atlantic has quietly given its Upper Class passengers flying out of Hong Kong an enhanced lounge offering, with the carrier now giving its flyers access to independent lounge operator Plaza Premium Group’s new Plaza Premium First lounge.

The UK-based carrier was forced to close its own Clubhouse lounge at Hong Kong International Airport back in February last year, and since then has had an agreement with the independent lounge operator to cordon off a dedicated space at the West Hall Plaza Premium Lounge that’s exclusive to Virgin Upper Class flyers for a few hours prior to departure.

That was until about two months ago, however, when Virgin Atlantic – with notably little fanfare – shifted from offering passengers access to the standard lounge to the new Plaza Premium First facility, a more exclusive (and expensive) brand aimed at competing on a level closer to first class airline lounges.

“It’s a much better product, it’s more similar to what we offered previously in our own Clubhouse,” Oliver Byers, Virgin Atlantic’s senior vice president of sales and customer loyalty told Business Traveller.

“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.”

Plaza Premium officially opened the new facility back in July, and currently has two facilities under the new Plaza Premium First brand with the other located at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The First lounge is located adjacent to the East Hall Plaza Premium Lounge near Gate 1 at Hong Kong Airport.

Business Traveller reviewed the lounge in October.

Lounge review: Plaza Premium First, Hong Kong

The change to Virgin’s lounge offering in Hong Kong isn’t the only enhancement the airline is making to its Upper Class proposition, with Byers confirming to Business Traveller that the airline was developing a new “revolutionary” Upper Class seat for its Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic will take delivery of its first A350-1000 in mid-2019, and will announce further details of its new Upper Class seat early next year.

[EDIT: Virgin Atlantic passengers only have access to the Plaza Premium First lounge in general and not a separate, dedicated space within the lounge exclusive to the airline as previously stated in the article]