Former Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reportedly cut off her ex-boyfriend David Panton’s executive access to Virgin’s Beyond VIP Lounge after she was dumped during a dinner party in early July.
Panton reportedly recently showed up at the invite-only lounge where she was told her Velocity profile was “disassociated” from Ms. Bishop’s core Beyond membership, the AFR rear window reported column.
While Mr. Panton was said to be unhappy with the news, he said AFR columnist Joe Aston’s entry refusal was: “No problem at all.”
“I was more than happy to be demoted to the [regular] club.” he said.
When informed of the incident, Bishop told the AFR: “Wait until he hears about the President’s Hall.” The President’s Lounge is the equivalent of the Qantas VIP Lounge.
Mr. Panton told Aston that he was not going to “try his luck” with the President’s Lounge, but instead would embrace life as a Qantas Life Member.
Inside Mrs. Bishop’s Public Division
Ms Bishop and Mr Panton were together for eight years before Panton reportedly called it quits over a dinner at Eastbank, Sydney’s Macquarie Street on July 1, just a week after the couple attended to a gala dinner with Prince Charles.
“I will be concentrating on living in Manly and Melbourne for the foreseeable future,” Panton said in a statement to the Herald at the time.
“I wish Julie all the best in her ongoing stellar career.”
Ms Bishop was reportedly shocked by the breakdown of the relationship with the NSW property developer.
In 2020, she opened up about the struggles of her long-distance romance, with Panton in Sydney and Bishop in Perth.
“We do FaceTime. He’s not great but it’s all you can do because he can’t go in here (WA) and I can’t go in there without having to get a waiver,” he told The Daily Telegraph at the time.
“It is very difficult, but I know that many families have been separated in this way, it is a challenge.”
Just over a month after the split, Ms Bishop seemed ready to put it all behind her, leaning into her new role as ambassador at Perth-based mining services company Mineral Resources Limited.
She seemed eager to end the saga when Today Show hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon asked her how she was doing after the breakup.
“I’m fine, but I wonder how you two are doing,” he said.
“I don’t want to think too much about it, it’s a Monday morning. As long as you’re okay,” she continued, forcing herself to change the subject to get away from the subject.
Panton has kept a low profile since the split, although New Idea, citing an anonymous source, claimed that Panton had started a new relationship with a woman from Sydney’s northern beaches.
Inside Virgin’s exclusive Beyond Lounge
Officially opening in April this year, Virgin’s Beyond lounge welcomes the highest corporate spending airlines with the invite-only lounge catering to high rollers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Lounges can only be accessed with a Beyond Program membership card through “discreet” unmarked doors in domestic terminals where only members have access and know the location.
Said to have been designed in consultation with frequent travellers, the lounge offers a range of luxurious features including a la carte dining, sophisticated spaces for relaxing and even bathing.
“Numerous seating areas are spread throughout the lounges, providing members with different spaces to dine, relax, refresh and recharge in a deliciously Virgin Australia way,” said a statement from the airline.
“End-of-day facilities such as showers, towels and premium toiletries from Appelles Apothecary Lab are also available to members.
“Private offices and meeting rooms are also available in each Beyond lounge and can be reserved by members prior to or on the day of travel.”
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said Beyond Lounge was part of the company’s “new chapter”.
“Many months have been spent researching the market and listening to feedback from our premium loyalty members, including personally speaking with some of our largest corporate clients,” he said.
“We are confident we have the right model at Beyond to generate exceptional loyalty from Australian businesses while delivering strong business results for Virgin Australia.