Virgin Australia 737 Business Class: Great, But Kind Of Cheap

Virgin Australia 737 Business Class: Great, But Kind Of Cheap

44

Hello from Sydney! I’m just in the middle of a quick surprise round the world trip with my dad. After flying Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 first classQatar Airways’ Boeing 737 MAX first class, and Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 first class, our next segment was from Perth to Sydney in Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737 business class.

This was my first time flying with the “new” Virgin Australia, so I was looking forward to it. I managed to book this ticket using miles (in a separate post, I shared a trick for finding multiple seats).

So, how was the experience? All-in-all, I thought it was a pleasant flight, with a tasty meal and very friendly service. However, there were some aspects to the experience that seemed kind of cheap to me. While I’ll have a full trip report soon, I wanted to share some initial impressions in this post.

Virgin Australia’s odd 737 business class cabin

Virgin Australia has eight business class seats on its Boeing 737s, spread across two rows in a 2-2 configuration. The airline recently started reconfiguring its fleet with these new seats. I really lucked out, because it’s my understanding that only a few Virgin Australia aircraft have these new cabins so far.

I have to say, the seats are quite comfortable. They should look familiar, as these are very similar to the seats you’ll find in domestic first class on American Airlines.

Virgin Australia business class seat Boeing 737

Legroom is definitely a bit better than on US airlines, and there’s even a footrest and legrest, which is a nice feature.

Virgin Australia business class seats Boeing 737
Virgin Australia business class seat Boeing 737

The cabin felt fresh and modern, and was clean. While there were power ports at each business class seat, along with a limited selection of streaming entertainment, there was no W-Fi. Virgin Australia is in the process of installing Wi-Fi throughout its 737 fleet, but it’s a gradual process.

One thing I found to be unusual is how there’s absolutely no separation between business class and economy class. It’s not just that there isn’t a bulkhead or a curtain, but there aren’t even small partitions under the overhead bins.

That’s not a huge deal, though I find it weird because the forward lavatory is strictly reserved for business class (there was consistent enforcement of this), though the lack of any curtain or barrier meant that people kept trying to use the forward lavatory. I can’t blame them, since this restriction isn’t obvious.

Virgin Australia business class cabin Boeing 737

Virgin Australia’s good food and friendly service

Virgin Australia’s business class soft product was good… for the most part. Every Virgin Australia employee I interacted with was friendly. The cabin manager, Sarah, was taking care of the business class cabin, and was professional, attentive, and friendly. The flight attendant to passenger ratio was great, with one flight attendant taking care of just eight passengers.

What was the meal service like on this roughly four hour transcontinental flight? Well, there were two meal choices, though by the time the flight attendant got to us, there was only one choice available (there’s no option to pre-order your preferred option).

The meal consisted of vegetable rigatoni with tomato sauce and pine nuts. It was served with a side of artichokes and sundried tomatoes, boxed cheese and crackers, and a small chocolate cherry cake.

Virgin Australia business class meal

The meal was very good, and drinks were constantly refilled, with a decent selection of wine as well.

Virgin Australia business class drinks

The experience still felt kind of low cost

All-in-all, I was pleasantly surprised by Virgin Australia business class, with one exception. Perth to Sydney is a roughly four hour flight, and it’s essentially the Australian equivalent of New York to Los Angeles, in terms of being a premium transcontinental route (though the crowd was a bit different in Perth — the lounge was full of people wearing high-visibility vests and chugging beers, and I also saw more mullets than I’ve otherwise seen in the past decade combined… I digress).

What surprised me a bit was the lack of amenities beyond the above. There were no pillows or blankets available. Furthermore, there were no snacks whatsoever. You’d think that maybe they could serve a ramekin of mixed nuts with the first drink service, or have a snack basket passed around later in the flight. But there was nothing.

It’s not a big deal, but in my opinion the experience would feel more premium if there were a bit more to the service. Admittedly the airline probably doesn’t have much of an incentive to improve the experience beyond what it is. Australian aviation isn’t exactly that competitive, and it’s not like someone is booking away from Virgin Australia because they don’t have a blanket or mixed nuts.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800

Bottom line

I had a pleasant flight in Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737 business class. The airline has modern cabins and seats that are a bit more comfortable than you’d find on most domestic US airlines. On top of that, the service was excellent, and the meal actually tasted good.

There’s not much to the experience, otherwise, though. There was no Wi-Fi on this aircraft, no bedding of any sort, and no snacks.

What do you make of Virgin Australia’s 737 business class?

Conversations (44)
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  1. Diane Elliott Guest

    I have flown many times on virgin 737 and I do find the lack of a division between business and economy, some what cheap. It was never very brilliant just a plastic shield, now even that is non existant, but hasnt stopped large fare increases just the same

  2. Buddha Guest

    Dear cabin manager, if you check pricing VA charge nearly the same as Qantas in J across most domestic routes now. I've stayed with you for platinum, but recently flown for work for Qantas. The QF service is mostly tired and snappy, but the lounge, especially the food, is simply beyond comparison to Virgin's half sandwich and soup offerings.
    VA isn't a mid carrier at all, it's low cost carrier charging the same as...

    Dear cabin manager, if you check pricing VA charge nearly the same as Qantas in J across most domestic routes now. I've stayed with you for platinum, but recently flown for work for Qantas. The QF service is mostly tired and snappy, but the lounge, especially the food, is simply beyond comparison to Virgin's half sandwich and soup offerings.
    VA isn't a mid carrier at all, it's low cost carrier charging the same as Qantas.
    As for "asking" for anything like snacks or spirits, the distinct and very deliberate impression is that there is nothing else available. Even an announcement to J class passengers that they "need only ask" would dispel this impression. And we all the know the joke about the only thing you get for asking for anything extra from cabin crew...is attitude! I took over twenty J class flights in three months earlier this year, some flights snacks were offered (mainly on the SYD-MEL-SYD route), others nothing but a stony, verging on hostile disengagement, especially on the BNE-DRW legs, and I recognised many regular crew on my flights. The level of service you get in the J cabin on VA depends *entirely* on the mood of the FA on the day.
    Oh, and COVID has now been over for 2 years, so any excuses about rationalising hard product is very tired.
    Don't pretend to be what you're not. I also know you don't make the rules, but you COULD proactively offer snacks and drinks. IN he J cabin a glass should be full, or whisked away. It shouldn't sit empty for over an hour, and I shouldn't have to "ask" for a refill. That's just laziness.

  3. Diane Elliott Guest

    I am a constant business traveller with Virgin, and I must admit that I find the barrier between business and economy , something that I would expect, given the huge difference in fare cost. It makes the business traveller feel just a little bit special, it also prevents the back of you seat being kicked if you are in row 2.
    It seems a cheap shot to have taken it away.

  4. Ethan Guest

    Traveling from DRW to BNE in a few months on business with VA and wondering whether to pick row 1 or 2 for me and my spouse? Seems Row two might provide more leg space and ability to store items under the front seat - but a good chance they might have ran out of meal options by the time they get to second row? What is the recommendation?

    1. BUddha Guest

      Qantas also ALWAYS run out of meal options by the time they get to row three - I have flown to BNE/SYD-DRW leg over 100 times since 1999. They load 6 of each meal on and rows 1 and 2 get the tiger prawn salad, and row 3 get what's left.

  5. Lori Sperling Guest

    I am a frequent flyer to and from Australia. I have found Quantas business class extremely disappointing. I felt like I was flying on an antique airplane. They are way overpriced. Seats are very uncomfortable. Service was less than average as well as their snack/meal they served. Virgin is a bit better but not by much. Very disappointed in the Australian fleet.

    1. Junayed Khan Guest

      I get any program, I want to booking this week,

    2. Alan Guest

      VA business I think is relatively ok. It lacks consistency with the product in my opinion. Also they fail to provide a basic pillow or blanket or amenity kit on a near 6 hour flight between Brisbane and Perth yet they did provide pillows and blankets on a shorter less than 3 hours flight from Brisbane to Vanuata the other day. Amenity kit provided on the outbound not on the return. Also no bottled bottle.on...

      VA business I think is relatively ok. It lacks consistency with the product in my opinion. Also they fail to provide a basic pillow or blanket or amenity kit on a near 6 hour flight between Brisbane and Perth yet they did provide pillows and blankets on a shorter less than 3 hours flight from Brisbane to Vanuata the other day. Amenity kit provided on the outbound not on the return. Also no bottled bottle.on the return Brisbane to Perth but was available on the outbound. Service was great on the international a little.lacking on the longer return (they were Perth based staff) who just wanted to go home it seemed! They lack.lounges outside the main airports and despite having roed up services from Cairns still no lounge! Also no international lounges available for biz travellers.. the product is ok, staff generally attentive but I agree it can sometimes feel "cheap" yet fares are often expensive especially from Perth to East Coast or even just Melbourne. Bidding for upgrades can also be cost effective with VA. On eligible tickets purchased

  6. Azamaraal Diamond

    Ben - I'm not sure the last time you flew QA business domestically or local area. Pre-covid we were in Melbourne at the Aussi Open and were transiting to Auckland. Our flight was chosen as the overnight re-eye MEL-AKL on an A330 in business so we could sleep. At the last minute a crapped-out old 737 was substituted that had very old chairs for J. Worst flight in both hard and soft product (the food...

    Ben - I'm not sure the last time you flew QA business domestically or local area. Pre-covid we were in Melbourne at the Aussi Open and were transiting to Auckland. Our flight was chosen as the overnight re-eye MEL-AKL on an A330 in business so we could sleep. At the last minute a crapped-out old 737 was substituted that had very old chairs for J. Worst flight in both hard and soft product (the food was inedible). Flight crew less than enthusiastic. We were told later this particular flight almost always downgraded to a 737.

    So in contrast your Virgin flight sounds like the best Australia has to offer.

  7. John Beeler Guest

    imagine if American did the bare minimum and put this version of the seat on 32Qs running 5+hr redeyes

  8. John Guest

    Apart from a few minor aspects, VA service is not that different to QF's. But the difference in pricing is big, with VA's business class coming in significantly cheaper than QF's. Just ask us locals. Frequent fliers know and appreciate the lower price point for VA's business class, and a few minor omissions in service does not detract nor dissuade customers. If I flew on QF more frequently, sure I'd get a small pillow and...

    Apart from a few minor aspects, VA service is not that different to QF's. But the difference in pricing is big, with VA's business class coming in significantly cheaper than QF's. Just ask us locals. Frequent fliers know and appreciate the lower price point for VA's business class, and a few minor omissions in service does not detract nor dissuade customers. If I flew on QF more frequently, sure I'd get a small pillow and maybe a packet of peanuts. But is that really worth an extra $400 - $700 more???

  9. Cam Guest

    The mullet thing is working class straight guy fashion at the moment. I don’t get it either.

    I think VA business is totally fine for the price. It’s not that different to QF and waaaay cheaper.

  10. VirginAusCM Guest

    Hi Lucky, I’m a Cabin Manager at Virgin, and thought I could clarify a couple of things for you. Firstly the feeling that Business product was “a bit cheap” is because that’s what Virgin is going for. Virgin Australia has, more or less, repositioned itself as a mid-market carrier as opposed to a full-service carrier like Qantas. The value of the product generally comes from the fact that VA will be priced anywhere from 25%...

    Hi Lucky, I’m a Cabin Manager at Virgin, and thought I could clarify a couple of things for you. Firstly the feeling that Business product was “a bit cheap” is because that’s what Virgin is going for. Virgin Australia has, more or less, repositioned itself as a mid-market carrier as opposed to a full-service carrier like Qantas. The value of the product generally comes from the fact that VA will be priced anywhere from 25% to 75% cheaper than Qantas, depending on the route.

    Whilst it’s admittedly not well advertised, as others have mentioned, there’s a full ‘Pantry’ of snacks as well as Spirits, Wines, Beers etc that guests can request at any time.

    Pillows and blankets are a notable omission in Business Class, particularly given that they’re not offered on any flights, even overnight flights.

    Coming out of covid, VA picked up 9 737-800s that came second-hand from SilkAir. These came with a significantly larger fwd galley than Virgin’s other aircraft. Given that it was too difficult to retrofit Virgin’s standard galley configuration, and also to avoid removing a row of seats, VA chose to do without a divider between Business and Economy. Every other VA aircraft have the snazzy purple perspex glass and ‘disco rope’ behind row 2. This has been a constant annoyance of Cabin Crew, as we’re expected to monitor the flow of passengers and send economy passengers to use the toilets at the back of the aircraft. However, as you noted, the seats themselves were being trialled and will be rolled out to all future aircraft deliveries, starting with the MAXs.

    I’m delighted that you got the chance to try our current product offering, and am disappointed that it wasn’t to your expectations. I hope this clarifies some of your comments.

    1. InceptionCat Gold

      Dear VirginAusCM,
      Guten Abend from Germany! Thought i'd reply to your comment because i had 3 excellent flights with VA in April!

      I flew VA business BNE-CNS and on return CNS-BNE-SYD on the 'old' B737 with the disco rope between business and eco.
      Prior to those flights i had flown QF in business SYD-AYQ-SYD-BNE and can compare both airlines.

      VA was by far the better one here. VA had a welcome drink with...

      Dear VirginAusCM,
      Guten Abend from Germany! Thought i'd reply to your comment because i had 3 excellent flights with VA in April!

      I flew VA business BNE-CNS and on return CNS-BNE-SYD on the 'old' B737 with the disco rope between business and eco.
      Prior to those flights i had flown QF in business SYD-AYQ-SYD-BNE and can compare both airlines.

      VA was by far the better one here. VA had a welcome drink with a choice of sparkling wine, water or juice. QF just distributed tiny bottles of water for the almost 4 trek to Ayers Rock and back.

      On VA I had the most memorable green curry on a plane in as long as i can remember. Service was swift and what @Ben would call "the crew sprung in action" soon after take off.

      Then the amazing crew. They explained what wine they were serving, what year etc. So friendly, fun and just brilliant.
      Mid-flight they asked if we wanted snacks....nuts and crisps were available. I seem to have had a rather different experience than Ben. Wine was poured generously.

      Then the VA domestic lounge in Brisbane is every kind of fabulous. Compare that to the QF lounge in SYD and 'cheap' is the last thing i'd call VA.

      Dear Cabin manager, give a massive thanks to your amazing crew. I'd choose VA any day over QF especially with the price difference.

  11. KCW Guest

    Judging by the picture of the business/economy class divide, it looks like you might have been flying one of VA’s recently acquired SilkAir(?) 737s.

    IIRC, these don’t have the usual bulkhead and plastic divider normally seen separating Business and Economy and therefore don’t have the magnetised rope to keep economy passengers from wandering to use the forward business lavatory.

    FWIW, this is what it usually looks like across most of the fleet: https://images.app.goo.gl/pM6oD5sxGibmWNok8

    Judging by the picture of the business/economy class divide, it looks like you might have been flying one of VA’s recently acquired SilkAir(?) 737s.

    IIRC, these don’t have the usual bulkhead and plastic divider normally seen separating Business and Economy and therefore don’t have the magnetised rope to keep economy passengers from wandering to use the forward business lavatory.

    FWIW, this is what it usually looks like across most of the fleet: https://images.app.goo.gl/pM6oD5sxGibmWNok8

  12. Nohohon Guest

    Hi vis jackets?
    I refer back to my comment on your first post where I mentioned there’s high demand due to the resources sector. That’s them!

  13. Paddy Guest

    Hi Ben,
    Just wondering if you could comment further on the people in High visibility clothing in Perth? And why bringing up that and their hair styles has anything to do with the Virgin Australia product?

    1. Rich Guest

      Perth resident here. A lot of the mines in Western Australia are in remote locations and the workforce work on a fly-in fly-out basis from Perth.

      If you are flying on a day when it’s shift-change at the mines then the lounge will be absolutely packed with miners, who will be wearing their work uniform of hi-viz.

      Working in the mines is a way to earn very good money even with relatively little...

      Perth resident here. A lot of the mines in Western Australia are in remote locations and the workforce work on a fly-in fly-out basis from Perth.

      If you are flying on a day when it’s shift-change at the mines then the lounge will be absolutely packed with miners, who will be wearing their work uniform of hi-viz.

      Working in the mines is a way to earn very good money even with relatively little education or qualifications. So there’s a bit of a stereotype of all FIFO workers being “cashed up bogans.”

    2. Paddy Guest

      Hi Rich, I am one of those FIFO workers. I want to know from Ben himself why he even felt the need to mention FIFO workers and the hairstyles in the first place. It was irrelevant to the Virgin Australia service.

    3. Darron Guest

      Many, many Bars & Restaurants in Australia have dress code rules (No work wear) - Mine sites also have toilets/change room facilities.

  14. 2PAXfly Member

    Hi Ben, You are absolutely correct about Virgin being 'A little cheap'. Mind you that same term could be used to describe the service, although not the prices on Qantas at the moment.

    Here's how Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka described their positioning:
    "Australia already has a low-cost-carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won't be either. Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a...

    Hi Ben, You are absolutely correct about Virgin being 'A little cheap'. Mind you that same term could be used to describe the service, although not the prices on Qantas at the moment.

    Here's how Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka described their positioning:
    "Australia already has a low-cost-carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won't be either. Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service."

    The value judgement is up to us, I gather. Oh, and welcome to Sydney. I flew the other way yesterday but on Qantas business. I'm now in Perth. Enjoy Australia

  15. Coasty58 Guest

    I've flown VA Business a few times last yr to Indonesia. What it lacks in features as far as screens, privacy, pillows or blankets , it makes up for with great service & cheaper pricing . For medium haul flights, it's still very comfortable. The meals were excellent & the cabin crew were terrific . No issues overall

  16. Jane blogs Guest

    Welcome to Australia Lucky! Your experience is pretty much standard for both QF & VA flights albeit the QF flights are way more expensive. Whilst there is no physical divide between J & Y on the planes, Virgin normally do put a nightclub style rope across to help the restroom situation but QF don't make any effort at all to stop people traipsing to the front. Similarly embarking & disembarking, V try to let the...

    Welcome to Australia Lucky! Your experience is pretty much standard for both QF & VA flights albeit the QF flights are way more expensive. Whilst there is no physical divide between J & Y on the planes, Virgin normally do put a nightclub style rope across to help the restroom situation but QF don't make any effort at all to stop people traipsing to the front. Similarly embarking & disembarking, V try to let the J pax off first, on QF its a free for all. Your experience would also be the same if you were flying ex Australia to NZ or other Pacific countries - there are mostly only old 737's on those routes so ideally one needs to find an Emirates or Qatar flight (or others) if seeking a decent experience. With such a limited no of aircraft for both VA and QF, you have to search v carefully to find a large plane these days. And as others have mentioned, WA is the home to Australia's deep mining wealth so the lounge & flights are always full of hi vis, mullets and FIFO workers!!

  17. Michael Guest

    Not too sure why you would have to ask for a chocolate in business class. What are the staff actually doing if not offering such to the limited clientele in business class?

  18. BZ Guest

    Lucky if the experience feels not like a full service airline it is because Virgin Australia is a mid market carrier and often has business class fares thousands of dollars cheaper than its competitors on Perth flights.

    The Qantas experience is pretty much the same unless you get on one of the very few flights operated by the geriatric A330

  19. Matt Guest

    It’s not advertised as such, but Virgin Australia does have additional snacks available on request in business class. Things like crisps, chocolates, nuts, etc. All you need to do is ask ;)

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      “All you need to do is ask ;)”

      Or perhaps all *they* have to do is offer. :) :)

  20. Simon Guest

    Hi Lucky! For historical context, Virgin started as a low cost carrier back in the day (as Virgin Blue) and has changed over the years to become more of a full service airline, whilst still trying to hang on to its “hey, we’re hipper and cooler than Qantas” vibe. Western Australia is a big mining centre, and the FIFO (“fly in / fly out”) community is strong there. Hence the hi-viz, mullets and beer swilling (not to generalise!). Enjoy your trip through AUS!

  21. James Guest

    Blankets haha wake up idiot

  22. Mark Guest

    I love Australia, but its population is like 27 million compared to the 350 million or so in the USA.

    New York and Los Angeles are economic powerhouses. While Sydney and Perth do have substantial economies, they are peanuts compared to NY and LA. (Again, I do love Australia, but facts are facts.)

    So just because SYD-PER is approximately the same distance as JFK-LAX absolutely does not justify the similar levels of service between those...

    I love Australia, but its population is like 27 million compared to the 350 million or so in the USA.

    New York and Los Angeles are economic powerhouses. While Sydney and Perth do have substantial economies, they are peanuts compared to NY and LA. (Again, I do love Australia, but facts are facts.)

    So just because SYD-PER is approximately the same distance as JFK-LAX absolutely does not justify the similar levels of service between those cities (and even in the States, those service levels are average at best on UA, DL, and AA...maybe Mint is the exception).

    Friendly service, a decent meal, and flowing wine seems like a great ride when crossing the Australian continent.

  23. Kevan Guest

    Maybe they give out blankets on overnight variants of this route? Australia is big and I suppose Sydney and Brisbane probably are just far enough to get a little sleep to Perth but Adelaide and Melbourne a tiny bit too close to allow for much sleep.

  24. NicktheGreek Guest

    I appreciate you don't know what you don't know, but I'm assuming you feel this stacks up as a good decision in comparison to the QF option given that was to be a cash fare? Also keen to know what the first food option was that ran out!

    Absolutely always love the Virgin crews, especially those working the front. They're always super friendly and helpful in my experience, consistently so, more than any other airline I've flown.

  25. Aussie Guest

    No surprises here. Virgin started as “Virgin Blue”, budget no frills airlines (similar to Ryan air). Then they tried to go “full service” when they rebranded as Virgin Australia (with limited success). Then they went bankrupt and now have risen from the ashes after “restructuring” as budget virgin blue in virgin Australia clothing.

  26. Anthony Sydney Guest

    I have flown Virgin Australia 737-800 both Domestically and Internationally.
    All planes have partioning between Economy and Business as well as I magnetized rope across the aisle between Economy and Business Class.
    I can not say that the meals on Virgin Australia are that good.
    Internationally I find the non-provision of pillows and blankets to be unusual.
    Virgin Australia does have inflight entertainment but one must download the application to view...

    I have flown Virgin Australia 737-800 both Domestically and Internationally.
    All planes have partioning between Economy and Business as well as I magnetized rope across the aisle between Economy and Business Class.
    I can not say that the meals on Virgin Australia are that good.
    Internationally I find the non-provision of pillows and blankets to be unusual.
    Virgin Australia does have inflight entertainment but one must download the application to view to view on you mobile or tablet
    On all my flights both Domestically and Internationally watch the inflight Entertainment is nearly impossible
    Flying Virgin Australia Business Class internationally costs roughly the same as Qantas who provide pillows, blankets, entertainment and amenity kits

    1. Argus Tuft Guest

      "All planes have partitioning.."

      Clearly not.

  27. skimegheath Gold

    Hi vis vests are no great shock. WA has a massive mining sector. Most likely FIFO workers.

  28. Duck Ling Guest

    @ Morgan I only really find the QANTAS A330's with flat beds as a justification for the price difference between QF and VA on the PER-SYD run.

    Pre COVID it was rare to see QF operate a 737 SYD - PER now on at least half of their flights that is what you are likely to end up in. The hard product is virtually the same as VA on these aircraft.

    Admittedly, they...

    @ Morgan I only really find the QANTAS A330's with flat beds as a justification for the price difference between QF and VA on the PER-SYD run.

    Pre COVID it was rare to see QF operate a 737 SYD - PER now on at least half of their flights that is what you are likely to end up in. The hard product is virtually the same as VA on these aircraft.

    Admittedly, they do also have wifi and an arguably better lounge in PER but I find their Business Class catering poor and not really any better than VA.

  29. staradmiral Guest

    Once again, running out of food options in business class is unacceptable. They should know how much food to stock based on data from prior flights. Each item should be catered at average + 2 standard deviations. per this math a passenger would only be disappointed 5% of flights

    Yes that results in a food surplus, but the crew could eat the rest, or maybe some passenger will wants seconds, or it could be sold to economy passengers.

    1. asprino Guest

      There is no another transcontinental market like the US (maybe Canada is a bit like it). The two coasts are well developed but the middle are fly over states. In Australia and Europe or even China that's not the case.

      Only the distance is similar

    2. Robert Fahr Guest

      That leg rest/foot rest would be appreciated on a US domestic first class flight.

    3. Robert Fahr Guest

      That leg rest/foot rest would be appreciated on a US domestic first class flight.

  30. James Guest

    Hi Lucky! As an Australian reader I just want to point out that you very luckily got one of Virgin Australia’s two ‘test’ aircraft, where they are trialing a different Business / Economy hard product.

    This seat has a legrest and more storage options than the typical VA 737-800 J seat, and is inherited from Silkair/Singapore Airlines. All other VA aircraft have a bulkhead between Business and Economy, with their signature purple perspex screen....

    Hi Lucky! As an Australian reader I just want to point out that you very luckily got one of Virgin Australia’s two ‘test’ aircraft, where they are trialing a different Business / Economy hard product.

    This seat has a legrest and more storage options than the typical VA 737-800 J seat, and is inherited from Silkair/Singapore Airlines. All other VA aircraft have a bulkhead between Business and Economy, with their signature purple perspex screen. Hope this helps clarify why there’s no divider!

  31. Andrew Guest

    Where's the rest of the french Alps trip reviews... It's been a couple of weeks since the last review

  32. Morgan Diamond

    Yeah VAs model is more a no frills experience and focus on the basics and that is reflected in their price. It is a shame you couldn’t fly QF as I have flown PER - SYD several times in QF business and as much as it exorbitantly overpriced it is a good flight. Also yeah here in Perth home to all the mining FIFOS so they of course fly heaps and then get status.

    Did you stay at the Ritz in Perth?

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VirginAusCM Guest

Hi Lucky, I’m a Cabin Manager at Virgin, and thought I could clarify a couple of things for you. Firstly the feeling that Business product was “a bit cheap” is because that’s what Virgin is going for. Virgin Australia has, more or less, repositioned itself as a mid-market carrier as opposed to a full-service carrier like Qantas. The value of the product generally comes from the fact that VA will be priced anywhere from 25% to 75% cheaper than Qantas, depending on the route. Whilst it’s admittedly not well advertised, as others have mentioned, there’s a full ‘Pantry’ of snacks as well as Spirits, Wines, Beers etc that guests can request at any time. Pillows and blankets are a notable omission in Business Class, particularly given that they’re not offered on any flights, even overnight flights. Coming out of covid, VA picked up 9 737-800s that came second-hand from SilkAir. These came with a significantly larger fwd galley than Virgin’s other aircraft. Given that it was too difficult to retrofit Virgin’s standard galley configuration, and also to avoid removing a row of seats, VA chose to do without a divider between Business and Economy. Every other VA aircraft have the snazzy purple perspex glass and ‘disco rope’ behind row 2. This has been a constant annoyance of Cabin Crew, as we’re expected to monitor the flow of passengers and send economy passengers to use the toilets at the back of the aircraft. However, as you noted, the seats themselves were being trialled and will be rolled out to all future aircraft deliveries, starting with the MAXs. I’m delighted that you got the chance to try our current product offering, and am disappointed that it wasn’t to your expectations. I hope this clarifies some of your comments.

5
TravelinWilly Diamond

“All you need to do is ask ;)” Or perhaps all *they* have to do is offer. :) :)

4
Mark Guest

I love Australia, but its population is like 27 million compared to the 350 million or so in the USA. New York and Los Angeles are economic powerhouses. While Sydney and Perth do have substantial economies, they are peanuts compared to NY and LA. (Again, I do love Australia, but facts are facts.) So just because SYD-PER is approximately the same distance as JFK-LAX absolutely does not justify the similar levels of service between those cities (and even in the States, those service levels are average at best on UA, DL, and AA...maybe Mint is the exception). Friendly service, a decent meal, and flowing wine seems like a great ride when crossing the Australian continent.

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