Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 777 Melbourne To Los Angeles

Filed Under: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia 23
Melbourne (MEL) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, May 16
Depart: 11:30AM
Arrive: 9:00AM
Duration: 14hr30min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 10K (Business Class)

I boarded through door L2, where the crew verified my boarding pass, greeted me by name, and escorted me to my seat. Virgin Australia recently reconfigured their entire fleet of 777s with a new business class product, which is gorgeous.

There are a total of 37 reverse herringbone business class seats. Virgin Australia has B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats in business class, which are in a 1-2-1 configuration. The forward cabin has a total of 24 seats.

Virgin Australia 777 business class cabin

Virgin Australia 777 business class cabin

Meanwhile the rear cabin (behind door L2), was a bit more intimate, and had just 13 seats.

Virgin Australia 777 rear business class cabin

Virgin Australia 777 rear business class cabin

I had assigned myself seat 10K, the window seat in the last row of business class on the right side (which is my usual seat preference).

Virgin Australia 777 business class seat

Right behind my seat was the premium economy cabin, which looked reasonably comfortable, and was in a 2-4-2 configuration.

Virgin Australia 777 premium economy cabin

Anyway, back to business class. While the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat is pretty common, I find Virgin Australia’s seat finishes to be gorgeous, probably the nicest of any airline offering this type of seat.

Virgin Australia 777 business class seat

There are two most common types of reverse herringbone seats. You have the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat, and then also the Cirrus seat, which you’ll find on Cathay Pacific, for example. The seats are similar, though in the Super Diamond seat the tray slides out from underneath the entertainment screen.

Virgin Australia 777 business class seat

Virgin Australia business class seat tray table

The area for my feet was spacious, which is an issue I sometimes have with other seats, where it’s super tight when in bed mode.

Virgin Australia 777 business class legroom

To the side of the seat were two compartments that could be opened. The one further back was a fairly flat storage console, which could store a laptop, headphones, a phone, etc. The one further forward was deeper, and had the power outlet, entertainment controls, etc.

Virgin Australia business class seat storage

Virgin Australia business class entertainment controls

Virgin Australia business class seat power outlet

Meanwhile the entertainment controls were next to that, in an exposed area by the seat.

Virgin Australia business class seat controls

Meanwhile on the aisle side was an armrest that could be raised or lowered. It had a storage compartment, where there was a bottle of water and headphones.

Virgin Australia business class seat storage

Virgin Australia business class bottled water

The headphones were fairly high quality, though I still used my own Bose headphones, since they’re better.

Virgin Australia business class headphones

Also waiting at my seat upon boarding were two pillows, which were stylish and plush. There was plenty more bedding later on when it was time to sleep.

Virgin Australia business class pillow & blanket

So Virgin Australia has a top notch hard product. Reverse herringbone seats are tough to beat, and Virgin Australia’s are especially stylish.

However, that wasn’t even the best part of the flight. The real treat on the flight was the service in business class, as the crew was phenomenal.

As soon as I settled in, Matt came by my seat to introduce himself, explaining that he’d be taking care of me throughout the flight. He offered me a pre-departure drink, with the choice between champagne, orange juice, still water, or sparkling water.

Virgin Australia business class pre-departure champagne

After he brought me a glass of champagne, he asked if I had flown Virgin Australia business class before. When I said that I hadn’t, he kneeled down and gave a detailed rundown of the seat, the service procedure, etc. He also presented me with the menu for the flight, which included a breakfast “card” that I could fill out before I went to sleep, so that my breakfast order would be ready in the morning.

Virgin Australia business class menu

The attention to detail of this crew was incredible, and they were really working their tails off. I saw them provide the same welcome and seat and service explanation to each passenger, and they did so with a smile and genuine enthusiasm. It’s so lovely to interact with people who seem to enjoy their jobs.

Towards the end of boarding the crew came through the cabin with amenity kits and pajamas.

Virgin Australia business class pajamas & amenity kit

The amenity kit featured eyeshades, socks, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, hand and body cream, lip balm, and face cream.

Virgin Australia business class amenity kit contents

Virgin Australia business class amenity kit contents

It’s impressive that Virgin Australia has pajamas in business class, as there aren’t many airlines that offer that. However, I found the pajamas a bit odd — they were extremely stretchy — though that also meant they were comfortable.

Virgin Australia business class pajamas

Boarding was finished by 11:20AM. There were about a dozen empty seats in business class, premium economy was almost completely empty, and economy was fairly full.

Around that time the captain came on the PA to add his welcome aboard, and inform us of our flight time of 13hr14min, which he anticipated would get us to Los Angeles early.

Shortly after the door closed the cabin manager, Steven, added his welcome aboard as well, and then screened the safety demo, which was race car themed (and a bit much, in my opinion).

By 11:30AM we began our taxi, and I couldn’t help but notice a Royal Brunei 787 tail a couple of gates over — I flew Royal Brunei just a few months ago from Bandar Seri Begawan to Dubai.

View at gate Melbourne Airport

Our taxi to the runway was reasonably quick, and I enjoyed the variety of planes I saw enroute, many of which we don’t often see in North America.

Pushing back Melbourne Airport

Taxiing Melbourne Airport

Jetstar 787 Melbourne Airport

Singapore Airlines 777 Melbourne Airport

By 11:45AM we were cleared for takeoff.

Taxiing to runway Melbourne Airport

We had a long takeoff roll, but a smooth climb out.

View after takeoff from Melbourne Airport

View after takeoff from Melbourne Airport

Just five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. At that point I headed to the lavatory to change into pajamas. There were two lavatories between cabins, as well as another one in front of the forward cabin. The lavatory was basic, though I loved that there was music in the lavatory the second the door was locked. Hah.

Virgin Australia business class lavatory

Also between the two business class cabins was the onboard bar, which had four high-top seats, as well as two small couches for lounging.

Virgin Australia business class bar

Virgin Australia business class bar

Back at my seat I decided to check out the entertainment selection. I started with the airshow, and was happy to see how much it could be customized.

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

The rest of the entertainment selection was impressive as well. There were a huge variety of sitcoms and movies; this is definitely one of the better entertainment systems out there.

Virgin Australia entertainment selection

Virgin Australia entertainment selection

Virgin Australia entertainment selection

Eventually I decided to watch The Founder, which is about the early days of McDonald’s.

Virgin Australia entertainment selection

As we climbed out, the cabin manager came through the cabin to personally greet each passenger and welcome them aboard.

About 15 minutes after takeoff meal orders were taken. Here’s a bit about Virgin Australia’s dining concept (as you can see, while they don’t offer dine on demand, there are still quite a few options for how you can enjoy your meals):

The lunch menu read as follows:

The snack menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

20 minutes after takeoff warm towels were distributed.

Virgin Australia business class warm towel

Just moments later drinks were served. I had a glass of the Ayala champagne, which was served with olives, almonds, and edamame.

Virgin Australia business class lunch service — champagne and snacks to start

About 45 minutes after takeoff the actual meal was served. They didn’t use any carts or trays for the service, but rather everything was set directly on tables. For the meal I decided to switch from the champagne to the pinot gris.

Virgin Australia business class lunch table setting

I loved the Sydney Opera House themed salt & pepper shakers.

Virgin Australia business class salt & pepper shakers

I was also offered a selection of bread, and chose the garlic bread.

Virgin Australia business class bread selection

To start I ordered the cauliflower and white bean soup with sumac. It was flavorful and beautifully presented.

Virgin Australia business class appetizer — cauliflower and white bean soup with sumac

For the main course I ordered the Tasmanian ocean trout with sweet potato, ginger, and coconut puree. Once again, I enjoyed it — the trout was moist, and I loved the puree it came with.

Virgin Australia business class main course — ocean trout with sweet potato, ginger, and coconut puree

For dessert I ordered the vanilla and mascarpone roulade with mango, coconut, and kaffir lime. While the other dishes were great, this one was incredible. This was the best dessert I’ve had in a very long time. Mmmmm….

Virgin Australia business class dessert — vanilla and mascarpone roulade

Lastly I ordered a cheese plate. Again, the presentation was nice, and I liked the three types of cheese they offered.

Virgin Australia business class cheese course

The meal service was done about 90 minutes after takeoff. Everything about the meal was fantastic, from the presentation, to the quality of the food, to the service. I can’t say enough good things about this crew, especially Matt, who was taking care of me. The service was similar to what you’d usually get in first class rather than business class in terms of attentiveness. Drink refills were constant, the speed of the meal was customized to each passenger, and passengers were constantly referred to by name.

After lunch I asked if I could have my bed made. While Matt took care of that, I checked out the bar, which was a nice space. Fortunately it didn’t seem to be utilized too much on this flight, given that it’s an overnight flight, and passengers generally try to sleep most of the way (on Virgin Atlantic I’ve had some bad experiences with the bar).

Virgin Australia business class bar

Virgin Australia business class bar

Virgin Australia has some of the best bedding I’ve seen in business class on any airline. In addition to a couple of pillows, there was a thick mattress pad and also a nice blanket that wasn’t too warm. I took a pillow from an empty nearby seat to make myself even more comfortable.

Virgin Australia business class bed

I also can’t help but point out the attention to detail in the turndown service, like how the headphones were placed on the pillow.

Virgin Australia business class bed

Around this time the cabin lights were dimmed, and they had cool stars on the ceiling.

Virgin Australia business class mood lighting

By the time I got in bed we had just over 11 hours remaining to Los Angeles. Usually I struggle to sleep for more than a few hours on a plane, though I was so exhausted at this point. I actually didn’t sleep the night before in Sydney, as I was working on US time. Instead I napped the previous afternoon from about 2PM until 7PM, and then figured I’d get a proper night of sleep on this flight.

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

And boy, did I ever. When I finally woke up we were just over two hours from arriving at LAX. What an amazing night of sleep (and for the record, I wasn’t taking any sort of sleep aids). Fortunately the flight was smooth as well, so I was never woken up due to turbulence.

Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

In terms of attention to detail, I remember getting up once in the middle of the night to pee, and I must have only been away from my seat for a minute or two. When I returned to my seat my bed had been turned down again. It’s not often that happens in first class, let alone business class.

After waking up from my great night of sleep I freshened up, and within about 30 minutes the breakfast service began. As mentioned above, breakfast cards had been distributed upon boarding, so I had already placed my order before I went to sleep. Here’s what the card looked like:

Everything was served on a single tray. For the main course I had scrambled eggs with salmon, mushrooms, wilted spinach, and haloumi. Then I had a side of fresh fruit, fruit yogurt, and a muffin.

Virgin Australia business class breakfast

To drink I had an orange juice, and I also ordered a cappuccino, which was tasty.

Virgin Australia business class cappuccino 

After that I had a couple more cups of drip coffee.

Virgin Australia business class coffee

At around 7:50AM PT the captain announced we’d shortly be initiating our descent, and expected we’d be disembarking by 8:30AM PT.

Prior to landing the cabin manager came around to each passenger to see how they enjoyed their flight.

About 10 minutes before landing the seatbelt sign was turned on, and I enjoyed the views of Socal as we descended.

View approaching Los Angeles

View approaching Los Angeles

View approaching Los Angeles

At 8:25AM we had a smooth touchdown on runway 25L.

Landing at LAX

From there it was about a five minute taxi to our arrival gate, as we crossed runway 25R, and then made a turn to park on the west side of Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Taxiing LAX

Taxiing to Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

By 8:30AM we pulled into our arrival gate, a full 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I bid farewell to the crew, and was landside within a few minutes, thanks to Global Entry.

Virgin Australia 777 business class bottom line

Virgin Australia has a terrific business class product. The hard product was top notch, with stylish reverse herringbone seats and great entertainment. The food was excellent across the board, and for business class the amenities were unbeatable, between the pajamas, amenity kit, onboard bar, etc.

But what impressed me most was the service. The crew on this flight was phenomenal. If this is representative of what service is usually like on Virgin Australia, then they have one of the world’s best business class products.

My only criticism is the lack of wifi, which I wish they would have added when they installed their new business class seats.

If you’ve flown Virgin Australia’s business class, what was your experience like? 

  1. There is political turmoil in middle east impacting airlines services especially ME3. There’s also a fiasco regarding emotional support animal in US. But you keep and stick to reviewing airline products. Really appreciate it Ben. Thanks a lot!

  2. A great review as always. Their product looks excellent, how does it compare to NZ’s C class?

    What is the best currency to redeem a reward on Virgin Australia via AMEX Membership rewards? I know DL increased the number of miles needed, or is there a better alternative like NH?

  3. They really should dump the bar. There’s always at least one obnoxious drunk who suffers from Loud Voice syndrome that permeates even the best earplugs and keeps half the cabin up.

  4. Great review! Your experience totally matches the one I had on VA’s A330 between Sydney and Perth shortly after they had installed the new seats. Superb hard product—and the crew and food exceeded all expectations (even on this domestic flight).

    I also loved the salt & pepper shakers, asked the flight attendant whether they sell these some place. Would have been a perfect souvenir to take back home to Europe. She checked but couldn’t confirm. However, she allowed me to take the ones I had on the tray table …

  5. Great review Ben. Been waiting for you to post this review when you first said you were flying Virgin Australia new Business product home. Looks like a great overall Business Class and I can’t wait to try it myself for a direct MEL-LAX trip. One question. The Suites look pretty private/enclosed which is what I like, how did you find the privacy aspect of the Suite?

  6. The Opera House Salt and Pepper Shakers are very cool! Wonder how many go missing each year as I’m sure some passengers take them home.

  7. @Lucky quick question. Do you have a separate job besides OMAT? I ask because on all reviews you say you work to match US time but if you’re working on reviews it shouldn’t matter the time, right? Just curious! Love your site as always.

  8. Great review Lucky – all the instalments! It’s great writing. And I agree on your VA review – its consistent with my experience flying their business class to LA and back and I’ve done it 6 times now since they installed the new seats. The service from crew has been very consistently good and the seat itself is awesome and I prefer it to the old Qantas Skybeds on the A380. The lounges they use however is a bit inconsistent and not up to QF standards, but I think that’s the only area where Qantas has the edge.

  9. @ frank — This is my full time job. Keep in mind writing reviews is only a small part of the blog — the main thing is covering developments when it comes to loyalty programs, airlines, etc., and that typically happens during US east coast business hours.

  10. Bad thing about Virgin Australia is how inconsistent they are in terms of equipment and schedules and lounges and etc.

    I have lounges, then some deal falls apart and I don’t get lounge access. I think I’m going to fly on a widebody until they decide to put a 737 on the route. There’s just too much they try to dip their toes in without actually jumping in. Join a damn alliance smh

  11. Wow, personalized toiletries with your name on them. That’s impressive! Sounds like a great flight.

  12. I enjoyed your review of the Virgin Australia business class, Melbourne to LAX flight. My wife and I, son and his wife did the same trip at a different time. On our flight business class was completely full however, the great service you wrote about was very similar to the really great service we experienced on our flight. Our flight with VA was just great, I would certainly recommend anyone thinking of doing this trip to pay the extra and fly business class, I am sure you won’t be disappointed. To Chitownflyer, who queried if Air New Zealand business class was as good. We have flown both VA and ANZ business class Melbourne to LAX and both airlines have just such great business class flights. I think it is the fantastic, friendly service both airlines give that makes them so good. The only thing about doing the trip with Air New Zealand is you have a stop over in Auckland for a couple of hours going both to and from LAX. Virgin Australia is certainly our main carrier by choice, their Boeing aircraft and great service would be hard to beat.

  13. What’s that gap in the bulkhead behind the mini-cabin? Like a little peephole for the crew during boarding?

  14. VA long haul products and services are amazing. Matt is outstanding and good looking!

  15. I’m planning to visit Australia next year so maybe I’ll head for Melbourne instead of Sydney so I can take this flight. Looks Fantastic !!!!

    p.s. I have to laugh: that picture at the end, looking down on the 405, that can’t be L.A. …… there’s no traffic !! But then, just to the right of the wingtip one can see the downtown skyline.

  16. Did you notice any particular difference in the coffee quality on this flight? VA was the first airline to install the Nespresso system onboard. Wonder if it made a difference?

  17. @Gardy That’s to allow the PE pax clear line of site for take off/landing, especially handy should they crash.
    There’s a flap which is shut once inflight.

  18. Question: Does Mike ever post anything on this blog? I have seen his picture in the Meet The Team section and always wonder…as long as I have been reading the blog he hasnt posted once…

  19. @ schar – Mike’s a great blogger who has written good posts on this blog before, but my guess is that Mike went to take a…hike.

  20. I had the fortune to try this seat on a just refurbished American Airlines 777-200ER LHR DFW in April and it was quite impressive. Luckily I also had a great crew, and great food. I hope I get to fly in another plane with the Super Diamond seat soon again.

  21. Hi Ben! Good review as always. What a great service from VA. Great , they are flying Boeing 777-300ER because it is really an amazing fleet. Plus service from VA. Happy to know that they are at no.13 at Skytrax Best Airlines.


  22. Hi Ben as a VA platinum I have had the pleasure of flying business a couple of times inthis configuration and it’s always the same – great. Having sat in economy hundreds of times, it has to be said, the service here is also consistently good

  23. Probably the most comprehensive review of VA’s J product I’ve seen- thanks so much! So helpful, and I can’t wait to try these for myself next week!

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *