Introduction: The Flight Of A Lifetime
Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Business Class 787 Washington To Abu Dhabi
Review: Shangri-La Abu Dhabi
Review: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Residence Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad Residence A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney
Review: Hyatt Regency Sydney
Review: Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 737 Sydney To Melbourne
Review: Etihad Lounge Melbourne Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 777 Melbourne To Los Angeles
Virgin Australia 23
Melbourne (MEL) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, May 16
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.
Meanwhile the rear cabin (behind door L2), was a bit more intimate, and had just 13 seats.
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).
Right behind my seat was the premium economy cabin, which looked reasonably comfortable, and was in a 2-4-2 configuration.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile the entertainment controls were next to that, in an exposed area by the seat.
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.
The headphones were fairly high quality, though I still used my own Bose headphones, since they’re better.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The amenity kit featured eyeshades, socks, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, hand and body cream, lip balm, and face cream.
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.
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.
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.
By 11:45AM we were cleared for takeoff.
We had a long takeoff roll, but a smooth climb out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eventually I decided to watch The Founder, which is about the early days of McDonald’s.
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.
Just moments later drinks were served. I had a glass of the Ayala champagne, which was served with olives, almonds, and edamame.
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.
I loved the Sydney Opera House themed salt & pepper shakers.
I was also offered a selection of bread, and chose the garlic bread.
To start I ordered the cauliflower and white bean soup with sumac. It was flavorful and beautifully presented.
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.
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….
Lastly I ordered a cheese plate. Again, the presentation was nice, and I liked the three types of cheese they offered.
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 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.
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.
Around this time the cabin lights were dimmed, and they had cool stars on the ceiling.
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.
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.
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.
To drink I had an orange juice, and I also ordered a cappuccino, which was tasty.
After that I had a couple more cups of drip 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.
At 8:25AM we had a smooth touchdown on runway 25L.
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.
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?