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Virgin Australia Business Class Review, Brisbane-Sydney

By:
Joanna Hall
 

The Airline: Virgin Australia.

The Flight: VA946 Brisbane to Sydney (1205pm departure; 140pm arrival).

The Equipment: Boeing 737 800.

The Cabin: Business, Seat 1A.

Frequent Flyer Program: Velocity

Overview:

I have often considered whether flying business class within Australia is worth the money or not, especially on short hops between neighbouring cities. On a recent trip to Europe, however, my flight was routed from Brisbane through Sydney to pick up an Etihad flight to Madrid via Abu Dhabi. I was booked in business class, so I ended up flying at the pointy end of the plane for the short, barely one-hour hop. Having already journeyed for nearly an hour and a half by train to Brisbane from the Gold Coast, those extra business class perks, including priority check-in, a lounge in which to relax, eat and drink, and priority boarding, were more than welcome. But perks aside, does the business class inflight service live up to the perks on land, and is it worth the money?

Check In:

As a business class customer departing from Brisbane on a mid-week morning, I breezed past the healthy queues to the priority line and was welcomed immediately without a wait. I was already checked in for this leg of what was a long journey, thanks to online check-in, but at bag drop my additional two boarding passes for my flights to Abu Dhabi and Madrid were issued, my bag was checked through, and I was given a pass to transfer from the domestic to international terminal at Sydney Airport. Then I was invited to relax in the Virgin Australia lounge until my flight was called. It was all too easy.

The Service:

On boarding the 737 I was warming welcomed with a smile and called by my full name, and I found my seat easily thanks to it being at the front row of the aircraft. The cabin was immaculate, which is always nice to see, and no sooner had I sat down than I was offered a drink, followed by a newspaper. Around 15 minutes later everyone had boarded so the aircraft door was closed, the captain made his announcements, and we were ready to roll. Overall, the crew quickly prepped the plane and passengers for the flight, and we left the gate on-time, although there was a short delay with our eventual departure. Throughout the flight, the crew were friendly and polite, and on hand if you needed anything.

The Food:

As my flight departed just after midday we were served lunch, which was a choice of a duck curry or tomato soup with or without chicken. Having had breakfast in the Virgin lounge at the airport I wasn’t especially hungry, so I opted for the soup with chicken, which came piping hot with warm bread rolls, cheese and crackers and a citrus sponge dessert. It was top notch food, and I somehow found my appetite to polish off the lot. With two other long haul flights awaiting me, I opted to drink sparking water so I didn’t check the alcoholic options available, although I was offered a choice of red or white wine. Before long the captain announced that we weren’t far from beginning our decent, so the crew scrambled to tidy up ready for landing.

The Seat & Entertainment:

Virgin’s 737-800 aircraft has a 2-2 configuration in business with a total of eight seats spread across two rows. The seat is a dark blue faux leather style with elegant Virgin branding embossed into the back of the seat, and a decent seat pitch, made even better by being in row 1. There was a centre console between myself and my neighbour, and a small tray which could be pulled out to provide extra room for drinks or glasses, while the tray table came out from the side armrest and could be folded in half while not eating. The seat also has a moderate amount of recline. Virgin doesn’t have personal entertainment screens; you’re meant to use your own devices via a Virgin app if you want to stream any TV shows or movies. With two long haul flights ahead of me I was quite happy to relax with my own music using my iPhone and personal headphones.

The Verdict:

The flight from Brisbane to Sydney isn’t long - you’re barely in the air an hour - so it can be hard to justify a significant hike in the fare just to ride in Business Class. If you’re adding long haul legs to a short haul flight, however, it does make a difference, removing the hassle and bustle, and starting your journey in style. The seats are comfortable, the service is top notch, you get a nice meal, and you arrive feeling relaxed and refreshed.

To learn more about Virgin Australia visit www.virginaustralia.com/au. To check out the latest Virgin Australia flight offers, holidays and deals, visit our sister website, www.luxuryholidaybargains.com.au.

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