Virgin Australia Business Class Review, Sydney-Denpasar

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The Airline: Virgin Australia

The Flight: DJ4145 Sydney to Denpasar (1105 departure; 1600 arrival)

The Equipment: Boeing 737-800 (73H)

The Cabin: Business Class, seat 2A

Time & Date: December 17, 2012


Since Virgin Australia steered away slightly from being a purely budget carrier, and introduced business class on some domestic and short haul international flights last year, it has definitely chipped into the business of its main competitors. One route in question is Sydney-Denpasar, allowing luxury travellers to Bali the option of an eight-set business class section, and an even more comfortable flight to commence their holiday. It's also a day flight with civilised departure and arrival times with no crack of dawn check-in at Sydney, and you'll be sitting in the bar at your resort with a cocktail in hand for sunset. In the Australian Business Traveller 2012 awards, Virgin Australia won Best Domestic Business Class.

Check In:

Quick, seamless and always friendly, and as a Business Class guest (or Platinum status with Velocity) you have a generous 3 x 32k checked baggage allowance. Once you are through the hassle of security and immigration, as a business class travelling internationally (or Platinum status Velocity member), you also get to use the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge before you take off. This expansive lounge has everything including buffet meal service, alcoholic beverages and made-to-order coffees, as well as televisions, newspapers and magazines, free Wi-Fi and quiet areas away from people chatting on their mobiles.

The Service:

It's a rare thing to say, but we've never had a bad flight with Virgin whether our destination was Brisbane or Los Angeles. This flight to Bali was only just on six hours, and the crew swung into action from the moment we reached altitude. They were efficient and in friendly high spirits, always had smiles on their faces and nothing was too much trouble. We'd heard there's a cabin supervisor on each flight in charge of business class guests, with an extra flight attendant who can move around where needed. There were six people occupying the eight seats, including three young children, and at no time did we feel we had to wait for a thing. We noted that the flight attendant was great with the kids especially, making a point of subtly helping to distract or entertain if any one of them became overly restless or noisy.

The Food:

Although it was late morning, we were heading to Bali to join a five-star cruise so we felt some Champagne was in order to get things started. All Virgin Australia business class guests can enjoy a meal from a special menu exclusive to business class, and we had a nice enough three course lunch, although neither of us were especially hungry having missed breakfast at home early that morning, and tucking in to a hearty cooked breakfast in the Koru Lounge before takeoff. Refreshments, including bottled water, continued to appear regularly throughout the flight, and this also took place in economy.

The Seat & Entertainment:

The 737-800 planes featuring a business class section are in a 2-2 configuration, with eight in total. My seat was next to the window, while Ben was in seat 2C next to me. The section is separated from economy by a low level wall topped with a purple see-through screen, and a bendy cable with magnets on each end extends from one side of the wall to the other giving the clear message that economy class passengers can't enter. There is a single bathroom at the front also, exclusive to business class guests, while economy has to make do with two at the very rear of the plane.

The business class seats are finished in luxury leather, have an 85 cm seat pitch and a generous recline, and in front of my seat (on seat 1A) there was a seat back pocket where I could store my iPad while eating. There was plenty of legroom and elbow room too, although no foot rest. Instead of a built-in video screen, you get a personal player which is preloaded with movies, TV shows and music, but I understand that this is only temporary; Virgin is said to be moving to a wifi-based system which can be transmitted to your own device or a Virgin iPad. The old screens are bulky and take up a lot of room on your tray table, but to be honest on this flight I was happy enough to doze, and listen to music from my iPad.

The Verdict:

The Sydney-Denpasar route is a relatively short haul flight, but I have to admit the time still simply flew by. There was nothing to complain about on any level; the service was friendly and efficient without being hurried, the seat was comfortable, the food and drinks were good quality, and the compartment was nicely quiet. If you're taking a special holiday in Bali or have the points to use up, it's a worthy splurge.

For more information on Virgin Australia, visit

Where to Stay:

Space At Bali Villas

Jl. Drupadi 8 Seminyak, Bali.
Tel. +62 361 731 100; Fax +62 361 733 344
Space at Bali Villas is located on Jl. Drupadi, just off the main road of Oberoi (Jl Laksmana). The villas are within walking distance of numerous Restaurants and Cafes in the popular Restaurant Street. The beach and the popular Ku De Ta, La Luciola and The Living Room all just a few minutes further down the road. Space at Bali villas are in the center of what is now considered the "Prime Villa district" in Seminyak. It is 20 minutes from airport, 5 minutes from shopping area in Seminyak and 10 minutes from the beach.

The Legian Bali

Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak Beach
Bali 80361, Indonesia
Tel:  (62) 361 730 622
Fax: (62) 361 730 623
Visit The Legian Bali website

Joanna Hall