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Virgin Australia Business Class Review, Sydney To Los Angeles

Joanna Hall

In recent years the options for flying business class to North America with a premium airline have increased. We flew with Virgin Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles not long after VA1 was launched, but how does it stack up now?

  • The Flight/Route: VA1, Sydney to Los Angeles.
  • Duration: 13 hour 50 mins, dep 0930, arrive 06:05 +1.
  • The Aircraft: Boeing 777 300ER.
  • Cabin/Seat: Business Class, Seat 6A.
  • Baggage Allowance: 32kgs x 2.
  • Frequent Flyer Program: Velocity.
  • More Information:


I’ve always found flying from Australia to North America a bit daunting. For one, the flight is more often than not in excess of 13 hours in duration, but you also depart from Australia in the morning, and arrive a day later at the crack of dawn. Bring on the jet lag! In the world of premium airline travel, nothing stands still for long, and after a hiatus of some years flying Virgin across the Pacific I was keen to see what, if anything, had changed. 

Check In/Lounge

Check-in was seamless, and before long I was heading for the Express Path and immigration. Unfortunately, due to legendary Sydney traffic, I’d arrived later at the airport than planned, so I only had time for a brief visit to the lounge, which for business class passengers flying to Los Angeles these days is the Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge. After literally gulping down a single espresso I had to head for the gate.

The Seat/Entertainment

The 777 aircraft has a 1-2-1 configuration in Virgin’s revamped Business Class, which means every passenger has direct access to the aisle. This is a big plus, as the old layout was 2-3-2, leaving someone sitting in the middle. The seat, now called a “suite” is also new compared to our last experience, and the design a big improvement. It’s 71cm wide, stretching out to 203cm in lie-flat mode, and it comes with an instruction book to explain features including the recline, which is controlled by an easy-to-use touchscreen. There are various storage compartments built into the seat so you can keep your glasses and iPad close to hand, plus a USB port, and the tray table pushes back underneath the entertainment screen. When you want to sleep the crew will make up your bed, which includes a thin mattress covering the seat, and a doona to cover you. There’s also pyjamas and an amenity kit provided, as well as noise-cancelling headphones. The18-inch screen can be controlled by touching the screen or through a handheld remote, and for entertainment there’s a huge selection of movies to choose from, plus TV shows including dramas and comedies.

The Food

The first meal on offer was lunch, with a choice of warmed breads followed by a selection of starters and mains. I always try to eat light on long haul flights, so this day I chose a cauliflower and white bean soup, followed by chargrilled lamb cutlets. There was a dessert menu, but I opted for the cheese platter as I still had some red wine left, and wrapped up my meal with a short Nespresso coffee. Express dining is also available if you prefer to sleep soon after takeoff, and there is a selection of gourmet snacks on offer from the pantry available at any time during the flight. If you want breakfast before landing, all you have to do is fill in your wake-up card and hand it to one of the crew before you go to sleep. 

The Service

On boarding the aircraft I was warmly welcomed and quickly shown to my seat, then offered a drink, followed by a newspaper. The cabin crew were the same as I remembered from previous flights, and much as you would expect of Sir Richard’s airlines; they’re young, enthusiastic and keen to please. Around 40 minutes later everyone was onboard so the aircraft door was closed, the captain made some announcements, and we were on our way. Overall, the crew quickly prepped the plane and passengers for the flight, and we left roughly on time. Throughout the flight, the crew were friendly and polite, and always on hand if you needed anything. Loves 

  • After the first section of Business Class there is a bar where you can get a drink or help yourself to pantry snacks. It’s a great place to hang out if you are travelling alone.
  • The sleeping setup including the mattress.
  • The cabin layout which offers easy access to the aisles for all passengers in Business. 

Insider Tips  

  • The pyjamas provided are really man-sized, so bring your own if you are small like me and wish to be comfortable while you sleep.
  • If you have a choice, avoid row seven and eight as they are close to the bar area.


Virgin Australia's new 777 Business Class 01:21

Introducing our new International Business Class cabin, with the first of our refitted Boeing 777-300ER aircraft now flying across the Pacific. Take a tour of our new Business Class suites, Business Class Bar and Lounge, and refreshed Premium cabin.

  • Virgin Australia's new 777 Business Class
    Virgin Austral...
    Introducing our new International Business Class cabin, with t...

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