Virgin Australia (Domestic) Business Class Review
The Two Roads is proud to present a guest post by Vishal Patel, some of you may have read Vishal’s previous experiences on Singapore Airlines (links below). See how he gets on flying from Brisbane to Melbourne trying out Virgin Australia’s Business Class Domestic Option.
Brisbane (BNE) – Melbourne (MEL)
Scheduled: 14:55 -18:15
Actual– 15:12 – 18:20
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Distance: 905 Miles
Business Class – Seat 1A &1C
Virgin Australia Business Class Review
My fiancée (RJ) and I were flying down to surprise her brother for his 30th birthday party. Usually finding flights to Melbourne would pose no problems, however this weekend proved to be different. School leavers from Victoria had just finished their week long celebrations in sunny Queensland and were all heading back home! A return trip was costing over $600 per person.
Having previously flown a fair amount with Singapore airlines and Virgin Australia (VA), we both had a bounty of air miles stashed away. I normally prefer to fly Qantas/OneWorld due to status, hence meaning the Velocity/Krisflyer points were up for use. Again, we struggled to find any rewards availability and then 2 business class seats on VA popped up, costing 23,500 points each one way.
Thanks to Uber, we were at the airport 20 minutes after leaving home. At Brisbane Airport, VA has priority security lines for premium passengers, which leads directly in the domestic lounge. This however is not open on weekends, thus we had to use normal security lines. With it being a relatively quiet time at the airport, we were through security and into the Virgin Domestic Lounge within 10 minutes of arriving at the airport.
Like Qantas, VA offers lounge access to Business class, premium frequent flyers and to those passengers holding a paid lounge membership. However, unlike Qantas, VA does not have a section of the lounge reserved for business class passengers.
The lounge itself is a large space, typically styled in VA theming. There was ample seating available, but we noticed a distinct lack of natural light in the lounge. One of my favourite aspects of lounges tends to be the tarmac views, but there was none to be had.
The lounge has a large buffet/dining area and a bar/coffee station in the middle. I did however feel there was a shortage of easily accessible plug sockets.
Lounge Food /Beverage:
With us flying in the void between lunch and dinner, our expectations of food in the lounge were low. However, this is where VA scores highly above Qantas. There was a wide array of cold buffet options including salads and cold cuts, as well as the usual soup and toasted sandwiches. Both RJ and I felt that the quality of food in the lounge was above that of what is offered by Qantas.
A wide variety of complimentary wine and beer was offered, along with a barista station. Unlike Qantas, VA does not serve spirits in the domestic lounges.
Today we were flying on a VA Boeing 737-800. This aircraft is the workhorse of domestic travel for both Qantas and VA. The inbound flight was slightly delayed, which meant a slightly delayed boarding and departure time.
On this aircraft, there are 8 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration. Each seat has a pitch of 38” and width of 19.5”, which makes for a pleasant journey down to Melbourne. Our seats were in the 1st row of the business class cabin. With this being a slightly older plane, there was no Inbuilt IFE, but the crew soon came round to handout Tablet Devices preloaded with VA’s IFE system. It was to be just my luck that my table did not work and there were no spares available.
We were offered a pre-departure beverage, we both chose champagne of course, it’d be rude not to and we soon pushed back from the gate almost 20 minutes behind schedule. Soon after take off, the crew provided another beverage service and took orders for our choice of meal/snack. Again with the timing of the flight, I was not sure what to expect in terms of catering on this flight.
2 choices were offered:
- Chicken satay with Salad
- Mediterranean flatbread with hummus
Both RJ and I chose the chicken satay, and boy were we glad we did. This could quite possibly be the best dish I have ever eaten on a flight!! The combination of the perfectly cooked chicken with plenty of the rich peanut sauce and a fresh salad was definitely a winner! I even mopped up the remains of the sauce with some bread. The crew ensured our wine glasses were always topped up through the flight.
The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful and despite the bad weather in Melbourne, we landed only 5 minutes behind schedule. A good experience for a short domestic flight. The lack of IFE was an annoyance, but it did not ruin my overall experience.
Having previously flown business class with Qantas, I feel that there isn’t much between the two with their business class offerings. Both airlines offer a ‘Business Class Suite’ on board the A330 which flies to the West Coast of Australia, which is a complete game changer for both airlines in terms of domestic business travel.
Another fantastic guest post by Vishal Patel, we look forward to hearing about more of your adventures down under…..
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