As I mentioned, we had a bit of an extended stay at the Virgin Australia lounge in Melbourne. Once we were finally ready to depart, the flight to Sydney was quite uneventful. We arrived at the domestic terminal, but despite assurances when we checked in in Melbourne, and the paperwork we were given, there were no agents there to help us with our transfer to the International terminal. We had to collect our bags, then get on the terminal shuttle bus. I was not about to pay for the bus tickets, so lugging our bags, we went to the check in area to get them. The agents there were apologetic, but this is where Virgin really dropped the ball in terms of managing things. Don’t make promises if there is no plans to uphold them.
Since we only were able to check in for our MEL-SYD flight, we had to recheck our bags at the international terminal and check in for our onward flights there. Even with our delay, we had to wait several hours until the check in desks opened. I love airports and airplanes, but I was not in the mood to just sit in a busy departure hall. To pass the time, I walked around the terminal, looked at duty free, went to the observation deck, and we still had time to kill.
I noticed the United flight to SFO was cancelled, so I was glad I wasn’t flying with them this time. I wonder how they accomdate a 747s worth of passengers. Oh the things you do when bored in airport terminals.
I also remembered I had vouchers from my SYD-MEL flight to use, so I went looking for options in the food court.
For those wondering Mrs. Fields cookies hit the spot…
Finally check in time had arrived for our flight to LAX, so we headed to the Business class queue:
We were checked in quickly, and thankfully our bags were tagged all the way through to MKE and we were given boarding passes for each leg. The computer glitch only affected those flying on Virgin Australia domestic flights. We were soon on our way to security and customs.
On our way to the lounge given all the issues we had already, I was pleased to see our aircraft already in place ready for us to board. I was a bit surprised it was already repainted in the new unified “Virgin Australia” scheme.
I like this paint scheme. Boring? Maybe, but it works for me.
As with most Virgin Australia international flights in Australia, they use the Air New Zealand Koru Club. This was familiar to me from my past trip to Australia on United. (And yes, Annie from United was there, as always).
View of international terminal from above, near the Koru Club entrance.
Not the only Kiwi to be found in the Koru Club
Welcome to the ANZ lounge, from the All Blacks
After turning in our lounge invitations, the ANZ agent told us that she would announce boarding, so we could have a seat and relax. Like other Koru Clubs I’ve visited, this lounge is very comfortable, with a lot of dark wood in the design. There is also a very good selection of food and drinks. And lots of windows for airplane viewing.
another SQ A380
Wait….A hot dog cart? Yes, this is the (in?)famous cart in the SYD Koru Club.
I didn’t partake in too much of either the food or drink in the lounge knowing that I would have lots of food served on the upcoming V Australia flight to LAX.
The Koru club also has showers available in the lounge.
It was beginning to get close to boarding time for our flight to LAX. We actually asked the agent, who told us, “Don’t worry, the gate will call, and we’ll make announcement”. We took her advice. Eventually our scheduled departure time was getting close, and just as we were about to head out, the club announced boarding for our flight. It seemed we were the only guests to wait it out, as no one else left when we did, and as we were approaching the gate, final boarding was called. It appeared that we were some of the last people to board. Whoops. That’s twice we apparently stayed too long in Koru Club lounges before a flight and nearly missed it. For those in a similar situation, I suggest you be a little more proactive to avoid the stress of boarding late.
We were back in business class for the long trans-Pacific flight. Stay tuned for a report on my flight from SYD-LAX in V Australia Business class. It was another great flight, with another celebrity in the Business cabin.