I recently had the opportunity to fly on the new Virgin Australia 777-300 Business Class. By using a combination of last minute timing and 80,000 Delta SkyMiles, I was able to fly from Sydney – Los Angeles!
Between car rentals and rental units, something or another has always tied me down. When I saw an opportunity to visit my friend in Melbourne for the day, I knew I had to jump on it right away! I purchased a ticket to Melbourne via Sydney on American Airlines for $500 one way and applied a systemwide upgrade to it.
For the return, I found space on the new Virgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class. It worked out perfectly because the retrofitted plane had been flying for 2 days on the new route before I was scheduled to take it. The flight to Sydney and Melbourne were uneventful but I was super excited for the return flight some 16 hours after I landed into Australia.
On the morning of my flight, I booked a separate British Airways Avios ticket from MEL-SYD due to the fact that it wasn’t pricing out the same if I tried to do it all on Delta.
Upon arrival into Sydney, I realized that the transfer process from the Qantas terminal to the Virgin Australia was much harder than expected. I almost missed my flight because I didn’t realize you had to take a separate paid shuttle bus 20 minutes from one end to another. For reference, it’s called the T bus and costs 6 Australian Dollars.
After rushing into the terminal and through security, I looked for the Virgin Australia lounge only to find out that they don’t have one in Sydney.
Virgin Australia uses the Air New Zealand lounge in Sydney and it is a beautiful place to sit and wait for your flight. Between the design used and on call chef, this lounge definitely exceeded my expectations.
I didn’t have time at all to hang around the lounge as my flight already was in the final stages of boarding. Luckily, Virgin Australia boards right next to the lounge so it wasn’t a far walk at all to get onto the flight.
Virgin Australia 1
May 8th, 2016
Business Class, Seat
As I boarded, I immediately noticed the new bar installation. It was outfitted with a couple barstools and a backlit Virgin logo. The layout and design of the bar itself were stunning and I couldn’t get over how contemporary it looked!
Boarding finished up rather quickly and our captain came on air to let us know that our flight time would be about 12 hours and 30 minutes. When I finally got the chance to sit down, I couldn’t believe how nice the seat and decor was. Virgin went for a very purple and modern feel throughout the entire plane and it really showed in their business class cabin where the seats were in a reverse herringbone style.
When it came to the features of the new seat, Virgin Australia had a guide to help passengers distinguish where everything was located within the suite/seat.
In addition to the seats colors and design, I noticed that were was a lot more storage space for small electronics like phones and tablets. This came in handy when I needed to charge my ipad as they had a designated slot for tablets.
I can’t stop raving about the seat and the colors used for it. As most of the suite was grey, the tabletops and sides were almost like a matte white. It looked absolutely stunning and pictures honestly do not do it justice.
When it came to inflight entertainment, the TV screen was of some out of this world HD quality. Couple that with the modern design of the screen software and I had a really top notch entertainment system. From what I saw, there was an adequate selection of movies and tv shows. The system could be controlled by the remote or by touching the screen. This was fairly indicative of most of the seat as the actual controls for the seat were also controlled by a separate touch screen.
If there was anything I didn’t like about the seat, it was that the table never fully stowed away. It’s very much like the Qatar Airways 787 seat in the sense that the table never just goes away, its just pushed to the far end until you need to use it.
After takeoff, we were offered lunch with a variety of options and the ability to choose when to eat should we want to sleep. I thought it was a nice touch for the crew to come and pre-reserve meals just in case we wanted them later. As far as the menu goes, here it is:
I ended up choosing the seafood option and it wasn’t as good as I thought but then again, I’m not a huge fish fan. I also opted out of dessert so I could sleep.
I think what really helps to make this seat stand out is the fact that Virgin Australia has mattress pads for this flight. It was just one more small amenity that really made me feel like I was sleeping in a real bed. In fact, I slept for a really long time after breakfast. It was also a nice touch that the attendants made the bed while I was changing into the pajamas they provided.
I woke up about 8 hours into the flight due to the light that was shining from the bar. It wasn’t a huge deal for me but they currently don’t have curtains to separate the bar entrance from the seats right behind it so all that light essentially shines onto the first few seats. I eventually got up and headed to the bar where I was able to chat with some other passengers on the flight. Everyone was equally impressed with this new business class and the crew even had rave reviews about it.
This is one part of the flight that I can’t give enough praise for. The crew, just like myself were taking their first flight on this new product. Although they were figuring out the new plane, the service never faltered. Everyone was super professional and personable. Between always checking up on me and other passengers and constantly manning the bar, they did a really excellent job at managing and meeting expectations. In particular, the purser constantly came through the cabin to make sure that everyone was making the most of the seat and helped to clarify any questions about the plane if necessary. He also spent close to 2 hours manning the bar and chatting with other passengers about how Virgin Australia runs the routes it does and his schedule.
As we landed in LA, I really couldn’t pinpoint anything I didn’t like about this flight. Everything was beyond my expectations and the seat really was as beautiful as it was advertised to be. This is a real contender in the USA-Australia market and i’m really excited that it’s flying constantly between Los Angeles and Sydney. I’m really happy with Virgin Australia and the service provided onboard. It’s no doubt that they cater to a younger more millennial crowd but others won’t have an issue with flying them at all either. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to every consider them on this route, especially considering that Qantas doesn’t have nearly as good a seat and American Airlines is well, American Airlines.