We had an early departure from the Park Hyatt Melbourne, which began a very long day of travel. It started with a taxi in Melbourne, then 2 bus rides, flights from MEL-SYD-LAX-MSP-MKE and eventually ended with a taxi ride back to our house. The odd thing about flying from Australia to the US, is that you can experience 2 sunrises on the same day. This post is focused on the first part of that day’s journey.
Our trip started with a few stresses, which only got worse as the day went on. Upon check in at the Melbourne airport, we were told that due to a computer system change, all Virgin Australia flights would be treated as one ways, in that bags could not be checked through and we would have to check in separately for subsequent flights. I didn’t think too much of it, but this became a major issue later on, which I will explain more soon.
Ugh, hand written baggage tags and written only to my first stop…
This computer matter led to delays all over the Virgin Australia system as well, and our flight to Sydney was delayed because of this. Being the optimist and travel nerd that I am, I realize this meant more time in the lounge, so I couldn’t complain too much about the delay.
We headed to the Virgin Australia Lounge, which is located outside security, but only a few steps to the domestic screening area. Thankfully clearing security on Australia domestic flights is very easy. Shoes on, belts on, only laptops out. We entered the lounge, and I was quite impressed with how clean and fresh it looked.
Also being Sunday morning, there were very few guests. Since we left early from the Park Hyatt, the Regency Club was not yet open, so I was happy to have some decent breakfast options in the lounge.
The pancakes were decent, in additional there was various breads, fruit, and muesli, plus a selection of coffee and teas. They also had an impressive beverage selection, although I did not partake at this early hour.
Our boarding time was approaching, so we headed through security and to the gate, but when we arrived, there was no plane, and no indication of when it might be arriving. There was no agent to ask for any updates. Annoyed, I headed back to the lounge to relax and try to find out more information about the delay. Thanks to the Virgin Australia computer glitch, the departure monitors were not updated properly, and even the agent at the lounge couldn’t answer when our flight might actually be departing. Eventually I was told that they determined which aircraft would be operating our flight to Sydney and the approximate departure time. That was all too complicated.
So we had more lounge time…
I even scoped out the shower room, which is a feature of most Virgin Australia lounges.
Finally, our plane had arrived, and we headed back to our gate. Unfortunately, they had down gauged it to an E-190, so our premium economy experience consisted of the same seats with a few more inches of legroom.
Melbourne was a great city, and I hope to return. Hopefully with less issues at the airport next time. Before taking off, I saw this sign and had to share:
Don’t forget your manners!
Next up, our arrival in Sydney, and after some additional delays, we checked in with V Australia and visited the Air New Zealand Koru Club.