You Can Now Experience Virgin Australia’s New Business Class

In September 2014, Virgin Australia first announced their new business class product, which they planned on installing on their Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft. The new product consists of reverse herringbone seats, much like you’ll find on American, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, etc.

However, I have to say that Virgin Australia’s new cabins looked especially stylish, like the most stylish reverse herringbone seats I’ve seen.

Virgin-Australia-New-Business-Class-1

As of now, American, Delta, Qantas, and United are the only other carriers flying nonstop between Los Angeles and Australia. Of those, American is the only airline which offers reverse herringbone business class seats in the market, meaning they have the best hard product by far.

The original plan was for Virgin Australia to have the new business class product throughout their longhaul fleet by early 2016. That didn’t seem too unrealistic at the time, given that they only have five 777s and six A330s in their fleet.

However, unfortunately they hit some roadblocks with the new product due to certification failures, and as I reported in mid-2015, there would be delays.

Well, several weeks ago the first 777 went in for a refurbishment, and apparently it just came out of the shop yesterday.

In looking at seatmaps, it looks like the April 19 flight from Sydney to Los Angeles will be the first to feature Virgin Australia’s new business class. From there it looks like the Sydney to Los Angeles flight will feature the new product every other day for the time being.

Virgin

Now, I wouldn’t make any long term conclusions based on this, given that the schedule is likely subject to change. But I do feel confident that the product will be flying any day now. And once one plane has been reconfigured, the others should follow quickly as well, given that the certifications have been passed.

To figure out if your Virgin Australia flight is scheduled to have the new product, just look at the seatmap. If it’s in a 1-2-1 configuration, it’s the new product. If it’s in a 2-3-2 configuration, it isn’t.

Back in the day Virgin Australia was by the far the best airline when it comes to releasing business class award availability between the US and Australia. They aren’t nearly as generous anymore, but there is still some availability on them. The best value for booking those awards is through Virgin America Elevate, which charges 45,000 Elevate points one-way, or 80,000 points roundtrip.

Elevate-Virgin-Australia

The best way to acquire those points is by transferring them from Starwood Preferred Guest at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

Virgin-America-Elevate

Bottom line

It’s great to see Virgin Australia’s first 777 with the new business class product finally in service. I’ve been wanting to review Virgin Australia for a while, though figured I might as well wait until the new product is installed, since the old product would soon be outdated. I guess it’s now time for me to plan my trip to Sydney!

Does anyone have plans to try Virgin Australia’s new business class?

Comments

  1. Are there any trends or general knowledge on Virgin Australia business availability using VX points? I have 100K+ Elevate points and would LOVE to use them on this product.

  2. @Matt try checking using Delta’s search tool. If VA awards are available, I think you just call VX and book the flights

  3. Other than Virgin Australia, “only” United, American, Delta and Qantas serve LAX-Australia, Ben? 😉

    I’m actually surprised with five (!) airlines competing for the same routes, there isn’t more innovation with the hard product, but excited to try (Delta partner!) Virgin Australia someday soon!

  4. I flew the new business class from PER-MEL in Jan. and everything about it was great. Would be more than happy to fly from the US to OZ if they open up availability.

  5. @Matt, I tried a couple weeks ago to use VX points. No luck, even though Delta showed low-level award availability on dates I requested. The VX agent said they were having trouble getting access to VA awards seats, but said to keep trying. I’m going to try again soon myself.

  6. “I’ve been wanting to review Virgin Australia for a while, though figured I might as well wait until the new product is installed, since the old product would soon be outdated.”

    Too bad you feel that way. The best business class product I’ve flown, by far, and yes, that includes EY, EK, SQ, CX, JL, OZ, is VA J in seats 5A/C and 5H/K. More privacy than most airlines in F.

    That said, I agree this is the prettiest iteration of the reverse herringbone seat.

  7. Is there a way to check availability short of calling Virgin? This sounds like an excellent redemption for TY points, especially when transfer bonuses creep up.

  8. I flew their old business class product. The seats were outdated, but they had really good food and service and I did get a decent amount of rest. I found the ultimate “sweet spot” award ATL all the way to Queenstown, NZ on Virgin Australia for 80,000 Skymiles one way. I can’t wait to try to earn enough Skymiles for another trip so that I can try the new VA biz product!

  9. Speaking of which- Delta doesn’t appear to be displaying award space from Virgin Australia. I know they’ve had issues in the past, but if you were to search for a Skymiles award to Australia right now, the lowest one-way you’ll find is 215,000 Skymiles and none of the seats are on VA planes.

  10. It’s a bit different to the normal reverse herringbone seats, looks more like the AC and CI new business class products.

  11. I recently used one of my free Platinum Velocity upgrades from a Flexi fare to this seat on a PER-MEL flight (and will be doing so on MEL-PER in a couple of week’s time.

    Really really comfortable product. Screen right in front of you (not a fold away screen like some other Bus seats, great food and service (surely another level when International) and a good range of seat movement. Also, I’m 6’2 and there was an abundance of space.

    Great product and I’m sure it would be super comfortable on the Pacific route.

  12. I’ve flown the refurbished VA A330s from MEL-PER recently. While the finishes may look good in the promotional photos, theyve gone with some really cheap finishes which don’t make it feel luxurious at all. The fabric on the seats feels quite cheap (and shows every crumb possible) but the thing I liked the least was the purple divider and the silver ‘shuttered’ thing next to the divider. These are really cheap plastic, feel very flimsy and the purple perspex shows lots of fingerprints. While its undoubtedly better than the previous seats I think the CX finishes are more luxe.

  13. I’m surprised at poster Ben’s comments, as I’ve flown VA’s refurbished A330s fairly often (especially since you can encounter them outside of the Perth run too, with clockwork regularity with regards to a certain early morning MEL-SYD flight I regularly take).

    The CX and VA finishes are on par, with VA avoiding the biege look CX has by adding flourishes. I also find the VA seat far more ergonomical comfortable (the CX seat has limited space for your arm on the console side, which really annoys me – VA’s seat doesn’t have this problem).

    If there are any things I’d like improved with VA’s A330 seat, it that the the aisle side gap (at floor level) between the seat and the curve of the forward frame can be somewhat narrow, and that I wish the first bin was a bit deeper, but these are all fairly minor issues.

    My interest is what design differences will there be between the A330 seats and the 777 seats. I’m hoping the 777s are just not carbon copies, but offer just a few small enhancements given the much longer flight times involved.

  14. Looks like the first flight is 4/23, not 4/19.
    I’ll be flying them in December. Looking forward to reading some reviews before then, though!

  15. Lucky — can you advise the best way to book DAL-LAX-SYD on a single business award ticket (meaning Virgin American and then Virgin Australia without separate itineraries)? I don’t think I can do it with Virgin America or SQ.

    Thanks!

  16. My flights end of May and early June show the new config. Hopefully I get the new config. Booked these last year at Delta low level.

    Rob

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