Update On Virgin Australia’s New Business Class Installation

In mid-April I wrote about Virgin Australia’s new business class product, which is finally being rolled out on their 777-300ER aircraft. This new product was first announced in 2014, though unfortunately there have been significant rollout delays due to issues with getting the seats certified.

Virgin-Australia-New-Business-Class-3

As of a couple of months ago, Virgin Australia’s first reconfigured 777 is finally in service, and flying between Los Angeles and Sydney. The cabin looks stunning, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who is anxious to fly with Virgin Australia.

Virgin-Australia-New-Business-Class-1

I figured I’d share an update as to the status of Virgin Australia’s 777-300ER reconfigurations, given that getting the new product has come down to luck of the draw up until now.

How many Virgin Australia 777s have the new business class?

Virgin Australia has a total of five 777-300ER aircraft in their fleet, and as of now they fly exclusively between Los Angeles and Sydney/Brisbane.

Virgin Australia is reconfiguring these planes at fast speeds, per this FlyerTalk thread:

  • Three 777 aircraft already feature the new business class cabins
  • The fourth 777 is being reconfigured right now, and should be done by August 1
  • In August the fifth (and last) 777 will go in to be reconfigured

In other words, if all goes as planned (which it seems like it will, at this point), by August 2016 all of Virgin Australia’s 777s that are in service will feature the new business class product.

As it stands, it looks like Virgin Australia is already consistently flying the reconfigured 777 between Sydney and Los Angeles, while the Brisbane to Los Angeles route alternates between the new and old configuration at the moment.

Booking Virgin Australia’s new business class

If you’re someone who recently transferred Starpoints to Virgin America Elevate to take advantage of JetBlue’s Points Match promotion, you may be especially interested in these flights.

JetBlue-Points-Match-1

I’d note that the best use of Virgin America Elevate points is for travel on Virgin Australia — a one-way business class ticket will cost you just 45,000 Elevate points, with no fuel surcharges.

Virgin-America-Elevate

The catch is that Virgin Australia only seems to make award space available to partner airlines within a week of departure, so you’ll have to be prepared to book pretty last minute. However, within that timeframe space opens up pretty consistently.

Virgin-Australia-Availability

If you can swing it, though, it’s a great use of points. I plan on trying Virgin Australia’s new business class product soon.

Bottom line

Right now, three of the four Virgin Australia 777s flying already feature the new business class product, and by August all the planes flying will feature the new product. Kudos to Virgin Australia for how quickly they’re reconfiguring their fleet. The icing on the cake is how many people have Virgin America Elevate points due to the recent JetBlue promotion. This is a fantastic use of those points, assuming you’re willing to book last minute.

Comments

  1. That’s great if you can fly next week, otherwise the next reward VA flight to Australia is not until April 2017, and then only 1 seat. While VA has good domestic reward availability, planning for long haul is impossible from my experience, which is too bad as it looks like a great way to go down under.

  2. Hi!
    The award availability you are showing here is through a partner airline’s website (Delta). Does it mean that I need to transfer points from my SPG account to Delta in order to book these award seats?
    Just wondering as Virgin Australia quotes a R/T at more or less 1 million points on their own website… As opposed to the 45K shown here :T
    I’d rather pay 45K points for business R/T on Virgin Australia than 80K points on Delta for a one way seat…
    Thank you!

  3. Julien, call Virgin America, ask to see if the flights you want are available. If so transfer the SPG points to Elevate then call back to ticket it. The Delta site is simply showing availability. You aren’t booking with them.

  4. The same product is installed on their A330’s as well, which they operate on some domestic routes. I tried it earlier in the year from Perth to Sydney. Excellent hard product – definitely one of the most eye-catching cabins I’ve experienced.

  5. @Julien:
    Prices are one way:
    80k with Delta points
    45k with Virgin AMERICA points
    102k with Virgin AUSTRALIA points (only for flights where Business Reward space is available. Will probably match Delta and Virgin America availability)

    There are taxes and fees with all of the above and the amounts may vary.

  6. @ Tom and MarkS
    Thanks guys! It is indeed for on-way, my bad.
    Still 90K R/T through Virgin America sounds like a good deal to me! 😉

  7. I travelled on Virgin Australia to LAX a couple of times about 5 years ago on their old business class product. Loved it. It was when completely flat, horizontal beds in business out of Australia to the USA were rare. The hard product was very good for the time, but the soft product put many others, including Qantas to shame. In the two or three return trips I have done with them – there was only one where the service let them down. It wasn’t bad, just not as good as we had come to expect.

    They were also amazing when my partner got ill on a return flight to Sydney. They constantly checked in with him or me to make sure he was comfortable, and had what he needed. We also had a brush-with-fame meeting Dot Jones, who was charming, and joined us for drinks at the bar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_Jones

    When they initiated this route, award availability was phenomenal. We did 2 trips, booking about award flights about 3 months out – now, I agree with @MarkS above – availability mid-term is crap. Pity as I would love to sample their product again.

  8. Looks nice but room is tight in the foot cubby. Much prefer the new Qantas biz suite for hard product. And when it comes to soft product and service as well as lounges etc … Well Qantas kills Virgin in those areas.

  9. I flew this last month. Hard to believe but I enjoyed it more than ANA First Class shortly after…

  10. The hard product is B/E Aerospace Super Diamond, which is what Qatar installs on their A350/B787. Also Air Canada on the 787’s which I’ve flown and are really nice. The seat is great for sleeping and has more room, in my opinion, than the Cirrus reverse herringbone seat that Cathay introduced. I believe American has announced they will be installing the B/E product on their 787-9 series as well as being the new business class product for remaining 777 and 350’s next year.

    As far as Qantas A330, they have the Vantage XL. Flew that seat on SAS the other day. It was fantastic! Liked even better than the B/E Aerospace super diamond. It has more leg room for sure. So later this year flying VA A330 SYD-PER and QF A330 PER-SYD. Would love to take VA down to Australia but only departure from LAX negates the 45K SPG point advantage for me.

    So @DavidCreak, I take your word, but really?

  11. @MarkS Just on the Vantage XL ? seat…. I’ve been on it many times recently (over 50!) a few middle distance flights to Singapore and Perth but it’s also used for the Melb-Syd rat run and I’ve been catching a Qantas A330 between Sydney and Melbourne 2-3 times a week and it’s got to be the best short haul domestic seat in history. I think I actually prefer it to any other business class seat I’ve been on except maybe Etihad suites. Where Qantas falls short is their first class which is getting really tired.

  12. @Paul Pope Yes, SAS installed the same product on their A340 and A330. https://scandinaviantraveler.com/en/newcabin
    However SAS soft product wasn’t up to the same standards. The XL has far more legroom than the standard Vantage that airlines like Swiss and Austrian fly. As long as you get the seat with the table against the aisle I think the XL is my favorite business class seat so far. Trying SAS again next month.

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