In 2014, Virgin Australia discontinued their flight between Melbourne and Los Angeles. The airline has a fleet of only five Boeing 777 aircraft, and continued to operate their flights from both Brisbane and Sydney to Los Angeles. Since Virgin Australia is partly owned by Etihad, they’ve instead used one of the planes to operate a flight to Abu Dhabi.
Well, it looks like they’ll soon be mixing up their longhaul route network. Virgin Australia will be resuming their Melbourne to Los Angeles flight as of April 8, 2017. The flight will operate 5x weekly using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with the following schedule:
VA23 Melbourne to Los Angeles departing 11:30AM arriving 9:00AM
VA24 Los Angeles to Melbourne departing 9:10PM arriving 6:00AM (+2 days)
In the process, Virgin Australia will be discontinuing their flight between Sydney and Abu Dhabi as of February 2017, and will instead be adding a flight between Perth and Abu Dhabi, given that the route can be operated by an A330 aircraft, rather than the 777 aircraft that they need to fly to Los Angeles.
It’s great to see that Virgin Australia will again be operating flights from Los Angeles to three Australian cities.
All of Virgin Australia’s 777s now feature their spectacular reverse herringbone product, so this is arguably the all around best business class product between the US and Australia, along with American’s (American has the advantage of having wifi, while I imagine everything else about Virgin Australia is better).
For those looking to redeem miles, the only downside is that nowadays Virgin Australia seems to make longhaul business class award space available to partner airlines at most a week out, and I predict the same will be true on their new flight between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Within that timeframe they release space very reliably, though I know that’s rather last minute for most people to be booking.
If you are able to find award availability within in Virgin Australia business class, you have a couple of options for booking those tickets:
- Delta charges 80,000 SkyMiles for a one-way business class ticket (95,000 for travel as of October 1, 2016)
- Virgin America Elevate charges 45,000 points for a one-way or 80,000 points for a roundtrip, and those points can be transferred from SPG; this is the best value for booking Virgin Australia awards
More capacity between the US and Australia is always a good thing, given how tough it can be to redeem miles in this market. The more capacity, the better odds of lower fares and award availability. Virgin Australia has an especially awesome business class product, so it’s nice to see more flights from them.