Virgin Australia 777 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Los Angeles! I just flew Virgin Australia business class from Melbourne to Los Angeles. After flying in the Etihad Residence I was expecting to go into a full blown depression having to board a flight without a private three room suite andĀ butler. šŸ˜‰ But I got over that pretty quickly when I realized that Virgin Australia has whatā€™s easily one of the worldā€™s best business class products.

Iā€™ll have a full trip report soon, but in the meantime hereā€™s a quick ā€œ10 picturesā€ summary of the flight.

This flight was operated by Virgin Australiaā€™s 777-300ER, featuring a total of 37Ā reverse herringbone seats. Virgin Australia just recently reconfigured their entire 777 fleet with these seats, and itā€™s one of the best hard products out there. Virgin Australia uses the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat, which is one of the two most popular varieties of reverse herringbone seats.Ā 

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While the seat as such is generic, the cabin finishesĀ are gorgeous. This has to be one of the most stylish cabins out there.

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Thereā€™s a forward cabin between doors one and two with a total of 24 seats, then thereā€™s the onboard bar, and then thereā€™s another mini-cabin behind door two, with a total of 13 seats. That’s where I was seated, in seat 10K, which is the window seat in the last row on the right side.

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Lunch was served after takeoff, and then breakfast was served before landing. The food service was simple but excellent. Thatā€™s to say that it wasnā€™t a five course meal, but rather was a very well executed three course meal.

To start there was the choice between soup, salad, and an appetizer. I had the cauliflower and white bean soup with sumac, whichĀ was flavorful and beautifully presented.

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Then for the main course I had trout with sweet potato, ginger, and coconut puree.Ā The fish was moist, and the sweet potato puree complemented it nicely.Ā 

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For dessert I had the vanilla and mascarpone roulade with mango, coconut, and kaffir lime. This was the best dessert Iā€™ve had in a long time, be it on the ground or in the air.

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Even though you’re supposed to choose between dessert and cheese, I asked the crew if I could have a cheese plate (primarily for the picture), and they obliged. It was also one of the better business class cheese plates I’ve seen.

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What a great meal, and I especially appreciated that they didnā€™t use trays, but rather served directly onto the table.

The drinks were pretty good as well, and they had mostly wine from Australia and New Zealand on offer, which I appreciated. The exception was the Ayala champagne, whichĀ I quite like as far as mid-range champagnes go.

While the food on the flight was great, the service was exceptional. I’ll admit that I might be a bit biased, since I find Australians to be so charming to begin with,Ā but the guys working business class were especiallyĀ professional, and they genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs. Nothing is better than seeing that.

In many ways the service felt like what you’d get in first class rather than business class. As each passenger arrived at their seat they were offered a “suite orientation.” The cabin manager personally welcomed each passenger onboard, and then before landing came by to see how everyone enjoyed their flight.Ā Passengers were constantly addressed by name, service was proactive rather than reactive, and the attention to detail was top notch.

For example, Virgin Australia has a turndown service in business class. In the middle of the night I went to the bathroom for maybe one minute, and I returned to find that my bed had been “tidied,” and that another bottle of water had been placed by my seat. Many airlines don’t do that in first class, let alone business class.

So thanks to Michael, the flight attendant serving me, and Steven, the cabin manager, for their incredible professionalism. These guys were rockstars at their jobs.

Virgin Australia also does quite well in terms of amenities. There was a nice amenity kit with socks, eyeshades, a pen, earplugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, hand cream, andĀ sun protection.

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Then there were pajamas, which were made of rather unusual materials, but were still comfortable. Either way, pajamas in business class are a treat.

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On top of that there was turndown service, with a mattress pad and a proper blanket.

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I got a solid nine hours of sleep, which is unheard of for me on a plane. Perhaps thatā€™s largely a reflection of how exhausted I was, but Virgin Australia’sĀ bedding was great.

The entertainment selection was excellent as well, with a huge variety of movies, sitcoms, etc. No, it wasn’t quite to the level of Emirates’ ICE system, for example, but was still excellent.

My one complaint is that Virgin Australia doesnā€™t have wifi on their 777s. In this case it was almost a blessing that they didnā€™t, because it allowed me to sleep. I doubt I would have slept so well if I knew in the back of my head that I had the option of working.

Virgin Australia business class bottom line

Virgin Australia’s business class exceeded my expectations by a long shot. What a great experience. They have stylish reverse herringbone seats, a simple but extremely well executed menu, great amenities, and some of the best service Iā€™ve had in business class on any airline. I canā€™t stress that last point enough, because on some airlines you feel like youā€™re part of an assembly line when it comes to the business class service procedure, while on Virgin Australia it was perfectly customized to each guest.

I have no doubt that Virgin Australia is the best way to fly between the US and Australia (Qantas doesnā€™t even have direct aisle access from every seat, American has wifi, but thatā€™s about all they have going for them, and Deltaā€™s herringbone seats canā€™t compete with Virgin Australiaā€™s reverse herringbone seats).

If you’ve flown Virgin Australia’s business class, what was your experienceĀ like?

Comments

  1. Fantastic synopsis. In the full write-up, could you review the different points options for booking this product (beyond yesterday’s post)? Thank you

  2. Great preview! Virgin Australia is the airline I regularly fly with for work, and I’m pleased to see you had a positive experience.

  3. Service matches my experience exactly a few years ago (pre-new seat modifications). I may have had the same Steven working my flight and he was great. VA business service is better than F service on most other airlines.
    We had a great time at the bar with a few other passengers and eventually Steven had to cut us off because we were getting rowdy. Still got 7 hours of sleep. I almost wish the flight was longer everything was so good.

  4. United also flies US-Australia though like Qantas, they dont have direct aisle access from every seat.

  5. I’m curious to know what fabric those pyjamas are made out of? Was there a label on them?

  6. I’m not sure what’s unusual about the pajamas. There might be a bit of a synthetic material in there somewhere but to me they feel just like most other loungewear?

    Indeed I would say that Virgin Australia pajamas hold up to long-term use better than any other airplane pajamas I’ve had — they’re very comfortable, wash well (they don’t shrink), and are nice and warm. I have a few pairs that I’ve had for 5 years or so and still wear regularly at home.

  7. Good to see they have a great product overall, but…

    “To start there was the choice between soup, salad, and an appetizer”

    I do feel an airline only offering a 3 course meal in business class is a bit a cheap. Especially if that airline’s top cabin is business class.

  8. @Lucky Great intro I can’t wait to try virgin. Would you choose this over American first class even? I imagine qantas first still beats this product out in regards to last line however.

  9. By the way @lucky Virgin Uss is currently testing wifi and should be rolling it out soon…

  10. I just flew the product two weeks ago and cannot say I had the same experience as you. I found the service so slow and almost tedious to experience. The lack of wifi nearly killed me. And the cabin was uncomfortably hot. I flew back on UA and actually enjoyed that more – the Dreamliner with wifi and fast efficient service was the winner for me!

  11. Looks great! Does Virgin Atlantic offer turndown service as well? I know they also offer PJs. Will be flying them next month, for the first time.

  12. Lucky I concur with all you have to say about the VA new business experience. i have had the pleasure to fly it on the A330 transcontinental service SYDPER and not long before it ceased on their B777 SYDAUH service. I like Qantas but this is a few points better than their new business product. As for comparing it to QF First, there’s not a lot in it, but QF First is a more refined product than the VA business as one would expect

  13. Agree it’s fantastic business class all round and certainly far superior to Qantas, at least from a hard product perspective. But yes, the pyjamas are weird – they have a rough texture instead of the normal soft, smooth cotton.

  14. Good service is a hard thing to come by in Australia because we don’t tip.
    Virgin Australia redefines what good service is amongst Australians. It is common knowledge and talking point with The thousands of other Australians I’ve met in the FIFO(Fly in, Fly out) resources industry, some of us earn points and status credits on work flights and some have to pay there own flights home on a second leg, so there’s many guys Interested to talk about flights, as flying home is a common talking point as is the most exciting part after several weeks away working. It’s always Qantas vs Virgin
    99% of these people always make a positive comment on Virgins service, even in economy they just have that freindlier vibe than qantas.
    Its just Something about Virgin Australia that we like, and I’m sure if it was business it would be something we’d love

  15. I’ve flown Virgin’s Sydney to LA route several times, and you got Lucky with the crew. Some Virgin crews are amazing and others were clearly hired for their looks and not their service skills or maturity.

    Last Christmas I flew from LA to Sydney, an American tourist sat across the aisle. He was very excited about his “vacation” and innocently asked the (very good looking) flight attendant who was the Prime Minister of Australia. The flight attendant replied that our prime minister was a “posh tart” and an idiot, basically.

    The flight was also delayed due to a boarding issue, so the same flight attendant came through the cabin offering seconds on the champagne, which I gladly accepted. The flight attendant also offered a second glass to the American passenger who declined. The flight attendant then joked that it was only the Australians who were keen for seconds, because we are all “lushes”.

    This guy was representing Australia, and he was calling the prime minister an idiot and its citizens a bunch of drunks. And even if that is all true to a certain degree, I seriously doubt Qantas would have let that flight attendant anywhere near their business class customers, and that’s probably how he ended up flying for Virgin.

  16. what did you do with your return ticket from BKK to Cario ?- wasn’t this leg part of your return ticket on Etihad ?

  17. Aha, I flew SYD-LAX this morning Lucky. Was incredibly fortunate to find a points redemption.

    Found the hard product very good. The meals were on the small side but good quality. Flight attendents were mostly good but more inconsistent than Qantas.

    Quite hot in the cabin but blankets and turndown service were solid. IFE very good, better than expected. Bar was cool.

  18. Qantus business was medicore by comparison to VA. I can’t believe anyone would rate QF business as anything special!

  19. Does Virgin Australia open up Business award tickets on dates further out? Such as Feb/March 2018? I don’t see availability on the Expert Flyer site you recommended.

  20. I flew last year in August from Brisbane to La and was then heading to Chicago. This was by far the best business class that I have ever experienced. But it was going to be a hit and miss. They only had one plane completed when I was flying and I was lucky to get it both ways on my trip. The staff were amazing and food as you mentioned was always done well for a business class. ( yes we have had better in other airlines but for the price this was good). The staff were more than accommodating on all my fussy items and the bar was just perfect and spent a good 8 hours doing work and chatting to everyone.

    So glad someone has finlay done a proper review on it as last year I spent ages going through sites not to find anything. This will be very helpful for a lot of travels.

  21. So Lucky, would you say Virgin Australia > Virgin Atlantic overall? I know they don’t compete directly, just curious what you think.

  22. I think Virgin Australia has a very competitive Business Class product on its long haul fleet. Perhaps the only thing I would like is a bit more personal storage space, the addition of a change cubicle to take off pressure on the toilets during peak times, and a slightly wider gap between the curve of the shell in front, and the seat, from the aisle.

    The PJs are a little different, being stretchy, but are certainly better than some (though not as great as say CX’s First PJs, or Air France’s First PJs if the cabin is cold).

  23. @contract3 wy should service be predicated on a tipping culture? Service can not be conditional on a tip. The tip is conditional on the service level recieved

  24. I’ve flown the Brisbane- Perth a couple of times in business on the airbus and it’s great , same good service and the duvet they give you on the bed is tdf

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