Introduction: The Flight Of A Lifetime
Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Lounge Washington Dulles Airport
Review: Etihad Business Class 787 Washington To Abu Dhabi
Review: Shangri-La Abu Dhabi
Review: Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Residence Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad Residence A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney
Review: Hyatt Regency Sydney
Review: Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 737 Sydney To Melbourne
Review: Etihad Lounge Melbourne Airport
Review: Virgin Australia Business Class 777 Melbourne To Los Angeles
Virgin Australia 808
Sydney (SYD) – Melbourne (MEL)
Tuesday, May 16
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 2C (Business Class)
I’ve always been impressed by service on flights within Australia, so I was curious to see how Virgin Australia’s product stacked up.
At the door Holly, the cabin supervisor, verified my boarding pass and said “welcome to business, Mr. Schlappig.” What an impressive welcome, and I saw her address every business passenger the same way. She also seemed to say “welcome back, Mr./Mrs. [Name]” to anyone with status.
Virgin Australia has an intimate business class cabin on the 737, consisting of just eight seats. They’re spread across two rows, in a 2-2 configuration.
In terms of legroom, the seats were almost identical to what you’d find in domestic first class in the US, as the pitch was roughly 38″.
However, the cabin was in immaculate condition, and I loved the Virgin branding on the seats.
Originally I had hoped for a window seat for the short flight, but since my flight was canceled last minute and I had to rebook, I was stuck in an aisle seat, 2C.
There was a center console between seats, and then also a small tray that could be extended.
The tray table folded out of the side armrest, and could be folded in half.
The seat had a moderate amount of recline, and that could be controlled with a simple button on the center armrest.
Every seat on the flight was taken, though boarding was still efficient. A few minutes after settling in I was offered either water or orange juice, which was served in real glassware. I was also asked if I wanted a newspaper, though declined.
By 7AM boarding was complete, at which point Captain Tony added his welcome aboard, and informed us of our flight time of 73 minutes.
Shortly before departure a couple of “suits” boarded, and it was pointed out to me that it was Virgin Australia’s CEO in the jumpseat today. He seemed like a really nice guy, and was friendly to the crew (though the interaction was limited, given the flight deck door being closed).
A few minutes after the door closed we began our pushback, at which point a manual safety demonstration began. As much as the 737 otherwise felt fresh, there were no personal televisions. Virgin Australia does offer streaming entertainment, though they don’t yet have standard wifi (I think one plane has it now, so hopefully it’s more readily available soon).
Our taxi to the runway was super quick, and by 7:10AM we were airborne. Just five minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned off. At this point a rope was placed between the economy and business class cabins, which is a good way to enforce their bathroom policy of the forward bathroom being reserved for business class passengers. The bathroom was pretty basic/outdated, though.
Holly was absolutely fantastic, and began the service just minutes later. She came around to take meal and drink orders. She addressed each passenger by name, had a big smile on her face, and provided a detailed description of the breakfast options. Why can’t service on US airlines be this consistently good?
The breakfast choices were between a scrambled egg bacon tortilla wrap with tomato sauce, and muesli. I chose the latter, since I don’t eat bacon. It was a perfect breakfast.
The muesli was flavorful and tasted fresh.
The croissant was great, especially for an airplane croissant. 😉
The fruit was basic, but decent for what it was.
Zac of Points from the Pacific was on my flight, and was nice enough to take a picture of his breakfast for me, which looked great as well.
Holly offered several refills throughout the short flight, and by 8:20AM the seatbelt sign was back on. We touched down in Melbourne by 8:30AM, and arrived at the gate five minutes after that.
Virgin Australia 737 business class bottom line
What a lovely, pleasant experience on Virgin Australia. While the seats are similar to what you’d get on a domestic flight in the US, the crew was an absolute delight, and it’s impressive that they serve food on a 73 minute flight. However, I do wish they had inflight wifi, though it’s something they’re working on.
Given how good Virgin Australia’s domestic product is, I couldn’t wait to fly them to Los Angeles.