I flew to Perth on a Virgin Australia Airbus A330 sporting the old business class configuration, and I was excited to experience the new, more luxe layout on my return to Sydney.
If you didn’t read my outbound review, you should know that Qantas and Virgin Australia have really upped their game on this premium transcontinental route. Each offers international-style aircraft with upgraded seating and amenities, particularly in business class.
Before heading to the gate, I enjoyed a nosh and relaxed a bit in Virgin’s lounge. My inbound aircraft arrived from Melbourne right on-time and pulled into gate 25.
The crew on my return to Sydney was the same from the night before, and I again asked if I would be able to board early to snap some pictures. They happily obliged and cabin supervisor Adam warmly greeted me onboard.
The business cabin is impressive and features 24 angled lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The bulkhead row offers a huge amount of legroom, whereas the pod-like nature of the seats does reduce overall legroom in rows further back – especially when compared to the older configuration A330 I flew from Sydney to Perth.
Bottled water, pillows, blankets and noise cancelling headsets await each passenger at their seats.
Pre-departure beverage selections consisted of water, orange juice or champagne, and amenity kits are distributed along with the menu. Be sure to check out my thorough review of the men’s amenity kit.
Before coach passengers boarded, I took a quick peek.
Settling into my assigned window seat of 3K, I discovered the two small storage compartments located just below the inflight entertainment screen. My travel wallet and video camera fit comfortably in each.
Boarding continued and business class ended up going out with only eight passengers, so each was comfortably seated in their own pair of seats without a neighbor. I got a great shot of Virgin’s inbound from Sydney landing while a Qantas A330 taxied:
The Red entertainment system is basically identical to what you find on Virgin America with a wide selection of movies, television programs and games. Power ports included a 110V socket (nice for we Americans and pretty standard nowadays) and a USB connection.
The headset plug is midway up the divider wall between seats, just underneath a funky light.
Service began with a scented hot towel, beverage and warmed/lightly spiced nuts.
Once again, I was salivating over the Luke Mangan-inspired menu. The drink and beverage list was identical to my outbound flight, so I’m not reproducing it here.
I went with the celeriac soup with chives as my starter.
The salad was again small, but tasty, and presented with my main course of braised beef with pumpkin puree, snow peas, baby turnips and soy beans.
I kid you not when I say it was the most tender, delicious beef dish I’ve ever had onboard an airplane. It literally melted in my mouth and my only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of it. I could easily have had seconds or even thirds. The cheese selection was identical to the outbound flight and I skipped over it in anticipation of the cherry and apple crumble dessert with vanilla custard. It was sublime and served at a perfect, hot temperature.
As I mentioned earlier, the seats are angled lie-flat, which is more than sufficient for a domestic flight.
The lavatories have been upgraded with nicer fixtures on Virgin’s newer A330s and feature Grown hand wash and lotion.
After service, mood lighting was set and I enjoyed the video entertainment watching a selection of Aussie TV programs – a nice change from “30 Rock” as is so frequently found on flights in the U.S. (it was also available on this flight, however).
Service was as spectacular as it was on my outbound flight. Anneleise was serving the opposite aisle on this flight, but I had equally friendly and professional Sharon on my side of the cabin.
We arrived in Sydney on-time and my bag with a priority tag (which I now realize wasn’t applied on my outbound flight), was the second bag coming off the belt. And as before, my sport coat was returned to me in a complimentary garment bag.
Virgin Australia’s business class service is truly impressive and I greatly look forward to flying them internationally in the future. And while I flew as a guest of Virgin Australia, this is indeed my honest opinion of their service. It would be hard to find something to fault them on if you had my experience.
Amenity Kit Review: Virgin Australia Business Class (Domestic)
Flight Review: Virgin Australia Business Class Sydney to Perth
Lounge Review: Virgin Australia, Perth Domestic Terminal
Lounge Review: Virgin Australia, Sydney Domestic Terminal