FLIGHT VA694
CLASS OF SERVICE Business
SEAT NUMBER 1A
AIRCRAFT Airbus A330-200
TAKEOFF 16-11-29 5 p.m.
VIEWS 988
LANDING AT 11:45 p.m.
Rewardflying
The 12th February 2017

Photo review of Virgin Australia flight from Perth to Melbourne in Business

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After a gloomy day weather and flight wise on the east side of Australia, a new day west brought sunshine and lots of positive surprises. I never expected Perth to be such an amazing city. With today's climate hovering at 78 degrees (25c), not a cloud in sight and no wind, it reminded me of the summer weather in San Diego. Perfect. A great day to stroll the streets of Perth.

Maybe I was in San Diego?

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Or was I in the Black Forest along the Rhine?

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Or was I in New Orleans?

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Being a judge in Australia's Western Supreme Court has its advantages.

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Of course my Perth visit ended up here, at this gorgeous modern terminal used by Virgin Australia.

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Carrier: Virgin Australia
Date: November 2016
Route: PER-MEL
Flight #: VA694
Aircraft: A330-200 #VH-XFE
Configuration: J20/Y255
Seat(s): 1A
On Time: Yes
Reward Flying Rating: 8.2 out of 10 ✈


Virgin Australia's lounge in Perth is beautiful. Subtle highlights using their colors of white and red give the lounge a positive feel. It was clean, had a view of the airfield along with waiters passing out hors d'oeuvres like you'd find at a cocktail party. When is the last time you saw that in an airline lounge? (Missed getting a photo of this.) For a business class lounge this is one of the nicer ones I've seen.

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Mid-afternoon fare. Soup and salad.

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Time to go. airberlin codeshare, not for long.
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Having seen photos of the new Virgin Australia cabin I was anxious to see if the real thing lived up to my expectations. Those expectations were blown away.

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The stunning front cabin is small, only 20 seats in 5 rows. Today's flight was half full. (The Qantas flight to Perth was full.)

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There are two lavatories located behind the 2nd door in front of economy as well as a single lavatory behind the cockpit. The front lav was larger than standard.

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Virgin Australia outfitted their new cabins with the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat that is currently in use by Air Canada, Qatar Airways, China Airlines and is American's new business class seat among others. Having logged close to 30 hours in this seat with AC, QR and now VA, it has become my favorite business class seat.

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If there is a criticism then it would be very tall people might find an issue with the footwell as it does narrow towards the back.

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Center seats have a privacy divider. Smartly the slider opens half-way and allows you to look at the person sitting next to you. Otherwise it's completely private.

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photo va694 seat acc 6 divider open

On the side of the pod that has the table there are 2 compartments. The upper one shown below can store your phone and has a USB charging port inside.

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The lower one houses the video controller, which isn't needed as the IFE is touch screen.

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On the back of the pod in front of you is a coat hook.

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A two-way adjustable reading lamp.

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Plus the overheard lamp along with air vents.

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There is also an ambient night light which I did not operate.

The touch screen seat control has 3 pre-sets which can be further adjusted. This single screen has the light control switches as well.

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Now the genius part.

Placard holder encased by a compartment.

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Press the button and it opens.

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Slide in your tablet. Now you have easy access to it or close the door and get it out of the way. It's padded in case of a bumpy ride.

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The aisle side armrests on the Super Diamond are height adjustable. If you want more width to the seat or to your bed, push it down.

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Or raise it for an armrest.

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Flip the top and head phones in a nice case are stored inside, out of the way.

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A better tray solution. In the up position is partially extends from under the monitor, for stuff.

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Pull it out and the tray slides down a rail to a mid-way position, for more stuff.

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Slide it all the way down, open it up and it becomes your meal tray.

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And if you prefer their instructions as opposed to mine, find this handy seat guide.

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An extensive menu was provided.

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Beverage Menu:

Champagne featured Ayala Brut Majeur which is about a $40 bottle of champagne here in the US.

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I chose the Coriole Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Dinner Menu:

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Lighter fare menu:

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And if still hungry. I can't remember a short business class flight having a snack menu along with a full dinner offering. I wanted so bad to try a couple of these items but it was only a 3 hour flight and after dozing off we were descending.

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Already I'm looking forward to this meal.

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And the award for the coolest salt and pepper shaker goes to Virgin Australia.

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Almonds to start, which I almost finished before pressing the shutter button.

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This was the starter, not the main meal. Chicken fattoush salad. Fattoush is a middle eastern salad. The Australian version was excellent.

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Seeing Baramundi on the menu was a pleasant surprise. Baramundi is an Australian mild sea bass and I frequently get it here in the States.

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Except I don't prepare it quite as well. No, in fact I don't come remotely close to preparing anything like this delicious meal. This was expensive restaurant quality food, with huge portions.

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Could they even do better with dessert?

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This vanilla and mascarpone roulade was unbelievable. It was light and airy, not overwhelmingly sweet, creamy and delicious.

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This meal was so unexpected. It was on par with Austrian. Ultimately I gave Austrian a notch higher rating but that's only because there were two meals on that flight, both outstanding.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it does. Great monitor with little glare when the windows were open before departure. Touchscreen, easy to navigate. Movie content was about 50 movies.

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And one of the best airshow I've seen. Flight details in a panel, beautiful color and detail. Metric or Imperial conversion. It doesn't flip screens on its own, you broaden or narrow the view. Very nice.

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And to top it all off, two outstanding flight attendants on this trip. Once in my seat the Cabin Manager Diane introduced herself and presented me with a bottle of water. She was super friendly and spoke to everyone in the cabin. Frances was my flight attendant, a lovely younger woman from Perth. She had worked for Emirates but now flew for VA and was excited for VA's new route to Abu Dhabi from Perth which she will work. Both of these attendants really enjoyed working this flight and that means alot to passengers like myself.

The aircraft was 4 1/2 years old and in excellent condition. It's first flight was in May of 2012 and was MSN 1319 for Airbus. One of the nicer A330's I've flown.

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Out of 22 business class regional flights this was #1. Check out the ratings at rewardflying.com


Plane watching in Perth.

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Verdict

Virgin Australia 

Cabin 9.5
Cabin crew 9.5
Entertainment 8.5
meal/catering 9.5
TOTAL 9.3/10

Perth - PER 

Efficiency 9.0
Access 8.0
Services 9.0
Cleanliness 10.0
TOTAL 9.0/10

Melbourne - MEL 

Efficiency 6.0
Access 5.0
Services 5.0
Cleanliness 5.0
TOTAL 5.3/10

Conclusion

This flight was one of those you wish wouldn't end. It was a perfect flight from arrival at the beautiful airport in Perth to the "thank you for flying with Virgin Australia" from Diane at the gate in Melbourne.

My only wish is that Virgin Australia would move to the US.

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