Review of Virgin Australia flight Perth Melbourne in Business

Airline Virgin Australia
Flight VA694
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 3:45
Take-off 29 Nov 16, 17:00
Arrival at 29 Nov 16, 23:45
VA   #62 sur 105 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 35 review
Rewardflying
By 1060
Published on 12th February 2017
photo va693 cover

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?

photo va694 perth 1

Or was I in the Black Forest along the Rhine?

photo va694 perth 2

Or was I in New Orleans?

photo va694 perth 3

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

photo va694 perth 5photo va694 perth 4

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

photo va694 airport 1photo va694 airport 2

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.



Mid-afternoon fare. Soup and salad.

photo va694 lounge food menuphoto va694 lounge food composite

Time to go. airberlin codeshare, not for long.
photo va694 boarding area

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.

photo va694 cabin 1photo va694 seat 3

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.)



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.

photo va694 cabin lav 1photo va694 cabin lav 2

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.



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.

photo va694 seat acc 6

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.

photo va694 seat acc 6 divider closedphoto 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.

photo va694 seat acc 1

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

photo va694 seat acc 2

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

photo va694 seat acc 3

A two-way adjustable reading lamp.

photo va694 seat acc 4

Plus the overheard lamp along with air vents.

photo va694 cabin 4

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.

photo va694 seat acc 5

Now the genius part.

Placard holder encased by a compartment.

photo va694 seat acc 7 ipad 1

Press the button and it opens.

photo va694 seat acc 7 ipad 2

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.

photo va694 seat acc 7 ipad 3

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.

photo va694 seat acc 8 arm rest 1

Or raise it for an armrest.

photo va694 seat acc 8 arm rest 3

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

photo va694 seat acc 8 arm rest 2

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

photo va694 seat acc 9 tray 1

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

photo va694 seat acc 9 tray 2

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

photo va694 seat acc tray 3

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

photo va694 seat broch 1photo va694 seat broch 2

An extensive menu was provided.



Beverage Menu:

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

photo va694 menu bev 1photo va694 menu bev 2

I chose the Coriole Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon.

photo va694 food pres 1photo va694 menu bev 3

Dinner Menu:

photo va694 menu food 2

Lighter fare menu:

photo va694 menu food 3

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.

photo va694 menu food 1

Already I'm looking forward to this meal.

photo va694 food pres 3

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

photo va694 food pres 4

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

photo va694 food pres 2

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

photo va694 food 1photo va694 food 2

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.

photo va694 food 3

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.

photo va694 food 4

Could they even do better with dessert?

photo va694 food 5

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

photo va694 food 6

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.

photo va694 ife 1photo va694 ife 2

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.

photo va694 ife 3photo va694 ife 4

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.

photo va694 flight path

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


Plane watching in Perth.

See more

Verdict

Virgin Australia

9.3/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment8.5
meal/catering9.5

Perth - PER

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Melbourne - MEL

5.3/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

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.

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 385478 by
    Razza_Pr 93 Comments

    Hello, rewardflying, and thank you for publishing this FR!

    Look at that. Vee Oz is giving QF a run for their money. Everything looks splendid there.

    I haven't experienced the B/E Super Diamond seat yet (neither have I any plans to try it in the near future) but I really like how well-appointed the seat looks on VA. It doesn't really provoke the eyes like that of QR's. Was the seating on the soft side, or otherwise?

    Food service looks and sounds superb! I imagine it's got some middle-eastern dishes to cater for guests connecting from Abu Dhabi though.

    Are you certain this was on an A330-300 and not a -200? Because VA doesn't seem to own any A330-300s ;)

    No plane spotting at Melbourne-Tullamarine?

    As always, a pleasure to read, and thanks again for publishing!

      0
  • Comment 385484 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 116 Comments

    Hi Razza_PR,

    I picked the wrong one on the drop down, good catch, fixed.

    So the main competitor to the Super Diamond is the Zodiac Cirrus that Cathay, EVA, American 777-300, etc use. This too is a very nice seat. In my opinion the B/E SD is slightly softer making for a more comfortable long stretch of sitting as well as bed if no pad is provided. I also think the footwell allows for more room than the Cirrus as well as the B/E tray, monitor and storage seem a little better thought out. My opinion and wouldn't hesitate to take the Zodiac seat, just prefer the Super Diamond.

    You are probably right about the food offering as they do code-share with Etihad. VA's flight hasn't begun yet, I think mid-year.

    Was dark arriving at MEL. And didn't get much on the QF A380 trip back home, just a UA 787.

    More VA-QF comparison to come. Thanks for reading as always!

      0
  • Comment 385486 by
    indianocean 4428 Comments

    What a great way to fly a domestic flight!

    Great comfort, amazing food and good onboard entertainment. Is the flight usually operated by a wide body aircraft?
    I flew SYD-AYQ Business last summer and the experience is by far better with you.

    Thank You.

      0
  • Comment 385492 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 116 Comments

    Hi Indianocean,

    Yes, both VA and QF fly these planes 4-5 times a day round trip from MEL and SYD to PER with an occasional one from BNE. Every once and a while they throw in a 737 so you have to be careful. AYQ is a different story, won't get these on that route.

    Thanks for reading!

      0
  • Comment 385528 by
    SKYTEAMCHC 4156 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this very nice report with us. Wow the cabin looks really nice and I like the colors and design. I am impressed by the meal both by the quality and the very nice presentation. it's true that you could be in a very nice restaurant. The salt and peper in teh sahpe of the Sydney Opera house are just great : it must be hard to resist taking them with you ! ;-)

      0
  • Comment 385625 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 116 Comments

    Hi Christophe. I'm sure they lose plenty of these. Maybe they train the FA's to spot for missing ones? I read an article the other day where United is experiencing huge losses from people taking the new Polaris bedding with them. It's one thing to put a salt shaker in your pocket, but a blanket?!!

      0

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