This year I’ve decided to head home for Christmas after 2½ years not seeing the folks. Since the flight is over four hours, I decided to take up an offer from Virgin Australia and travel business class. It’s a little fancy, I know! Why not complete the journey with a private chauffeured car courtesy of Instyle Limousines. #spoiltmuch
Airline: Virgin Australia
Route: Sydney-Perth, VA561
Seat: 3A (Window seat, 2-2-2 configuration in business)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Scheduled Flight Time: 4 Hours 35 Minutes
Frequent Flyer Program: Velocity
Sydney Lounge Premium Entry: Is available exclusively to Virgin Australia Business Class & Premium Economy travellers, Velocity Platinum and Gold Members and partner airline reciprocal status members. If you are travelling with checked baggage, you will need to visit the Priority Check-In counter in the main departure terminal, as the Premium entry only allow carry-on baggage through the dedicated security screening into the lounge.
Lounge: At Sydney’s domestic airport, the Virgin Australia Lounge spans across two levels, along with two bars, barista coffee stations (great for those who want an actual cup of coffee), flat-screen TVs, complimentary WIFI access and heaps of power and data ports around the lounge – stay connected. Like all other lounges a selection of newspapers, magazines, hot and cold food, premium beverages are available at your fingertips. I went for a glass of Peroni Nastro Azzurro on tap to quench my thirst. Whether your downstairs or upstairs, there’s plenty of space to relax and unwind. For those special VIPs and ‘invitation only’, The Club by Virgin is where they nestle away from the crowd.
Baggage: Two pieces of carry-on baggage, plus one personal item with a maximum weight of 7 kilograms and two checked bags up to 32 kilograms each.
Comfort: With the seat next to me free, I was able to enjoy the comforts on offer without disturbing my neighbour. Even with a sliding shield between the headrest it would be somewhat awkward to say the least. I started the flight with a complimentary newspaper and pre-flight drink (bubbles for me thanks), an in-flight menu exclusive for Business Class designed by renowned Australia Head Chef Luke Mangan. Luxury leather seats, 60 inch (152.4cm), generous recline, plush blanket, pillow and headphones. For those travelling from 7pm, you will be offered an amenity travel kit for all flights over three hours.
Meal Service: From the menu, I started with the king smoked salmon with fennel remoulade, dill an chervil. Followed by the braised beef short rib with soft polenta, mushrooms, green beans, olives and sage. This was surprisingly good, beef with tender and complimented well with a glass of the Princess Butterfly Stratogie Pinot Noir. To end the three-course meal I pretty much devoured the lemon and lime roulade with mixed berries accompanied by a glass of the botyris semillion (dessert wine). To be fair, I don’t eat much of the airplane food and it tends to be either salty or lacked presentation. To my content I was full.
Not sure if the staff thought I was a big eater (which I’m really not), I do like to try many small things. Degustation meals are perfect for me. But I was swayed by teams charm and good looks to at least have a movie snack. Then came along the milk chocolate caramel popcorn, but get this, it was gluten free. So it was light as air and was good for me. Who am I to say no.
Customer Service: Polite, courteous and helpful both on ground and in the air. I was greeted by Kim the cabin crew supervisor, welcoming me (and other business class guests) on-board and to advise Tenielle would be looking after me. Tenielle looked after one half of the plane and Luke on the other. Sometimes, when travelling some people often believe the level of service between the classes varies. “You get what you paid for syndrome”. If I was travelling in Economy would I be treated with the same respect and service if I was in Business or First? The simple answer is yes. I’ve flown many times with Virgin on economy, just on this trip I’ve gone business. It’s always with a smile and the crew genuinely like to have a chat, and it’s that sort of service that puts them above the rest.
Tenielle was lovely and happy to show me the ropes of the fun gadgets on-board. Even a cheeky request to grab a photo and Luke was happy obliged. Kim, now here is a guy who has lots of industry experience and who can read what the customer is thinking. I see him having a good laugh and chat with other guests and they enjoyed his company. Remember what I said earlier about, what puts Virgin above the rest. This is it. Friendly, genuine and not afraid to be one’s self.
“Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” Quoted by Richard Branson
Thanks Virgin Australia for the amazing trip. Merry Christmas and have a great New Year!
Tel: 1300 572 025