Virgin Australia Adds Service Between Melbourne & Los Angeles

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Virgin Australia has announced that the it intends to start up service between Melbourne and Los Angeles from Spring 2017…and that should be great news for flyers. As things stand the Melbourne – Los Angeles route is only served by Qantas and United so the arrival of Virgin Australia should help shake things up a little.

Virgin Australia Melbourne – Los Angeles Route

From 4 April 2017 Virgin Australia will launch its service between Melbourne and Los Angeles using its 777-300ER aircraft.

The route will operate 5x/week on the following schedule:

VA023 MEL 11:30 – 09:00 LAX (Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun)
VA024 LAX 21:10 – 06:00+2 days MEL (Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun)

The fact that Virgin Australia will be using its 777-300ERs on this route means that flyers will have the option of booking the airlines new Business Class seat that, coincidentally, the airline debuted in Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia New Business ClassVirgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class

This will be by far and away the best Business Class cabin product on the route as while Virgin offers an all-aisle-access cabin with a 1-2-1 seating formation both its competitors on the route have denser arrangements.

Qantas still offers 2-2-2 seating on its A380s and a mix of 2-2 and 2-3-2 seating on its ageing 747s while United, despite operating the newest aircraft type on the route (787-9) also only offers a 2-2-2 seating layout.

virgin-australia-business-suiteVirgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class

Per Virgin Australia the Business Class cabin on the 777-300ER features:

  • 37 individual and private suites that convert into the length of a queen size bed at 80 inches;
  • A Reverse herringbone cabin layout, maximizing privacy and enabling 100 per cent direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration;
  • Generous side console area providing ample space to work, multitask and store personal items, with the addition of a bedside amenity nook for easy access while resting;
  • Customised triple-layer seat cushion supported by a hammock sub-frame and a turndown service with memory foam mattress toppers and high-grade cotton pillows and doonas;
  • The largest in-flight entertainment screen flying between Australia and North America, with an 18 inch High Definition touch screen featuring the Virgin Australia Entertainment seatback system and a stylish new intuitive user interface;
  • Luke Mangan-designed menus paired with premium wines and delivered in a fine dining experience tailored to our guests’ needs through à la carte or Express Dining options;

Virgin Australia New Business ClassVirgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class

In addition to the new cabin features, Virgin Australia is adding what it calls “three new Signature Service elements designed to enhance Virgin Australia’s award-winning service” including:

  • Cocktail and Canapé Service offered prior to the first meal service with a choice of Bellini, Kir Royale or Mimosa along with a Luke Mangan-designed canapé plate;
  • The new Business Class Bar and Lounge will be open after the first meal service and hosted by Business Class cabin crew, offering a selection of nibbles and bites, beer, wine and spirits as well as a hot beverage selection with petit fours;
  • Continental breakfast at the bar prior to the full breakfast service, or the opportunity to enjoy a full breakfast at the bar rather than in the suite.

Virgin Australia New Business ClassVirgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class Bar

When you add into the mix the facts that the Virgin Australia 777-300ER also comes with the airline’s new Premium Economy product….

Virgin Australia Economy Space PlusVirgin Australia 777-300ER Premium Economy

…and that the Economy Class cabin offers seats that are 18.5 inches wide, then this becomes quite a compelling proposition for travelers across all cabins.

Booking Awards On Virgin Australia

For US-based flyers the best options for booking awards come from Virgin Australia’s partners – Delta and Virgin America.

Virgin America gives the most economical option as you only need 80,000 Elevate points for a Business Class roundtrip or 45,000 Elevate points for a one-way award while, with Delta, you’ll soon need 90,000 SkyMiles for a one-way Business Class award.

Bottom Line

This is a Business Class product I really want to try out but my lack of Elevate points isn’t helping my cause. I guess I could transfer across some Starpoints to Elevate (the transfer ratio is 1:1) but I have those Starpoints earmarked for a trip next spring…and it’s not like Virgin Australia award availability to/from the US is all that easy to find either. This may take a bit more planning.

It’s great to see Virgin Australia resuming service on the Melbourne – Los Angeles route as the airline has some great-looking new products that it offers and it’s a nice reminder to Qantas and United that they aren’t going to have things all their own way – I wonder if United is regretting fitting out of date Business Class seats in its new 787-9 Dreamliners yet?


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