Virgin Australia Trip Report International Business

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by wombat18, Dec 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    I got the chance to cash in some SkyMiles for a business class ticket to Australia on Virgin Australia, flying LAX - MEL on a Boeing 777-300ER. (There is no First Class cabin on VA). Generally, I was very pleased although it isn't quite in the same league as Virgin Atlantic.

    The trip starts in Los Angeles airport, from where VA flies to SYD, BNE, and MEL. Although there is rumor of a VA lounge in LAX, currently use is made of the Alaska lounge which doesn't have showers, but does have light meals (soup, salad, snacks) and helpful staff. VA staff (you can't miss 'em in Bright Red) wander around the lounge about 30-40 minutes before boarding answering questions and greeting the longhaul passengers. By the time the MEL flight departs there's hardly any AS flights.

    Inside AL lounge (640x427).jpg

    In International Business there are 33 seats (195.5cm (77 inch) pitch,58.4cm (23 inch) width, and horizontal lay flat) ... strangely in a 2-3-2 arrangement.

    Cabin (640x427).jpg

    The seats have a lot of leg space, since they are lie-flat beds, and that makes getting in and out quite easy. While they are comfortable enough, the padding is thin. Along with a pillow, each seat has pretty basic amenity kits and over-ear headphones.

    Seats (640x427).jpg

    The welcome bubbly was a 1999 Lanson Gold Label Brut from Reims, France. Global Traveler Magazine awarded it "Best Champagne in International Business Class. I chose to follow this with a delightful 2010 Catherine Vale Timo's Arneis from Hunter Valley, Australia - served with hot nuts. I do like the Reidel glasses:

    Nuts (427x640).jpg

    Dinner service was prompt, about twenty minutes after take-off. The soup was a Mexican bean with tomato, bean and coriander salsa - pleasantly tasty and not too hot, not too cold. I chose a Roquefort salad with witlof, radicchio, pear and walnuts as my starter (not shown), along with a 2010 Millbrook Jarrahdale Sauvignon Blanc from Western Australia. Check out the salt and pepper shakers:

    Soup (640x427).jpg

    • Continued below ...
     
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  2. Italy98
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    Italy98 Silver Member

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    Interested in see the rest of your report as we are planning our trip next spring and VA offers options not available on DL.
     
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  3. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    Like taking the trip for 150K miles? :D (I guess direct MEL/BNE service is also nice, as who on earth wants to schlep from the international terminal at SYD over to the domestic one to connect on to one of those cities.)

    I'm also looking forward to reading the rest. I just got back from Oz (FRA-ICN-MEL with KE and SYD-KUL-LHR with MH, tacking on later LHR-AMS-FRA on KL to avoid double open jaw) and am already thinking about when I can get back there. Since I expect I'll be back in the US from next summer, VA will likely be the carrier I wind up considering.
     
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  4. MalcoveMagnesia
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    MalcoveMagnesia Silver Member

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    Those salt & pepper shakers are very subtle. Nice!

    How much was the YQ on your business class SkyPesos redemption? I've heard the fees for Virgin Australia can be a sticker shock.
     
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  5. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Good question - the YQ (International Fuel surcharge) on this ticket was $480.00. Since this flight was a few days before Christmas (the absolutely most expensive time to fly to Australia), I wasn't surprised it was high. I think the difference in price is worth it compared to a regular DL flight across the Pacific, particularly as six months out there wasn't any availability on DL (either economy or business).

    The highlight of dinner was the main course - Red wine braised beef with soft polenta, roasted shallots and salsa verde. It was tender, strongly flavored, and paired very nicely with the 2007 John Duval Plexus Red, a GSM from the Barossa Valley, South Australia.

    Beef (640x427).jpg

    To finish off, it was the Luke Mangan Amaretto tiramisu. I was planning to have it with the 2006 Bimbagden Botrytis Semillon from the Riverina in New South Wales, but I still had some of the red left. (Besides, I knew I could stop by the bar a little later on and it would be featured there ... a nice touch on Virgin flights ... the small bar has 3 stools and has drinks all night!)

    Tiramisu.JPG

    Then after all that food and wine ... bed (inflight pajamas having been distributed earlier) :

    Bed.JPG

    The bed was wide enough, and your head & pillow are within the hutch so there is a good amount of privacy from the person next to you. The cabin was pretty toasty warm, so the blanket was only just needed. I got nearly 7 hours sleep, even with the turbulance announcements scattered through the night.
     
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  6. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    wombat18,

    Thanks for sharing!!

    :)
     
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  7. Chimpy
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    Chimpy Gold Member

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    Thanks for this report wombat18, looks very nice. Great photographs. :)
     
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  8. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    Nice report! How many miles was this award ticket?
     
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  9. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    Did the bed go completely flat directly from the sitting position like VS or could you find some intermediate positions that were semi-seating with head higher and feet level?
     
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  10. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    The seats have all manner of controls, so while they can go completely flat there are also an endless variety of intermediate positions. I didn't try the head-up, feet level position but I think it would be possible since there were separate controls for feet and head.

    Award was the same as if I had flown on Delta, 150000 (since Australia is in the Southwest Pacific, 75,000 each way).
     
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  11. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Great report. Thanks for sharing. This is one of the best use of DL points.
     
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  12. geclub1
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    geclub1 Silver Member

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    Great report. Just made my own booking today 1/2/12. YQ is now $500.
    And yes, it is 150K DL points + $671.80.
     

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