I actually started writing this article back in December 2016 and today I am finally publishing it.
Virgin Australia started back in 1999 with just 2 planes flying between Sydney and Brisbane. Back then it was known as Virgin Blue. They operated out of a makeshift terminal at Sydney Airport and definitely didn’t have any premium facilities. You had to walk outside and climb the stairs to get on board. Things were a bit more premium in Brisbane, their home base.
Fast forward to 2017 and Virgin Australia is the second largest airline in the country, trailing behind Qantas. They operate a fleet of 124 aircraft, 80 of which are Boeing 737s. They also fly to all of the larger airports in Australia, a lot of the smaller ones and a handful of international destinations, primarily in the Pacific (NZ, Fiji etc) and long haul like the USA and Hong Kong. Their reach is extended with code shares with partner airlines to many destinations throughout the world.
I have flown with Virgin Australia on most of their popular fleet, Boeing 737-800, ATR72-500 and 600s and their Airbus A330-200.
The service is exemplary with the staff always going out of their way to make you feel welcome. While I have hit a couple of snags over the years with delayed flight or worse, cancelled flights it doesn’t happy often and it’s not restricted to just one airline, it affects them all from time to time.
My last flight from Melbourne to Sydney I mentioned some tasty snacks to the flight attendant and was told they had none with an apology, as always I napped most of the flight only to wake up in Sydney with just the snacks I was asking about sitting in the seat next to me. Now that’s service with a smile.
The planes are clean and the seats comfortable enough. I’ve always had issues with the seat belts in 737s being just that tiny bit not long enough but so that’s a negative right there.
The flight from Sydney to Perth on the A330 comes with constant drink service which is a positive, other routes just serve tea/coffee/water/juice and a small snack, even the trans-Tasman flights to NZ.
I frequently fly Sydney to Port Macquarie on the ATR72s and despite being a small turboprop aircraft they are plenty comfortable for the short flight. If you like flying, these planes are the go-karts of the sky and really give you a great experience with turbulence.
There’s more perks flying with Virgin Australia, including the Virgin Australia lounges at major airports available to silver (2 free entries), gold and platinum Velocity members.
All in air the airline is nowhere near as glitzy as Qantas but it’s helped lower the price of flying in Australia, has friendly staff, clean planes and on time service.
I would highly recommend giving Virgin Australia a try on your next flight.