I wasn't really sure if this was something you would all want to read about, but after flying on VA's business class twice now, I just had to tell you more about it and how you can upgrade yourself to business for much cheaper than paying for it outright!
The thing is, flying Virgin Australia business class was a dream. Not in the sense of 'zomg I've totes always dreamt of flying VA in Biz', but more that the journey was so bloody dreamy. It was so easy, the staff were so nice, and the product itself is so beautifully classy and sophisticated. None of the Emirates tacky faux wood, nor the horrific Emirates service (although I do admit I love the Emirates food and seats/entertainment options).
I first flew with Virgin Australia in their new biz class back in November when I moved to Sydney. I actually bought an economy ticket, and then upgraded it (#treatyoself) using their UpgradeMe bidding platform. I think the upgrade cost me about $450 (£250), which was so worth it considering Perth to Sydney is a 4-5 hour domestic flight.
It started at check-in at Perth airport - I swished up to the check-in desk, dropped my bags with the super friendly lady, and headed upstairs to the lounge. The lounge had a good selection of food, although I do wish they had more hot options - especially as it was breakfast time.
When it came to boarding, I pretty much power walked onto the plane I was so excited to see what was in-store. I was definitely not disappointed! I was embarrassingly excited about sitting in seat '1A', as on most airlines that have 3 or 4 classes, this is a first class seat.
The cabin and seat itself was all black, silver, and purple. Everything looked brand new, and just generally really classy. It was insanely comfortable, and even though I was flying during the day I happily angled the bed so it was almost laying flat so I could chill out and watch a coupla films on the huge widescreen TV. It felt pretty private, and the 1-2-1 configuration means everyone has direct access to the aisle, so no climbing over people (*cough* BA).
And then came the food. Probably some of the best airline food I've ever had (yes, even better than Emirates, and up there with Cathay Pacific who I still think serves the best airline food). I mean, just look at it!
To start I had the delicious Chicken fattoush salad...
Then for mains I chose the Braised lamb with ratatouille...
And check out this dessert! A Vanilla and marscapone roulade with coconut and kaffir lime...
I was really impressed with the quality, presentation, and size of the dishes. They also had an excellent bread selection, and a large range of different drinks. And how cute are the little salt and pepper shakers in the shape of the Sydney Opera House!?
The thing is, I've flown business class a few times with Emirates now as I've been a silver Skywards member for about 7 years (aside from a short stint last year when I lost it briefly...right when I needed the extra luggage allowance most as well) from flying back and to between London and Perth so often. I've had a couple of free upgrades, used miles to pay for upgrades, and paid for business myself as a treat, and I've never really experienced great service from them. I find the Emirates staff are always a bit miserable and unfriendly, unhelpful, and frankly, quite rude (although I've probably been spoiled after also flying Singapore Airlines fairly regularly for the past 17 years, and the incredibly kind and patient staff they have).
Every time I've flown with Virgin Australia now the staff have been absolutely amazing, and definitely up there with Singapore Airlines' staff. From the check-in staff right through to the on-board staff. Even when I've flown economy on VA they've been incredible too. I flew from Sydney to Perth on Christmas Eve last year, and despite being stuck on a plane all day, the staff made the experience so much more enjoyable.
I know it's hard to truly compare the two because Virgin Australia is a domestic airline, while Emirates is a worldwide international one. But it's also hard not to compare the two when a previously budget airline (Virgin Australia used to be Australia's budget airline, called Virgin Blue), is providing a better product and service than one of the best airlines in the world.
If you want to test out VA's new business class, make sure you check which plane you're booking as some of the planes still have the old (rubbish) business class. To have the chance to experience the new business class for far cheaper than buying an outright business ticket, book an economy ticket with Virgin Australia, and then use their UpgradeMe function to bid on an upgrade. I just put in the lowest amount (you could choose between $450-$1500 for my particular Perth - Sydney flight) and 48 hours before the flight they confirmed my upgrade bid had been successful.
It's safe to say I arrived in Sydney last November ready to start my new life feeling relaxed, happy, and excited for the future, and then arrived back in Perth ready to take on Asia! But, more about that trip coming up over the next coupla weeks... ;) stay tuned!
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*This post is not sponsored or supported - I bought and paid for the tickets myself.