A flight from Australia to the USA signifies a serious commitment to travel. You’re signing up for at least 13 hours in the air, another four or so in the airport, and a time zone change at the end that can leave you feeling a bit fuzzy, to say the least. It’s no wonder that travellers seek a higher class of comfort on these long-haul journeys, and not surprising that airlines respond in kind, offering passenger solutions that strive to outdo each other when it comes to innovation and indulgence.
Fully flat-lay beds, direct aisle access from every seat and an onboard cocktail bar are a few of the features that give Virgin Australia’s ‘The Business’ an edge in this high-stakes competition. Premium passengers are also catered for in a cosy 24-seat cabin with inflight service that’s much more ‘business minus’ than ‘economy plus’.
Whichever you choose, Virgin Australia is out to ensure your journey stateside is comfortable enough to brag about.
Chauffeurs, priority check-in
For Virgin Australia guests travelling on ‘The Business’-branded fares, the journey to Los Angeles begins at home with complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers from front door to airport terminal.
Travellers on lower-priced ‘Business Saver’ tickets and those flying in Premium can instead make their own way to Virgin Australia’s dedicated Priority Check-in desks at the airport for prompt processing, avoiding the often-lengthy airport queues.
‘The Business’ guests receive a checked baggage allowance of 64kg (2x 32kg bags), 7kg carry-on baggage plus an added personal item such as a handbag, purse or laptop computer carried separately. Premium guests receive a checked baggage allowance of 46kg (2x 23kg bags), as well as 7kg carry-on baggage and an added personal item.
Velocity Frequent Flyer Silver, Gold and Platinum members gain a third 32kg checked bag, providing 103kg of total luggage for premium economy guests and a staggering 110kg when booked in The Business: adequate for even the most adventurous shopping trips!
Unwind in the new Virgin Australia International Lounge
After check-in is complete, The Business guests and Velocity Gold and Platinum members booked in Premiumare fast-tracked through security and passport control before relaxing in an airport lounge.
In Sydney, Virgin Australia have recently opened up their new branded international lounge named ‘The House’: offering a choice of self-service as well as a la carte dining throughout the day. The fully tendered bar will offer everything from freshly prepared juices and smoothies, a range of coffee options from around the world, cocktails, champagne and a selection of great Australia wines.
Virgin Australia has partnered with a selection of world-class airlines to provide guests with a seamless travel experience including access to partner airline lounges. Whether they are embarking on an overseas adventure or returning home, eligible guests can escape the hustle and bustle of the busy airport and unwind in one of the designated partner airline lounges.
Getting down to Business
At the pointy end, ’The Business’ seats have direct aisle access measuring a comfortable 21"/53cm wide, broadening to 28"/71cm with the side armrest lowered. Later in the flight, these transform into fully-flat beds of 80 inches (203cm) – the length of a queen bed on the ground – topped with a memory foam mattress, multiple pillows and a duvet for added comfort.
An 18-inch high definition entertainment screen sits at eye-level with supplied noise-cancelling headphones, joined by copious storage options for keeping personal belongings at hand plus both AC and USB charging ports for smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Virgin Australia cabin crew stop by with luxury pyjamas and amenity kits which high flyers are welcome to keep – the latter stocked with Hunter Lab Skincare products and inflight essentials including a pen, eyeshade, dental kit, socks and ear plugs.
Loungewear isn’t provided in Premium Economy, but the promise of amenity kits still delivers that premium touch with a hint of ’The Business’.
With a 2-4-2 seating layout, Premium passengers are never more than one seat from an aisle, with couples perfectly-placed in the outer pairs. Noise-cancelling headphones too come standard – another nicety extended from business class – with each Premium seat measuring 19.5"/49.5cm wide, reclining a generous 9"/23cm and offering a 10.6-inch widescreen entertainment monitor.
Between each Premium row, 41"/104cm of ‘pitch’, or three inches more legroom than enjoyed in Virgin Australia business class on shorter international flights such as between Australia and New Zealand.
When it comes time to dine, a three-course meal is served on proper tableware in both classes complemented by warm bakery items, a range of Nespresso coffees, Madame Flavour teas, and as expected, a selection of beers, wines, spirits, liqueurs and other non-alcoholic drinks. ’The Business’ guests have the added option of an ‘express’ meal service to maximise their productivity or rest, with seasonally-varied menus designed by Virgin Australia resident chef Luke Mangan. Following dessert and throughout the flight, Premium passengers can stop by a ‘Premium Pantry’ for snacks and drinks or can order these from their seat – as they can more hearty bites such as a fresh wrap with chicken and roasted vegetables, or a Mornay pie.
In ‘The Business’, guests can instead meander towards an inflight bar and lounge area to socialise with fellow flyers over cocktails, enjoy a latte or cappuccino at 40,000 feet or partake in a midnight snack. Like all respectable cocktail bars on the ground, Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777 business class too provides a ladies-only restroom with extra space for changing outfits, plus Hollywood-style make-up lighting for any pre-arrival touch-ups. Closer to landing, ’The Business’ flyers can enjoy breakfast in bed or at the inflight lounge, while Premium jetsetters can complete a hotel-style ordering card before drifting off to sleep, being awoken only when their morning meal is ready.
It’s then not long until travellers are back on the ground, reunited with their luggage and ready to relish the day ahead – of course, after ‘The Business’-fare guests enjoy a second complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfer!
Virgin Australia offers daily return flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles using its flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, offering business class, premium economy and economy service. Flight schedules vary between each city.
All images courtesy of Virgin Australia.