Virgin is like the sassy teenager of the airline world. Their bold red branding and light-hearted attitude sets them apart from their contemporaries, and it was no surprise to me that Virgin Australia's Business Class also has an edge of difference.
Route: Brisbane - Los Angeles
Flight duration: 13 hours 5 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Checked baggage: Two pieces at 32 kgs each
Class: The Business - Virgin Business Class
As you’d expect from a world-class airline, our check in procedure with Virgin Australia was fast and seamless. I always appreciate not having to wait in line, and my bag check and boarding pass issue took a matter of moments.
The streamlining starts even earlier if you have purchased a “Business” branded fare; a chauffeur will collect you at home and drive you to the airport in style.
The first thing I appreciated in Virgin Business Class was the abundance of storage cubes and power outlets around my spacious seat. There was no need for me to get up and down to rifle through my carry on, as everything was stowed neatly around me.
The 1 - 2 - 1 seating configuration gives everyone direct aisle access, and solo travellers will very likely enjoy the added privacy of a window seat.
The seat itself is over 50 centimetres wide and reclines into a fully-flat bed that is as long as a Queen sized bed! The memory foam mattress and soft duvet made for a very comfortable rest indeed.
The staff stopped by almost immediately with a REN amenities kit and Julie Grbac-designed pyjamas - I’m a sucker for a luxury amenity kit.
I really admire Virgin’s service style - the hosts were casual and unobtrusive, but were there in a flash if you needed them. You only had to ask and they’d be bringing you a drink, showing you how to operate your TV, or doing a full turn down service to transform your seat into a hotel-worthy bed.
Prior to arrival in the States, the hosts passed out arrival cards; but they also provided a pen, and had pre-filled in that annoying field that asks for your flight number. It's certainly something I never seem to remember, and I appreciated this simple touch.
There were no less than 13 pages of movies to choose from, with a satisfying amount of new releases and blockbusters. I opted for a classic and tuned in to The Bodyguard, having recently seen the musical. I also had time to watch the Heath Ledger documentary, and the huge, 18-inch TV screen and noise cancelling headphones allowed me to switch off and become totally absorbed in the show.
More about Virgin Australia:
Food and beverage
The food and beverage service started immediately, with the offer of a drink and some light nibbles as we settled into our Business Class seats. I snacked on a selection of edamame, olives and almonds and sipped a glass of bubbly as the plane prepared to take off.
Lunch was a three-course affair that kicked off with warm crusty garlic bread. With multiple options to choose from, I finally settled on Australian prawns with soba noodles in a miso and wasabi dressing as my entree and a main course of lamb cutlets flavoured with baba ganoush, pomegranate and pistachio.
A three-piece cheese platter with accompanying Luke Mangan fig jam and a glass of Grant Burge aged tawny finished my meal in the sky, which was just as appetising as any meal on the ground.
A case of midnight munchies led me to check out the inflight bar and lounge area, where a nice plate of hummus and warmed flat breads with olives and a cup of peppermint tea hit the spot. There was also Nespresso coffee and cocktails on offer.
I like the way that Virgin strive to give their luxe offerings a little something extra. Whether it’s an eye catching design, a convenient feature or a thoughtful extra, you can tell that they’re constantly working to stand out in the crowd.
*All photos courtesy of Virgin Australia