Sydney Adelaide in Business Class on Virgin Australia: very decent

Virgin Australia’s business class service between Sydney and Adelaide is of good quality, confirming the good impression I had of the airline on my previous flights.

When I planned my trip, there weren’t many options available for domestic flights if I wanted to avoid the low-cost airlines: Qantas or Virgin Australia. Given the prices charged by Qantas, as on my previous trip, I opted for Virgin Australia, which was half the price and, for this particular flight, I’ll make the effort to buy a business class ticket since I hadn’t yet tried this class on the airline.

Here’s a reminder of the air routing for this trip.

You’ll find a summary of the articles about this trip to Australia at the bottom of the page.

Booking

Several months before my trip, I booked a one-way ticket between Sydney and Adelaide. So far I’ve only tried Virgin Australia’s premium economy (Economy X) and I thought this would be a good opportunity to try business class if the fare was affordable.

So I found a ticket for 230 euros one way on Virgin Australia. Just in case, I looked at what Qantas was offering: 450 euros. In one case it’s still expensive given the distance, in the other it’s overpriced, but as I don’t have the opportunity every day to try out Australian domestic flights, I opt for Virgin Australia.

In any case, we can’t say that domestic flights are cheap in Australia, especially in the front classes.

Check-in and ground experience

I check-in online the day before and arrive at the airport a few hours before departure to try out the lounge and see a bit of this terminal, which I had already experienced briefly last year.

It will take me 5 minutes by Uber, no more, to reach the domestic terminal from the Moxy Sydney Airport.

I go to the counter to drop off my luggage. While economy and economy X passengers have access to automated kiosks, business passengers have access to human beings.

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As on my previous Virgin Australia trips, the staff are really friendly and 5 minutes later I’m ready to go airside.

My suitcase was 1kg over the authorized limit (23 vs 24kg) but the agent turned a blind eye. I hope it will be the same for my other flights, which will not be business class flights. This is the disadvantage of routes that mix regions with different climates: when the outfits I needed to survive Gothenburg in the middle of winter joined the suitcase from which I had taken summer outfits, the weight of the latter immediately increased.

Off I go to the security checkpoints, where I’m pleasantly surprised: since my last visit just over a year ago, the scanners have been replaced by state-of-the-art equipment, and it’s no longer necessary to empty the contents of your bags. In the end, the process was extremely fast and smooth, and once again, the agents were very friendly.

My next stop was the Virgin Australia lounge: a pretty, pleasant place, but with less-than-perfect service.

I leave the lounge long before my flight time because I feel like taking a walk: the day before, I’d had 3 flights, including two long-haul ones, and spent 24 hours almost consecutively on a plane, so I feel an urgent need to stretch my legs and get some exercise.

The terminal isn’t exactly stunning – a bit like US airports, with their low ceilings and charmless boarding lounges – but it does boast a large food court and a decent number of stores, which is important.

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I had indeed made a mistake when packing and had taken adapters for US sockets, not Asian ones as is necessary here. On the other hand, I’d have to visit the whole terminal and try all the stores unsuccessfully to finally find one that was selling some! Strange, it’s the kind of place where this kind of need must be quite frequent, even if it’s a domestic terminal.

It’s finally time to go to my gate. Depending on which part of the terminal you’re in, you’ll see rows of Qantas or Virgin Australia aircraft reigning supreme here, along with a few local low-cost carriers.

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There’s no crowd in the departure lounge yet, but our 737 is there and waiting for us.

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Boarding

We board on time, and business class and Economy X passengers have priority boarding. Passengers seated in the rear half of the aircraft board via the rear door, passing over the tarmac as on SAS.

Virgin Australia’s B737 business class cabin

Virgin Australia has a specific cabin for its medium-haul business class, unlike European airlines. There are two rows of business with a 2-2 configuration.

The seats look very well made.

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As I’ve noticed in the past, the business class cabin is separated from the economy cabin by a solid partition.

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This is my seat, with a wide armrest separating me from the seat next to me.

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The legroom is more than comfortable.

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The flight

During boarding, before take-off, we are offered a welcome drink. I’ll have champagne (or sparkling wine…I’m not really sure…).

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We push back on schedule and after a short taxi we line up on the runway.

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I love seaside airports because they often offer great views on take-off and landing.

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Service starts quickly and, pleasantly, we’re served a hot dish.

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A rather well-cooked piece of meat, and in the end a pretty good, solid dish, even if it’s not fine dining. In any case, for a flight of just over 2 hours, it does the job, even if they could have served a real starter.

There will be several refills of wine and water during the flight.

I’ll end the flight watching series on my iPad.

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The scenery isn’t exactly inspiring…

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Arrival and disembarkation

We start our descent and the final approach gives me my first view of Adelaide, with, I’ll realize later, the Intercontinental Hotel where I’ll be staying.

After a short taxi we park next to an Air New Zealand.

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For faster, boarding-like operations, both front and rear doors are used.

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I quickly exit the terminal and make my way to the cab stand to go to my hotel.

The crew and the service

A constant at Virgin Australia: a young, smiling and very friendly crew.

Bottom line

Overall, a good flight with good service, but I’m not sure it justifies the price difference with premium economy, which is very affordable but where food is not free.

The articles about this trip to Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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