Road Warrior Tested: Virgin Australia Business Class
Incredible comfort, service and meals. That's the short take of my experience flying coast to coast from Sydney to Perth on Virgin Australia last month.
In an effort to lure a greater share of business travelers away from Qantas, Virgin Australia recently upgraded their aircraft and service on the highly competitive, five-hour journey across the continent.
Here's a full review of my Virgin Australia experience in business class for this installment of "Road Warrior Tested."
Route: Sydney to Perth, Australia.
Aircraft: An Airbus A330 featuring 24 leather, lie-flat seats in business class and 255 leather seats in economy.
Cabin/Seat Assignment: Business class seat 3K, a lie-flat window seat, which offered up to 60 inches of space between rows and a 19.5-inch wide seat.
Comfort: Airbus A330s are typically flown on international routes. Virgin Australia's domestic version of the aircraft can easily compete with the top-rated airlines in the world in terms of comfort and cabin layout.
The business class cabin has only 6 seats across each row of the widebody aircraft and offers international-style seats, which I found extremely comfortable in all positions. The electronic seat controls are intuitive, allowing for easy seat adjustment at the touch of a button. It also included a lumbar support feature. The headrest manually extends and can be adjusted into several positions.
Business class passengers are provided a plush blanket, large pillow and an international-style amenity kit featuring Australian brand Grown skin care products.
Meals: Virgin Australia partners with Australian chef Luke Mangan to provide a sophisticated menu of meal choices. My dinner flight was a culinary delight and began with hot towel service, followed by a drink of my choice and warmed mixed nuts. For starters, either parsnip, leek and thyme soup, or harissa spiced chicken with fattoush salad and lemon sumac dressing were offered. I went with the latter and it was simply delicious.
A small salad consisting of spinach, rocket and radicchio with red wine vinegar and mustard dressing complimented my main course of tomato and saffron chicken with green olives, peas and cous cous. Other selections available were ocean trout with cauliflower puree, zucchini, lemon and anchovy butter, or massaman curry of pumpkin, potato and zucchini with French beans and Jasmine rice.
A beautifully presented cheese plate preceded dessert, which was an absolutely delicious toffee, banana and chestnut pudding with pecans and maple syrup.