Etihad Airways will take over Virgin Australia flights between Sydney and Abu Dhabi from 6 February to 10 April, as Virgin's Boeing 777-300ER jet which flies the thrice-weekly route undergoes a routine maintenance check.
Virgin Australia partner Etihad will step up to cover Virgin's schedule, so the timings of the VA29 (EY451) and VA30 (EY450) flights won't change.
Etihad's replacement Boeing 777-300ER has business and economy class cabins -- but not premium economy, which is part of the regular Virgin Australia offering.
"Premium Economy Class guests will be accommodated in Business Class on Etihad Airways" a Virgin Australia spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.
That sounds like a good deal to us, and maybe even a good reason for travellers who are yet to book on VA29 and VA30 to buy a Premium Economy ticket.
The swap is also happy news for business class passengers: Etihad's fully flat seats all have direct aisle access, meaning that nobody needs to clamber over you.
Etihad uses the "staggered fully flat bed" layout rather than the "forward facing fully flat bed" Virgin Australia long-haul international option in business class.
(For more on those seats, check out our photo guide to business class seats and cabin layouts.)
An added benefit for business class passengers is the lack of first class on Etihad's Boeing 777 planes, meaning that they'll be further forward on the plane, which will mean a quieter ride to and from Abu Dhabi.
If your timetable is flexible by a day or so, you might want to snag a seat on the replacement flights, which leave Sydney on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, returning from Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Virgin Australia jet's maintenance period could also see the 777 upgraded to Virgin Australia's new business class cabin, which is expected to debut before mid-year.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.