Virgin Australia could be selling proper business class seats on the majority of its flights -- the ones on Boeing 737-800 planes -- as early as October, Australian Business Traveller has learned.
The airline already flies business class between Sydney and Perth, and on its long-haul V Australia subsidiary.
News of the dates for the full business class -- which you'll be able to book rather than taking pot luck, which is what happens currently -- comes at the bottom of an information sheet on the new Capital Connect service concept for Canberra-Sydney flights, and says:
"The new Boeing 737-800 Business and Economy Class interiors will be rolled out across the majority of Virgin Australia’s current domestic fleet by the end of the year. Business Class is already available for sale on the Airbus A330-200 and will be available for sale on the Boeing 737-800 in the last quarter of 2011."
We make the last quarter of 2011 October-December, so you could well see brand new 737s with the chic Boeing Sky Interior -- plus refurbished ones that have also had the new domestic business class cabin installed -- available for booking in early spring.
With five brand new 737-800s in the fleet, we'd expect specific routes to kick off the business class services. We wouldn't be surprised if those routes involved the top-notch lounges at Melbourne and Brisbane, either...
Business travellers will be interested to see how the 737 service compares with the Coast to Coast Airbus A330 flights (check out our reviews of the inaugural Sydney-Perth flight and a regular Perth-Sydney flight for more on the Coast to Coast offerings).
We'd certainly expect longer flights (and potentially all flights) to come with the new amenity kit featured on opening day.
Will the new business class be more Coast to Coast or more Capital Connect? And will the theme of naming it with Cs (Club Class?) continue? We're taking bets now...
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.