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Virgin Australia starts Brisbane-Perth A330 service

By David Flynn     Filed under: perth, Brisbane, Airbus A330, Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia launches the first of its Airbus A330 'Coast to Coast' flights between Brisbane and Perth today, with two out of three weekday return services to be operated by the big bird.

Virgin's Brisbane-Perth flights have previously used only the smaller Boeing 737-800 planes, which offer less space in both business and economy.

However, a Virgin Australia spokesman told Australian Business Traveller that the Brisbane-Perth A330 service would see both the latest factory-fresh A330 with lie-flat seats business class and 2-2-2 layout, and the older models with business class recliners and a 2-3-2 middle seat configuration, as “our A330 fleet is rotated as needed to meet operational requirements.”

The odds are in your favour, however: Virgin has four of the newer and more comfy A330s in its fleet, twice as many as the older models.

(Virgin’s Airbus A330 fleet will top out at eight by June 2015, by which time the airline will have placed its order for either the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 as its next long-range jet for both transcontinental and international routes.)

Either way, you'll be better off on in A330 business class with cradle sleeper-type recliner seats or Virgin's newest angled lie-flat seats, compared with the standard recliners of the Boeing 737s.

And in economy, the 2-4-2 layout of the A330s alone is a big step up from the 3-3 configuration of the 737s: fewer neighbours means more space and less chance of getting stuck in a middle seat.

Virgin Australia's Brisbane-Perth A330 flights

Want to catch the A330 for your transcontinental trek?

Virgin Australia has three daily Brisbane-Perth return flights: VA464 (departing Brisbane at 8.45am), VA468 (5.30pm) and VA474 (8.15pm).

The Airbus A330s are rostered onto the morning VA464 and evening VA474 services, which arrive in Perth at 12.25pm and 11.55pm respectively.

They're also found on the Perth-Brisbane VA469 (12.30pm) and VA473 (10.45pm) flights

That leaves the third daily service – VA468 from Brisbane (at 5.30pm) and VA463 from Perth (at 7.35am) – on the Boeing 737.

There's also one A330 flight on the weekend: that's the VA474/VA473 service.

"These are complemented on Saturdays and Sundays by the existing Boeing 737 schedule unless stated otherwise," Virgin says.

Virgin Australia's Melbourne-Perth flights are already an "all A330" affair, with the airline considering converting its Sydney-Perth route to exclusively use the Airbus A330 with the arrival of a seventh new A330 later this year.

For the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 15/5/13 by KG

Although I really enjoy the VA hard products on both A330 versions (the new one obviously more so than the ex Ek birds), I am slightly puzzled by the fact that it is somewhat a lottery as to which one you get on the various routes. Surely there must be a way to roster them in on a fixed schedule throughout the network so you know what you are getting (as opposed to checking the seat map prior to departure, sometimes seeing it change last minute)?

1 on 15/5/13 by undertheradar

 aircraft schedules/rotations chop n change on a regular basis due to many factors to extract maximum aircraft useage/revenue!!...they will pop up on any east/west route when required...airlines see you as paying  to get from A to B..in a particular 'class' ....NOT a particular 'seat' 

1 on 15/5/13 by KG

Ofcourse I understand aircraft schedules change but with VA only having six A330 flying only east coast to west coast  from MEL, SYD or BNE (ok, there might be one MEL-SYD rtn with the A330) the aircraft rotation is pretty clear. Unless they mix up the entire schedule due to less weekend flights with the A330 they should be able to publish wether you have the older or new config (and yes I understand there are circumstances that this changes due to a bird going tech). Why would they not? Is it because they are afarid passengers might avoid that flight?

I do not agree with your view on payinjg for the class not the seat. Business Class or First Class have different meanings amongst different airlines and thus I do pay for the hard product (and soft in most cases), rather than just "class". If you fly China Southern in Business Class on international routes you end up in premium economy....A qestion to you: Would you happily fly SQ on the regional configured A330 from SYD to SIn (paying around 7K AUD) if you have the choice to fly the A380 or 773 with their business class "suite" ?

1 on 17/5/13 by Alan

KG,  I take up 2 points from your comment above.

You say, you travel in Premium Economy if you book China Southern International Business class ...??  

Re SQ: a rather generous use of the word "suite" with reference to their A380 and 773.

1 on 17/5/13 by KG

OzTraveller: Indeed, CZ sometimes refers to prem eco as business class (only on the 777 if I am not mistaking, as they do not have it on their A330 and A380 aircraft). They conveniently call their Business Class "First Class" (check out this article from AUSBT on their "First Class" on the A380 http://www.ausbt.com.au/photo-tour-all-three-classes-inside-china-southern-s-airbus-a380)

Re the use of word "suite" for SQ businesclass on the 777 and A380; it was merely to give some context and to be honest, compared to their regional C class (which is very good and actually similar to the VA Business Class on their new A330) the non regional C class is much roomier and somewhat enclosed. Ofcourse their real "suite class" is SQ First class offering on the A380.

2 on 17/5/13 by David

On "suites" - this is perhaps the most bandied-around and misapplied term after 'lie-flat seat'! There are airlines & aircraft with real first class 'suites', as in little private cabins, but plenty more with a low-walled or high-walled first class seat which is also called a 'suite'.

1 on 18/5/13 by Charles

Thanks David, I appreciate AUSBT being a place for travelers to disect Spin from reality.  Some great articles clarifying the difference in business products and what they offer so that theres no surprises when you board.

2 on 15/5/13 by JBH

Good news, a very competitive aircraft/biz product fit for this route.

3 on 15/5/13 by aero-seat

Yes! That's good news. They are definitely better than Qantas' 767 business offering. Although I rarely fly from Brisbane to Perth, the 737s are just not good enough for a route this long. Well done Virgin!

 

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