The best seats in Economy Class on Virgin Australia's Boeing 737-800

The best seats in Economy Class on Virgin Australia's Boeing 737-800

The Boeing 737-800 is the plane most often found on Virgin Australia's flights -- so here's Australian Business Traveller's guide to picking the best seat when you travel.

Beware, though -- there are still a dozen or so of the shorter 737-700 planes in the fleet, which may be marked 73G on bookings, tickets or aircraft type, and the row numbers are different on those planes.

The plane

With over 40 Boeing 737-800 planes in the fleet, and more than 50 on order, it's Virgin Australia's newest and most commonly used plane.

This advice for the back of the bus is unlikely to change with the new business class offerings we covered at the Virgin Australia launch day, although your legroom is likely to increase slightly.

These seat recommendations also apply to the 10 737-800s flown by Pacific Blue, and to the one 737-800 belonging to Polynesian Blue.

The cabin

The Economy cabin stretches from rows 3-30, skipping row 13 for reasons of superstition. There are two exit rows in rows 14 and 15.

The newest planes -- and refitted ones -- have leather slimline seats, giving a little more legroom than the older aircraft. 

Virgin Australia generally uses front jetbridges and airstairs to get you on and off the plane, so the farther forward you sit the faster you'll get off the plane when you land.

The best seats on the plane

Row 15: These aisle and exit row seats over the wing have extra legroom and recline normally. Avoid middle seats 15B and 15E if travelling alone.

Row 14: While these seats are also exit row seats, they don't recline fully. Pick row 15 instead.

Row 3: The very first row of Economy, these seats will be first off the plane. Pick aisle seats 3C and 3D for the fastest exit. Bear in mind, though, that on some refurbished planes there is no cut-out in the bulkhead for your feet, so you have less effective legroom. (See our article explaining pitch and legroom for why.)

The worst seats on the plane

Row 12: Immediately in front of the exit row (there's no row 13), these seats don't recline fully.

10A 10F: These window seats are missing a window, so if being able to look out of the plane is important to you, avoid them.

Row 30: While the back of the plane is more likely to have spare seats next to you, row 30 has limited recline, and is immediately in front of the lavatories, so try row 29 instead.

Next week: Economy Class on Qantas' QantasLink Dash 8 planes.


John Walton

John Walton (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.


  • 777


    12 May, 2011 07:20 pm

    Actually, the informaiton in this is a little out of date.

    Economy on Virgin Australia flights begins in row 3 these days - with only rows 1 and 2 being blocked out for P/E or business. Row 3 has all the benefits of row 4 you've described above and then some. Generally rows 3 and 4 are reserved for high tier FF'ers though and hard to snare otherwise. 

    No member give thanks

  • samdickinson


    17 May, 2011 09:59 pm

    I think Row 3, and the exit rows will be the future site of Premium Economy like on Virgin America. 

    No member give thanks


22 Jan, 2018 01:24 pm


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