Virgin Atlantic pulls out of Sydney: what's your strategy?

Virgin Atlantic pulls out of Sydney: what's your strategy?

YOUR SAY | Virgin Atlantic pulls down the shutters on its daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights next week, marking the end – at least for now – of the Richard Branson-backed airline's foray into Australian skies.

As Australian Business Traveller has previously reported, Qantas and Cathay Pacific both stepped up with status match offers against Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club Gold or Silver status in the hope of soaking up their share of the airline's Australian passengers.

We've also scoped out the best ways to use your Flying Club miles on Virgin Atlantic's partner airlines.

So with D-Day looming for the Sydney-Hong Kong flights VS200/201, we'd like to hear from regular Virgin Atlantic travellers on that route.

Is Cathay Pacific or Qantas set to pick up your business after next week, what drive that choice, and did you land a status match against your Flying Club card?

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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.
 

15 comments

  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    30 Apr, 2014 10:03 am

    In my opinion, Qantas can't be beat. A380 service on five out of seven days a week, great timed flights meaning I leave Sydney at a decent time and arrive into Hong Kong at a great time and and no overnight flying on the way up which means I can have a good nights sleep in preperation for a full day's work.

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  • hutch

    hutch

    30 Apr, 2014 10:11 am

    Interesting point of view... The A380 is great, but that is only from 1 Ausrtralian port. Cathay flies from six and two of those ports have 3/4 daily departures (yes, Cathay benefits from its geographic location and its single hub operation.)

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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    30 Apr, 2014 10:14 am

    Thanks Hutch. You're right about Cathay flying from more ports however the question was: 'So with D-Day looming for the Sydney-Hong Kong flights VS200/201, we'd like to hear from regular Virgin Atlantic travellers on that route' so I was answering as a traveller on the SYD-HKG service

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  • hutch

    hutch

    30 Apr, 2014 11:05 am

    Very true and as a caveat whenever I fly to HKG (as I am lesiure traveller on that route) I try to get on the QFA380 - sadly my last QFA380 flight home was sub with an unrefurb 747 (another story, another day).

    But even just between SYD-HKG Cathay do up to 4 daily flights with a top notch business product. If I was a VS business customer now looking for other HKG options, I'd have to look at Cathay pretty seriously.

    But as for other Australian ports, whilst not directly relevant, they do come into play. This week a QF A380 went tech at HKG (of course it can happen to any plane). QF128 was then delayed overnight and so was the QF128 service the following day.

    Qantas's ability to get you home with other options is limited to 2x A330 flights to BNE/MEL (with 2nd rate product - which will of course change). Cathay has 2 HKG to SYD night depatures, with sole night depatures to MEL/BNE and some ADL/CNS services. This doesn't mean that they will get you there everytime, but they just genrally have better capacity if things go wrong.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    30 Apr, 2014 09:38 pm

    CX has three night departures to SYD - 18:50, 21:30, 23:55.

    It would certainly be preferable if the QF flight arrived a little later. It currently is scheduled to arrive in SYD at 0720 local time, which is 0520 in HKG time - the resultant wakeup for "cafe breakfast" is at something like 0400 HKG time. Bruuuutal.

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  • SentinelInfoSec

    SentinelInfoSec

    1 May, 2014 10:31 pm

    QF128 is pretty painful, and I've given up on it in favour of CX101.  From my perspective, it could do with being about three hours later than it is currently.  Not only is the arrival too early, but as I am usually heading directly home from Shenzhen, I find the 8pm departure forces me to wrap thing up in SZ earlier than I'd prefer in order to get back to HK in time.  A QF flight with a 2nd gen skybed around the same time as CX101 would get my business back.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    1 May, 2014 11:22 pm

    Indeed! I would think that two departues to Sydney could be justified. Both overnight, the first one ought to leave at around 20:00 and the second one around 23:00. It would be nicely spaced out, but it would need two smaller aircraft, e.g. two A330s, and we know how lovely those are!

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  • spinoza

    spinoza

    30 Apr, 2014 10:54 am

    Now that there's only 1 flights between HKG - SYD I really struggle with the timing of QF128. Landing at 7:20 is a nightmare unless you need to get to work by 9am. It means that you get woken up around 3-3:30am HKG time for breakfast, which means you have at most 4 hours to sleep (esp after digesting dinner). 

    On CX101 I have slept 7-8 hours before, and eaten breakfast!

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  • Viscount

    Viscount

    30 Apr, 2014 11:49 am

    I must be living in the past, are you saying QF has only one flight a day out of SYD to HKG? No wonder the comments about Cathay. 

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  • eminere

    eminere

    30 Apr, 2014 12:43 pm

    Yep, only one SYD-HKG daily flight on QF.

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    30 Apr, 2014 01:06 pm

    Not being a One-World FF and with VS exiting the SYD-HKG route, I'll be travelling to HKG via SIN on SIngapore Airlines where I have the option of earning status credits on either my *A FF account or my VA account.

    Sure it's not direct but I'm happy to enjoy the SQ lounges in SIN.

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  • cxflyer

    cxflyer

    30 Apr, 2014 01:31 pm

    Travellers will also have to consider the upcoming changes to the QFF program in July if  considering a status match with either QF or CX.  Particularly as earning status credits/points on QFF on oneworld partner airlines from July are reduced.

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    30 Apr, 2014 05:25 pm

    I haven't done the trip to Hong Kong in some years but this was one of the few services with a connection from Adelaide that didn't have me leaving for Sydney at 6 or 7am to get the onwards flight.I did it once on Qantas in 2002 and only had 80 minutes to connect at SYD which was awful and was left holding everything while my father went over to customs to register the cameras which got us to the boarding gate at 1130am.If It weren't for the fact I am a Velocity Member I would consider Cathay Pacific and their nonstop out of ADL if planning to return in the future.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    30 Apr, 2014 09:21 pm

    Why fly direct when you can connect, in SIN of all places?

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  • Robert  K

    RobertK

    30 Apr, 2014 11:05 pm

    Wow sadly missed as one of the QF ex platinum I converted to VA and V atlantic have flown this leg return 3 times,  you are offered full table service,  direct aisle access,  full flat bed , duna and proper pillow . Sure qantas has the a new plane but that's  is , I have fresh eyes as my experience was last Saturday with both qantas as cathay to Taipei , sorry good but not great.

    ps with the A380 new configuration remember standing for the toilet , well it's qantas new buisness class experience as they have reduced it to 2 in the main cabin and 2 share with premium ecconomy .

    qantas product slip to a budget ecconomy with Hong Kong buisness lounge like a better version of qantas club, no champagne only sparking wine , que to eat que to use the shower  ps use catahy wing it like a business class should be .

    VA well missed.

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