Virgin experience post COVID

Old Aug 17, 2022, 8:59 pm
  #1  
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Virgin experience post COVID

Some observations on the Virgin Australia experience vs pre-COVID. I travel SYD-BNE return every 2-3 weeks. Up on a weekday morning and back later in the week in the evening. I have had no luck upgrading or flying forward (in J) from the lounge this year (although I have purchased J and upgraded well in advance). Flights are generally full. J always seems full.

Kerbside lounge entry still closed at SYD/BNE.

On plane, no snacks in Y any more, and no wine (just tea, coffee, water). In J, the meal has certainly been downgraded. Water or orange juice pre-takeoff. Breakfast is two choices, with a small side pastry and coffee/tea. No cereals. Dinner is also two choices, but with a "desert" of a plastic cheese/cracker pack. No salad, no desert, no bread. Sparkling wine or water served pre-takeoff. Wine with dinner. With dinner, food seems a little bit sparse.

The lounge experience is once again similar to pre-COVID. You can get your own food again. Generally good range. Baristas are back. Wine and beer all there.

Much better than during COVID (no surprise) but no kerbside entry, not being able to fly forward in J, not being able to upgrade in lounge and the downgrade in on-board food is definitely noticeable. I have a fair bit of loyalty, but it does make you wonder about the competition.
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Old Aug 20, 2022, 12:16 am
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I have flown a number of times again with Virgin J recently and I found the service this time wonderful. The staff onboard were absolutely delightful and remembered us from a previous trip. My daughter didn't want to pay for J so travelled in economy and the FA asked why she was all the way "back there" in row three! At the end of the flight they let her pass through the hallowed rope to get off at the same time as myself. (this particularly annoyed a Karen sitting in row 3 with my daughter which was fun to watch!). I thought the meal was very nice but I am a plain eater. In 3 trips I have had the same cajun burger. Our desert was a little heart chocolate. On one flight they allowed someone to get red wine top ups until the plane landed! I was really impressed with the staff of late.

However one of the ground staff needed to think about what they were saying. I paid for our family and grandkids (6 in all) to go from SYD to OOL in J. On check in we were told..."oh that's lucky you are all still in J and weren't bumped for some VIP". I replied "how do you know I am not a VIP". She didn't say another word

I am about to go to Fiji on Virgin instead of Fiji airways and my husband is up in arms like a billionaire saying... "WHAAT, no lounge and no tv on board on international!" That's what you get when cost cutting I guess or a lower price. We are on VA as we travelling with a friend who wanted the cheapest ticket he could get.
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Old Aug 20, 2022, 6:41 am
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Its not all Covid.

In case you forgot VA went into administration and exited with a new owner, Bain Capital.

If you compare the J fares against QF you can see why either, depending on your perspective:

1) QF fares are extortionate;
2) VA product could be better but expect higher fares.

Y is quite basic but the food was never a highlight in Y - rather the fares be lower. Best legroom of any narrow bodies in Australia (except REX which use ex-VA planes and are therefore identical). For a 1 hour hop its fine.
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Old Aug 20, 2022, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12
However one of the ground staff needed to think about what they were saying. I paid for our family and grandkids (6 in all) to go from SYD to OOL in J. On check in we were told..."oh that's lucky you are all still in J and weren't bumped for some VIP". I replied "how do you know I am not a VIP". She didn't say another word
I checked into J in 1A once for a BNE-SYD (boarding pass in hand) and found at the gate I'd been moved to 2F so a couple could sit together in 1A and 1C.
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Old Aug 20, 2022, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by JClasstraveller
Its not all Covid.

In case you forgot VA went into administration and exited with a new owner, Bain Capital.

If you compare the J fares against QF you can see why either, depending on your perspective:

1) QF fares are extortionate;
2) VA product could be better but expect higher fares.

Y is quite basic but the food was never a highlight in Y - rather the fares be lower. Best legroom of any narrow bodies in Australia (except REX which use ex-VA planes and are therefore identical). For a 1 hour hop its fine.
The comparison is really pre and post COVID for VA, and yes I was aware of the ownership change, which is the context I mention this in. VA had much improved J food just before COVID struck and fares are comparable with now to a great extent (perhaps slightly lower). I agree re the hard 737 product, although of course QF do have wide-bodies on certain routes.

Originally Posted by Annalisa12
I have flown a number of times again with Virgin J recently and I found the service this time wonderful. The staff onboard were absolutely delightful and remembered us from a previous trip.
I tend to agree re the staff. They have some excellent people and as you say on a regular route you will see them again and some remember you.
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Old Aug 21, 2022, 1:49 am
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Originally Posted by astonmartinv8
I checked into J in 1A once for a BNE-SYD (boarding pass in hand) and found at the gate I'd been moved to 2F so a couple could sit together in 1A and 1C.
I would have no problem with a move like that but I was told we would of been moved to economy!
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Old Aug 26, 2022, 5:19 am
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Call Centre

I have changed my PER - Vancouver flight from ANA through NRT to VA through BNE. ANA cancelled the flight.
The website says I have to call to select seats on the VA flight. Are there lengthy waits to speak to an agent and if so when is the best time to call?
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Old Aug 26, 2022, 8:07 am
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I had to call to select seats on some internal flights a month or so ago, I think I got through right away. I'm not sure what time of day I called.
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Old Aug 27, 2022, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by allbrosca
I had to call to select seats on some internal flights a month or so ago, I think I got through right away. I'm not sure what time of day I called.
Thanks, I just did it and got straight through. With Air Canada it would be a long wait.
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Old Oct 4, 2022, 2:35 am
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Now, Im wondering about the service on my 6am DRW-ADL...is it gonna be a choice of two hot options? No lounge in DRW anyway at that hour. Then six hours in the ADL lounge, ugh, so hoping the wine is self-serve and the buffet is decent. Not sure what to expect on the shorter ADL-MEL sector, but the prices in business class were certainly not cheap.
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Old Oct 6, 2022, 6:59 am
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Arrived back from Fiji. The service onboard was wonderful. The meal was great (although I am foodie). If I was travelling on soft product only I would choose Virgin for sure again. However, the no lounge and tv screens in seats is enough to make me choose to use another airline next flight.
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Old Oct 6, 2022, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by SkyTeam777
Now, Im wondering about the service on my 6am DRW-ADL...is it gonna be a choice of two hot options? No lounge in DRW anyway at that hour. Then six hours in the ADL lounge, ugh, so hoping the wine is self-serve and the buffet is decent. Not sure what to expect on the shorter ADL-MEL sector, but the prices in business class were certainly not cheap.
I would say it will only be a choice of 2 hot options. I have only been offered two on the last few flights.
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Old Dec 20, 2022, 10:35 pm
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I was in J SYD-BNE-SYD again this week. Food still unimpressive compared to pre-COVID despite every plane being full. For example, dinner was 2 options - parmigana chicken or cheese tortellini. I had the pasta, which came with a single love heart chocolate and a cheese and cracker pack (which have been reduced to three pieces of cheese and three crackers vs Qantas still having 5). Pretty mean and looked it. Wine options were good. Cost was just over $500 each way booked well in advance, circa $879 each way on day. Not cheap but much cheaper than Qantas. I am hoping to see some improvements as margins and competition increases. Mind you only Rex is cheaper in J but don't have the frequency.
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Old Dec 23, 2022, 1:25 am
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I just spent 3 weeks in Australia flying a mix of Virgin and Qantas on a bunch of domestic routes, and let's just say next time I'm in Australia I will ONLY be flying Virgin. Qantas is a national embarrassment, pathetic customer service, nearly every flight late, extremely difficult to deal with on the tickets that were booked as partner awards and had issues.

Virgin on the other hand was a breath of fresh air, both in Y and J. Excellent service, every single flight on time, great lounge experience that included access on arrival. I mean it's just night and day, and when the Qantas fares are so much higher on pretty much every route - I really don't understand why anyone would subject themselves to the torture that is dealing with the Red Roo.
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Old Dec 24, 2022, 1:39 am
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Below is a picture from a recent J meal on a morning MEL-ADL flight. Tastier than I expected from the description and came with other accompanying sides that I no longer remember. Was one of two options offered, the other was a Thai curry that I got to experience on a later flight and was disappointed with.

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