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Virgin Blue 737-800 Sydney-Cairns In Y  
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1109 posts, RR: 8
Posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 12493 times:

Introduction


Founded in 2000 with just two Boeing 737-400s, Virgin Blue has since expanded rapidly while establishing itself as a “new” type of airline. Low fares, an extensive a-la-cart business style, all-economy seating, and minimal GDS presence would suggest that Virgin Blue is nothing but a typical low-cost carrier. However, one becomes somewhat confused when they discover that DJ has various interline and codeshare agreements, PTVs on most of their airplanes, and owns V Australia, a full-service international airline. Virgin Blue seems to be stuck in some sort of legacy-low cost purgatory, which will hopefully be solved with the current re-branding process.

The decision to book with DJ was strictly price-related. Qantas, the only other choice on this route, was significantly more expensive. I figured that Virgin Blue couldn’t be that bad since it was part of the Virgin Group, so we booked our flights without putting much thought into it.

DJ does not make their flights available for booking through any GDS, which means that all bookings must be done through the airline directly, using either their website or call center. Virgin Blue’s website is extremely basic, but it gets the job done. We needed to book multiple DJ flight segments, but we were unable to book a multi-destination itinerary on Virgin Blue’s website. Therefore, we ended up with multiple one-way tickets. Seat selection is only available when online check-in opens 24 hours before the flight, so I made sure to select seats the day prior to our flight.

Sydney (SYD):


The drive to airport was without problems, and we were dropped off in front of Terminal 2. Check-in was again painless, and the friendly agent printed out our boarding passes with our pre-selected seats. Our bags were also tagged to CNS, which we had to pay $12 AUD for at the time of booking.



There was no line for security, and I didn’t have to take my shoes off, which was nice. Our flight was listed as on-time, so we made our way to gate 33.







DJ 1413:


Date: 24 March 2011
Airline: Virgin Blue
Flight: DJ 1413
Aircraft: Boeing 737-7Q8
Aircraft Reg: VH-VBL
Departure City: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Departure Airport: Kingsford-Smith Airport (SYD / YSSY)
Arrival City: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Arrival Airport: Cairns Airport (CNS / YBCS)
Scheduled Departure Time: 9:00 AM
Actual Departure Time: 8:57 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:05 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 10:57 AM
Duration: 3:00
Class: Economy
Load Factor: 100%

Boarding was announced about 25 minutes before our scheduled departure time, but premium economy customers and those flying on an Etihad codeshare ticket had priority boarding.

My boarding pass was scanned by a friendly agent, and we made our way towards the jetway. Inside, there was a sign telling those sitting towards the rear of the aircraft that they can walk downstairs and board via the rear stairs. Since our seats were behind the wing, we did just that.





Before welcoming me on board, an incredibly attractive flight attendant told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I apologized to her and said I was really sorry, fearing that they would force me to delete the two pictures I had just taken. After my apology, they turned nice and directed me to my seat.

Arriving at my seat, 17F, I realized that I was unable to fit my backpack under the seat in front of me. It got stuck between my seat cushion and the seatback in front of me. Wow, there was almost no legroom. Extremely thick seats combined with only 30 inches of pitch practically guarantee an uncomfortable flight!



During boarding, the lead flight attendant introduced herself and welcomed us onboard, extending a special welcome to Velocity members and Etihad codeshare guests. I’ve never seen codeshare passengers treated so well!

Pushback commenced 3 minutes early at 8:57, and we were on our way!





Taxi to runway 34L was lengthy, but I was rewarded with views of several cool aircrafts including an EY A340, an EK A380, a VN 777, and an MH 747.





Takeoff was uneventful.



Upon reaching our cruise altitude, the flight attendants began the food and beverage service. Everything was buy-on-board, but I was prepared for this and brought my own drink. I opted not to purchase anything, mainly because I just wasn’t hungry. The menu itself wasn’t too bad, however.







Our crew today consisted of only women, and ALL were young and very attractive. Very Virgin-like!



There were PTVs in every seat on this 737-700, however, you must pay $9 AUD to use it. I chose to just listen to music on my iPod and nap.



As the flight dragged on, I must say that I was anticipating its completion more and more. The seats were quite uncomfortable.





Our descent into CNS finally began, which offered very scenic views of the mountains surrounding Cairns.









The landing was smooth, and taxi to the gate was short.





Cairns (CNS):


The domestic terminal at CNS seemed almost like a makeshift facility, although from what I understand this is not the case at all. In fact, I believe the airport has recently undergone renovations.

Our bags were among the first to come out, and we were met by a representative from Hinterland Aviation to escort us to our connecting flight bound for Lizzard Island. Hinterland Aviation operates from the general aviation section of the airport, so we had to drive to the other side of the airfield.

Conclusion:


All-in-all, I had a nice experience with Virgin Blue. They flew me from SYD to CNS on-time with friendly service, which is what’s most important with domestic carriers nowadays. However, I wouldn’t exactly describe the whole experience as enjoyable. You get the feeling that DJ attempts to nickel and dime their passengers as much as possible, and their 737s are excruciatingly uncomfortable IMO. I would probably only recommend DJ to someone who doesn’t mind paying extra for everything.

Extra:


Here are some pictures of our flight to Lizard Island on Hinterland Aviation.





































Hope you enjoyed!

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19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRvXKaz From Singapore, joined Apr 2011, 195 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 12124 times:

Hi MHTripple7,

Again, very excellent pictures!

Thanks for this insight into Virgin Blue. Its really interesting to read how the low cost services are like down under.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
but premium economy customers and those flying on an Etihad codeshare ticket had priority boarding.

Interesting indeed!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Before welcoming me on board, an incredibly attractive flight attendant told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.

Oh, that pretty much sucked. But I'm glad you sneaked a few shots all the same throughout the flight. I haven't heard of a 'no photo' policy for DJ before.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
extending a special welcome to Velocity members and Etihad codeshare guests. I’ve never seen codeshare passengers treated so well!

Ah.. the benefits of flying Etihad these days  

Regarding the PTV, I understand the flight tracking map is free regardless if you paid for $9, is that right?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
They flew me from SYD to CNS on-time with friendly service, which is what’s most important with domestic carriers nowadays.

Yes I agre, a casual, friendly service is just about what we can ask for flying lo-co. The eye candy crew on your flight was a perk  
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Here are some pictures of our flight to Lizard Island on Hinterland Aviation.

Very beautiful views. What a scenic flight!

Thanks and Kind Regards,
RvXKaz



They say that I'm a dreamer. But I'd only Dreamt Skyward.
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5129 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 12024 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Before welcoming me on board, an incredibly attractive flight attendant told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I apologized to her and said I was really sorry, fearing that they would force me to delete the two pictures I had just taken. After my apology, they turned nice and directed me to my seat.

= UUGH.

Very cool report - mixed feelings about DJ. Those cramped seats look horrible. Also, I am surprised you could not book DJ via GDS/other agencies. I am pretty sure they are GDS listed and can be done. Sort of reminds me of a marked down version of some LCC's in Europe and America. USD 9 for the IFE seems a bit steep.

Thanks again for sharing.

Saludos,
A.

[Edited 2011-05-09 20:48:22]


Live, and let live.
User currently onlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3355 posts, RR: 45
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 11927 times:

I hate you.

I hate you for posting pictures of that flight to Lizard Island. I had just started to get over my 6 weeks there last year, and then you go and do this. Now I've got massive "homesickness" from there.

With that said, the photos were great, and I really enjoyed the report.

...sigh...

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineSloAir From Slovenia, joined Jul 2010, 339 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 11671 times:

Hi MHTripple7,

great report. I have flown on this same route with DJ a couple of years ago so I read with special interest.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Our flight was listed as on-time, so we made our way to gate 33.

We had the same gate and I have the same picture  I liked how the display also shows arriving flights, so you can know if the inbound aircraft is late or on time and from where it is arriving.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Our crew today consisted of only women, and ALL were young and very attractive.

The crew on my flight was great, friendly, joking around, the women were beautiful, nothing to complain about.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
There were PTVs in every seat on this 737-700, however, you must pay $9 AUD to use it.

I knew nothing about Virgin Blue at that time, so I was pleasantly surprised by the PTV and the moving map. I spent the whole flight just watching the map.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I believe the airport has recently undergone renovations.


When I was there in July 2009 there was a lot of construction going on, we had to walk quite a lot with a lot of detours to get to the baggage claim area.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Here are some pictures of our flight to Lizard Island on Hinterland Aviation.


Thank you for posting this, beautiful pictures, Lizard Island seems like a great place to visit. I spend my time in Queensland at Port Douglas, 45 minutes north of Cairns, a great place. I would love to return there someday.

Regards,
Blaž



Visit Ljubljana
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 229 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 11516 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Cool report MH, and great to see a foreigners perspective of an airline I have flown a lot of.

Glad you enjoyed your first DJ experience. I must say I cringed when I saw you were on a VH-VBx aircraft (the -700's). The -800's (VOx/VUx) have different seats and more legroom, and they're much more comfortable. The seats on the brand new aircraft, VH-YFC & YFE have different seats again, and they guarantee more passenger space.

With the PTV, $9 is the fee for the longer flights, it's $6 for shorter ones. I would've paid it but thats just me!

Hope you enjoyed your time up north. I was in Cairns for work for 2 weeks about 2 months ago and surprisingly really enjoyed it. The airport is lovely too. The check in and security areas could be larger but the terminal itself is big enough. The indoor/outdoor jejtway thing is a bit strange though.

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!


User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 950 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11241 times:

Very cool report! Yes you can now book DJ in the GDS. DJ is hosted on Navitaire and VA on Amadeus. With the rebrand I am not sure if they will join together in one system or what the plan is? I cannot wait to see how the new JCL service is. I flew DJ on a BNE-SYD sector in October and the crew were really fun. 2 male and 2 female. They are the "Ken and Barbie" model type but that is certainly fine by me! Thanks for sharing this report. The pictures were fantastic!


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1109 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 10703 times:

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Again, very excellent pictures!

Thanks for this insight into Virgin Blue. Its really interesting to read how the low cost services are like down under.

Thank you! Yes, it was similar to no other carrier I have flown before.

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Oh, that pretty much sucked. But I'm glad you sneaked a few shots all the same throughout the flight. I haven't heard of a 'no photo' policy for DJ before.

I think this policy only applies to the ramp, but I'm not positive. Although I made sure to be sneaky during the flight.

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Ah.. the benefits of flying Etihad these days.

Indeed!

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Regarding the PTV, I understand the flight tracking map is free regardless if you paid for $9, is that right?

Correct, I watched the moving-map display throughout the entire flight without having to pay.

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Yes I agre, a casual, friendly service is just about what we can ask for flying lo-co. The eye candy crew on your flight was a perk.

Exactly, and I was quite impressed with the "eye-candy".

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 2):
Very cool report - mixed feelings about DJ. Those cramped seats look horrible. Also, I am surprised you could not book DJ via GDS/other agencies. I am pretty sure they are GDS listed and can be done. Sort of reminds me of a marked down version of some LCC's in Europe and America. USD 9 for the IFE seems a bit steep.

Thanks, and that's interesting about the GDS. Our travel agent (Amex) seemed unable to issue DJ tickets, and I couldn't find any Orbitz. This was back in February 2011 though. Or maybe I didn't look hard enough.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 3):
I hate you.

I hate you for posting pictures of that flight to Lizard Island. I had just started to get over my 6 weeks there last year, and then you go and do this. Now I've got massive "homesickness" from there.

With that said, the photos were great, and I really enjoyed the report.

Yeah it was quite cool. We went snorkeling on the outer reef, which was great (minus the fact I got extraordinarily sun-burnt). The staff were also very nice.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
great report. I have flown on this same route with DJ a couple of years ago so I read with special interest.

Thanks, SloAir.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
We had the same gate and I have the same picture  I liked how the display also shows arriving flights, so you can know if the inbound aircraft is late or on time and from where it is arriving.

Agreed, the more information the better.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
The crew on my flight was great, friendly, joking around, the women were beautiful, nothing to complain about.

Seems pretty consistent throughout DJ. Their employees are a strong point of the airline IMO.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
I knew nothing about Virgin Blue at that time, so I was pleasantly surprised by the PTV and the moving map. I spent the whole flight just watching the map.

That's precisely what I did.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
When I was there in July 2009 there was a lot of construction going on, we had to walk quite a lot with a lot of detours to get to the baggage claim area.

The layout is still a little strange. The whole terminal is level with the ground, and you actually walk up stairs to get to each jet-way.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
Thank you for posting this, beautiful pictures, Lizard Island seems like a great place to visit. I spend my time in Queensland at Port Douglas, 45 minutes north of Cairns, a great place. I would love to return there someday.

Yes, it was a great place.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
Cool report MH, and great to see a foreigners perspective of an airline I have flown a lot of.

Thanks, BNEFlyer.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
Glad you enjoyed your first DJ experience. I must say I cringed when I saw you were on a VH-VBx aircraft (the -700's). The -800's (VOx/VUx) have different seats and more legroom, and they're much more comfortable. The seats on the brand new aircraft, VH-YFC & YFE have different seats again, and they guarantee more passenger space.

I just saw some pics of their newest 738 with the Boeing Signature Interior, and it looks great. Are there plans to retrofit the better seats into the -700s?

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
With the PTV, $9 is the fee for the longer flights, it's $6 for shorter ones. I would've paid it but thats just me!

I usually do, but for reason I just wasn't in the mood for TV.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
Hope you enjoyed your time up north. I was in Cairns for work for 2 weeks about 2 months ago and surprisingly really enjoyed it. The airport is lovely too. The check in and security areas could be larger but the terminal itself is big enough. The indoor/outdoor jejtway thing is a bit strange though.

It was great, and I have also heard good things about Cairns. And yep, I have similar opinions about the airport.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 5):
Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!

Look out for a Qantas TR which includes an aborted landing and diversion.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 6):
Very cool report! Yes you can now book DJ in the GDS. DJ is hosted on Navitaire and VA on Amadeus. With the rebrand I am not sure if they will join together in one system or what the plan is? I cannot wait to see how the new JCL service is. I flew DJ on a BNE-SYD sector in October and the crew were really fun. 2 male and 2 female. They are the "Ken and Barbie" model type but that is certainly fine by me! Thanks for sharing this report. The pictures were fantastic!

Thanks! Glad to know that DJ flights can be booked via the GDS, and I can easily picture a "Ken and Barbie" crew on DJ haha.


User currently offlineKent350787 From Australia, joined May 2008, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 10691 times:

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):
I just saw some pics of their newest 738 with the Boeing Signature Interior, and it looks great. Are there plans to retrofit the better seats into the -700s?

I understand that all leased 700s will exit the fleet in the next two years. The 2 owned 700s may be upgraded, but it's unknown at this stage.

Thanks for the report - I've never flown DJ (and prefer QF's widebodies if an option on a route, as with SYD-CNS), but may be tempted with the rebranding.


User currently onlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3355 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 10563 times:

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):
Yeah it was quite cool. We went snorkeling on the outer reef, which was great (minus the fact I got extraordinarily sun-burnt). The staff were also very nice.

I'm assuming you were at the resort (I was at the Research Station). I see you are 16-20. If you don't mind me asking, was this just a family vacation, or something else altogether? Lizard Island isn't exactly...cheap.

I wish I'd had a chance to go on the outer reef, but even still, there are some really, really nice reefs right around the island.

Glad you enjoyed Lizard. I figured I'd be the only person with a Lizard Island trip report for a while! I was wrong!  

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 229 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 10376 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):
Look out for a Qantas TR which includes an aborted landing and diversion.

It wouldn't be a QF flight without one, both or more of these!

All DJ 738's should be retrofitted by the end of 2011. As Kent mentioned the -700's are going (AR already have 2).


User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 9857 times:

Quoting RvXKaz (Reply 1):
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Before welcoming me on board, an incredibly attractive flight attendant told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.

Oh, that pretty much sucked. But I'm glad you sneaked a few shots all the same throughout the flight. I haven't heard of a 'no photo' policy for DJ before.

All Australian airlines welcome photos. I've often seen crew taking photos or posing for photos, particularly with Asian guests. The only restriction is when you walk across the ramp. (Electric sparks/fuel vapours yadda yadda yadda)
For a similar reason they will ask you to turn off cell phones iuntil inside the terminal when boarding via the ramp.

I used to live in Cairns and the photos bring back many happy memories. Thanks.



What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
User currently offlineWestjet!Eh! From Canada, joined Jul 2001, 153 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9435 times:

You can take photos inside the pax bridge and terminal but you are not allowed to take photos at the tarmac and outside virgin australia's terminal (airside only).

User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9318 times:

Nice trip report MHTripple7. I guess this will be one of the last trip reports on Virgin Blue as now known as Virgin Australia.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
DJ does not make their flights available for booking through any GDS

DJ allow bookings via Australian GDS'. It books through their system and returns a booking number. It doesn't allow foreign agents to book via their GDS as still technically a low cost carrier but they are slowly making the change to more traditional carrier like QF as introducing business class seats to replace premium economy. They are going through a wave of changes, i.e. also rebranding V Australia and Pacific Blue to Virgin Australia as well.

The pics you have above Lizard Island are spectacular. Makes me want to go back to the Great Barrier Reef.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
You get the feeling that DJ attempts to nickel and dime their passengers as much as possible, and their 737s are excruciatingly uncomfortable IMO. I would probably only recommend DJ to someone who doesn’t mind paying extra for everything.

I'd agree that you do pay for the extras on DJ however their fares sometimes reflect they are cheaper than QF so you go with that however if same price as QF, usually go with them. You would need to try Tiger Airways in Australia and definitely think DJ had heaps of leg room!

Cheers,

Rob



You can never travel too much in your life!
User currently offlineAv8rDAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 463 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8924 times:

Great report and nice pics. My first and only DJ experience was back in October of 2010, SYD-BNE and return. Overall, I did not remember the flight being uncomfortable in terms of leg room. But I probably would change my opinion if I had to fly SYD-PER nonstop, which I suppose would be a good 4-5 hours.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
There was no line for security, and I didn’t have to take my shoes off, which was nice. Our flight was listed as on-time, so we made our way to gate 33.

Check-in for DJ was a pleasant experience (unlike Tiger Airways, which turned the shared hall into total chaos). The Virgin Blue Lounge at SYD is awesome. I used my Delta SkyClub membership to access it - great drinks, bar, coffee, buffet, business lounge, showers - the lot. Wish Delta could match DJ with the SkyClubs, but I guess they do the best they can with the budget they have.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Our crew today consisted of only women, and ALL were young and very attractive. Very Virgin-like!

Same on my flight - none must have been older than 28 and all were stunningly good looking.   



Maintain thine airspeed, lest the Earth rise up and smite thee.
User currently offlineKent350787 From Australia, joined May 2008, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8754 times:

Quoting Av8rDAL (Reply 14):
Same on my flight - none must have been older than 28 and all were stunningly good looking.

There were some interesting issues around DJ's recruitment policies when starting up, and arguments that they traded off ability for looks in their crew (and a lawsuit from a number of ex-Ansett staff who weren't recruited by DJ, which took ages to resolve).

Anyway, no accidents to date, so the looks vs ability argument hasn't been tested.....  


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6938 posts, RR: 77
Reply 16, posted (3 years 7 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8308 times:

Nice report with many good pictures! Lizzard Island seems to be a great place. I flew BNE-HTI-BNE in 2006, Hamilton Island looked fantastic from the air. And the approach alone is worth going there. Btw - Virgin Blue clearly beat Jetstar.

2 Hours In Paradise: Hamilton Island (JQ/DJ) +Pics (by PlaneHunter Oct 18 2006 in Trip Reports)


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1109 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7936 times:

Quoting Kent350787 (Reply 8):
I understand that all leased 700s will exit the fleet in the next two years. The 2 owned 700s may be upgraded, but it's unknown at this stage.

Interesting, why are they getting rid of them?

Quoting Kent350787 (Reply 8):
Thanks for the report - I've never flown DJ (and prefer QF's widebodies if an option on a route, as with SYD-CNS), but may be tempted with the rebranding.

Yes, they appear to be becoming more of a legacy carrier (or low-cost carrier with perks, like JetBlue).

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 9):
I'm assuming you were at the resort (I was at the Research Station). I see you are 16-20. If you don't mind me asking, was this just a family vacation, or something else altogether? Lizard Island isn't exactly...cheap.

Yes I was with my family. We stayed for about 3 nights I believe, and it was indeed expensive (too expensive IMO). I was shocked to find several guests at the resort who were staying for two weeks!

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 9):
I wish I'd had a chance to go on the outer reef, but even still, there are some really, really nice reefs right around the island.

I agree, and there are also a lot of sharks! Although I don't believe they usually cause problems.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 9):
Glad you enjoyed Lizard. I figured I'd be the only person with a Lizard Island trip report for a while! I was wrong!

How was your experience at the research station?

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 10):
It wouldn't be a QF flight without one, both or more of these!

Haha, yes something always seems to go wrong on QF.

Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 11):
All Australian airlines welcome photos. I've often seen crew taking photos or posing for photos, particularly with Asian guests. The only restriction is when you walk across the ramp. (Electric sparks/fuel vapours yadda yadda yadda)
For a similar reason they will ask you to turn off cell phones iuntil inside the terminal when boarding via the ramp.

Interesting. I did find the cell phone rules to be more restrictive than U.S. carriers as well.

Quoting Westjet!Eh! (Reply 12):
You can take photos inside the pax bridge and terminal but you are not allowed to take photos at the tarmac and outside virgin australia's terminal (airside only).

Well now I know!

Quoting travelR (Reply 13):
Nice trip report MHTripple7. I guess this will be one of the last trip reports on Virgin Blue as now known as Virgin Australia.

Thank you, and yes it would seem so. I am anxious to read about experiences with the new branding.

Quoting travelR (Reply 13):
DJ allow bookings via Australian GDS'. It books through their system and returns a booking number. It doesn't allow foreign agents to book via their GDS as still technically a low cost carrier but they are slowly making the change to more traditional carrier like QF as introducing business class seats to replace premium economy. They are going through a wave of changes, i.e. also rebranding V Australia and Pacific Blue to Virgin Australia as well.

Cool, I assume they will attract more foreign passengers with a larger GDS presence.

Quoting travelR (Reply 13):
I'd agree that you do pay for the extras on DJ however their fares sometimes reflect they are cheaper than QF so you go with that however if same price as QF, usually go with them. You would need to try Tiger Airways in Australia and definitely think DJ had heaps of leg room!

Yup, they were cheaper than QF on all of our flight legs.

Quoting Av8rDAL (Reply 14):
Check-in for DJ was a pleasant experience (unlike Tiger Airways, which turned the shared hall into total chaos). The Virgin Blue Lounge at SYD is awesome. I used my Delta SkyClub membership to access it - great drinks, bar, coffee, buffet, business lounge, showers - the lot. Wish Delta could match DJ with the SkyClubs, but I guess they do the best they can with the budget they have.

I also found DJ's ground handling to be significantly better than QF's and JQ's. DJ just seems to be very efficient, and there is never any messing around. On my 3 flights with QF and JQ, everything moved slower, and we always waited at least 20 minutes for some mysterious "paper work".

Quoting Av8rDAL (Reply 14):
Same on my flight - none must have been older than 28 and all were stunningly good looking.

Seems to be a system-wide thing!

Quoting Kent350787 (Reply 15):
There were some interesting issues around DJ's recruitment policies when starting up, and arguments that they traded off ability for looks in their crew (and a lawsuit from a number of ex-Ansett staff who weren't recruited by DJ, which took ages to resolve).

Interesting indeed. I'd say that an airline should have the freedom to recruit whoever they want.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 16):
Nice report with many good pictures! Lizzard Island seems to be a great place. I flew BNE-HTI-BNE in 2006, Hamilton Island looked fantastic from the air. And the approach alone is worth going there. Btw - Virgin Blue clearly beat Jetstar.

Thank you, and that's a very nice trip report.


User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1109 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7933 times:

Sorry guys, I have just realized that the title has the wrong aircraft! It should read "Virgin Blue 737-700 Sydney-Cairns In Y". My apologies.

User currently offlineKent350787 From Australia, joined May 2008, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7772 times:

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 17):

Interesting, why are they getting rid of them?

For 737's it would appear that they're moving to a fully owned model, and pretty much standardising around the 738 (although I wonder whether the 739 will come into the mix to compete with QF capacity?). Domestic fleet will be ATR72-500/600, E190, mostly 738 and A330 in the next year or two.


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