AeroplaneFreak From Australia, joined Sep 2006, 580 posts, RR: 1 Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 9940 times:
Yesterday when Virgin Australia announced that they would be putting a Boeing 777-300ER on a Sydney to Melbourne leg, it was impossible to resist. So I used some of my Velocity points to book a return trip.
I booked the earliest flight up to Sydney, which was DJ803, leaving Melbourne at 06:00. I checked in online the night before, and selected seat 7F.
I arrived at Melbourne Airport around 05:10. I had a quick snack in the lounge, before I proceeded through security. DJ803 was leaving from Gate 3, and I was one of the first to board. We had a slight delay, but soon we were rolling down RWY16.
After disembarking I went immediately to the check in counters, and checked in for DJ9502, the B77W flight to Melbourne. I had preselected seat 11K in premium economy, and was pleased to see it written on my boarding pass.
I then went straight to the lounge and found myself a nice seat looking onto the apron.
At first glance I saw my first Virgin Australia ATR-72, and Emirates' brand new A380 (A6-EDP). I also managed to get a few regos I had yet to record.
I left the lounge around 09:15, and walked down to Gate 41. As soon as I got to the gate I noticed five buses ready to take us to our Boeing 777-300ER, which was being operated by VH-VPE. The staff were all trying to get things sorted for this very unusual flight, and they had a few hiccups with their system software. Busses Await To Take Us To Our Boeing 777-300ER - VH-VPE (Sydney Airport)
Date: 1st November 2011 Route: Sydney to Melbourne Airline: Virgin Australia (Operated by V Australia) Flight Number: DJ9502 Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (VH-VPE) Seat: Premium Economy - 11A Distance: 705km Departure Gate: T2 – Gate 41 SCH/ACT Departure: 10:30am / 10:42am SCH/ACT Arrival: 12:00pm / 12:07pm Arrival Gate: T3 – Gate 12
Soon I was on walking onto Bus #1. It was only then that I realized that this flight was NOT going to be packed. It looked like there was only 100 people lining up, and in the end they got everybody quite comfortably into just two buses.
We were soon moving across the tarmac, getting very close to a QantasLink Dash 8 DHC-200 and a Qantas B747-400. We had to wait around five minutes for a Qantas B767-300 to taxi, but then it was a wide open road and VH-VPE was getting bigger and bigger. Virgin Australia Pier - Terminal 2
The bus stopped right in front of the stairs and before I knew it, I was sitting in seat 11K with plenty of legroom. It took just five minutes to get everyone on-board and, of the 40 seats in Premium Economy, only 8 people, including myself, we're being seated there. In fact I had the entire row 11 to myself.
We had to wait for around 10 aircraft to either take off or land, so we were on the ground for a good twenty minutes. Finally after Virgin Australia E190 cleared the runway, we were roaring down 16R, with some great wing flex.
This was the first time on a Boeing 777 for me, and with basically no one around it was very peaceful and enjoyable.
We were soon descending into Melbourne. We landed on RWY16 and taxied to Gate 12 at Virgin Australia's T3. This was the first time in a while (if not the first time ever) that a B777 had parked at this gate. The aerobridge was not used, as it is currently in u/s.