It occurred to me that the school holidays were only two weeks away and I had not planed to go away. After a family meeting it was decided that Mum would go to London (CX J/CNS-BNE-HKG, BA J/HKG-LHR-SIN-SYD, QF J/CNS-SYD) My younger sister would go to Vancouver to compete in the Whistler Cup (CX J/CNS-HKG-YVR-HKG-CNS) That would leave My other two younger sisters, Dad and myself free to do whatever we wanted. We decided to visit the relatives in Canberra for a couple of days and spend a week at the beach house in Mollymook.
After flying QF J for years as the family travel agent I decided to spice things up and fly VA’s newly launched business class offering. The routing options included the following:
I decided to on CNS-MEL-CBR as it avoids going via SYD which is very busy, consists of flying on AT7 and E90 aircraft which are not fitted with a proper business cabin but rather a ‘eurobiz’ style of seating. I also decided on MEL as the Virgin Australia website stated that flight over 3hours receive a full three course meal so CNS-MEL qualified.
Cairns Airport has just received a 200m facelift, which looks fantastic! It felt very odd walking past the gloomy Qantas counters but over at Virgin it was all smiles and fun. We checked in 14 bags, which took some time, but this was done quickly and with a smile. Virgin Australia is yet to install ‘The Lounge’ at Cairns but it is said to be opening by 2013. it would have been handy to have on that day as the place was packed with 1x 763, 5x 73H, 2x 320 and many DH8’s all leaving between 12:30-1330 Boarding was called 20 minutes before departure for all Business guests as well as Platinum’s and Gold’s.
The aircraft was clean and looked very modern. We were greeted by the cabin manager Silvia and Annalisa who was looking after us today.
We were offered Juice, Water or Champagne and we were told our selections for Lunch. They were pasta salad or prawn curry. I asked if there was a 3 course lunch on offer. Silvia apologized and explained that this aircraft was supposed to go to Brisbane but there was a last minute aircraft swap. I was quite disappointed but she told us to make a complaint, which we ended up receiving $320 of compensation between the four of us. After take off we were offered warm nuts and Luke Mangan cocktails.
One hour after takeoff the lunch service began and was served from the trolley. I found this rather odd considering there were only four passengers all in the front row from the same traveling party. It would have been easier to serve from the galley? We were quite disappointed with the offerings as they were not very substantial for a flight of this length, the desert was melted and the food tasteless. Silvia again apologized.
After lunch Silvia offered digeplayers, coffee and cookies. 40 minutes before landing Silvia commenced a second service with the choice of a pie or sandwich. These were from the economy menu and she put them on business plates. This is what is called going the extra mile.
We arrived into MEL 10m behind schedule and we spent 1.5 hours in the amazing Virgin Australia Lounge.
Our cabin manager Matt who I found arrogant but very efficient greeted us. Cocktails were served while at the gate and to my surprise there was two crew dedicated to the business cabin today. Dinner was offered and everyone in the cabin opted for the Sheppard’s pie. The service was much different on this flight. Matt was serving and taking orders while Rachel was preparing the food in the galley. No trolley was used this made for a more personalized approach. Ironically this meal was much more substantaial than our other flight which was 3 time longer than this one. The quality was top notch I only wish I had ore time to enjoy it!
Hats off to Annalisa and Silvia who win the award for friendliness and going the extra mile!
Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1834 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4300 times:
Virgin Australia has definitely stepped up its game in the Australian business class market. The new meals look pretty good. However with such new service, the crews possibly need more time to get used to the new service and food servies. However it is good to hear that F/As went the extra miles to make the service better.