There are two types of VA A330-200's - two older aircraft which once belonged to Emirates (I am told one of these has recently left the fleet) and the rest are new builds. Flying in the Business Class cabin, I've always been lucky enough to get the new aircraft until this service where I got to experience the ex-Emirates aircraft (I'd flown it once before in Economy back when Qantas grounded their fleet).
The route was PER - MEL.
The date was 13/05/13.
The aircraft was VH-XFA (ex F-WWKB A6-EAB) "Cottesloe Beach".
The seat was 3B.
Here she is - at first I didn't like the new VA colours but now they have grown on me and I think the fleet looks very smart indeed:
I spent about an hour in the Virgin Australia lounge, which is in the same spot that the old Ansett Golden Wing Lounge was, except it's been expanded and upgraded. The lounge is pleasant and has a 24 hour barista so I had a coffee. Boarding was about 40 minutes before the flight and I made my way to the aircraft.
A sign in the aerobridge offering suggestions to those boarding:
On boarding, the cabin crew escort you to your seat (in Business Class) and a short while later the flight attendant looking after the seat I was in introduced herself and brought me a comfort pack (international standard with eye mask, socks, tooth bush, tooth paste, deodorant and a pen). This is followed by a printed menu, as well as a printed wine list.
This was my seat 3B:
Lots and lots of leg room:
The old style recliner must have been top of the line when it was introduced into Emirates service, there were so many choices. The seat was comfortable upright, but in the recline mode it was hard to find a comfortable configuration, but it was better than a standard recliner (not as good as the new aircraft though):
Here's a view of the retro style air-vents and lights of the original Airbus style:
I checked out the Virgin Australia Voyeur magazine - the fleet is certainly much larger than it was a few years ago. Virgin Australia recently acquired Skywest so added Fokker 50, Fokker 100 and A320's to the fold - switch the 777 and A330 with 767's and it kind of reminds me of the old Ansett Australia fleet!
Here's a shot of the cabin once the mood lighting was turned on:
After take off, the chief cabin steward brought me a Galaxy Tablet as the ex-Emirates aircraft only have a loop entertainment system. By now I had moved across to 3A and used the tray table next to me to watch some movies:
I love flight - here we are soaring over the Great Australian Bight:
After hot towels, the cabin crew offer a drinks service. I had a Fat Yak beer (highly recommended) and they bring out warmed nuts in a ceramic bowl:
The menu was pretty impressive, with several options for entrée, three main options and sweets. For entrée I had the wild mushroom soup which comes with bread. Rather than just butter, Virgin Australia offer olive oil and dukha:
The lamb shanks came highly recommended. Other mains options included a chicken dish, fish, and a vegetarian option:
And for sweets, a delicious caramel white chocolate cheese cake - wow!
So, I guess all that was left was time to sit back, relax and enjoy the Virgin Australia service:
- The cabin crew are an absolute delight on every Virgin service - I've never had a grumpy onboard flight attendant.
- There is a bottle of natural mineral water at every seat.
- The seats are embossed with the Virgin logo.
- There Galaxy tablets come with iPad style headphones rather than sound-cancelling ones used on the newer aircraft.
- Bathrooms - there's one at the front and one at the rear of the business cabin for exclusive use of business class passengers.
- The A330 is quiet! Especially up the front here, but the RR engines really do make a glorious noise on take off!
- Cabins was quite empty, 6 seats occupied - though Economy looked full.
Looking very much forward to the next Virgin flight in a few weeks time. Will post something of the newer A330's when time permits.