Virgin Australia is again rejigging its international network and from next month, 4th April 2017, will once again begin flying between Melbourne and Los Angeles operated by the airline’s long range Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The airline previously operated the flight however due to increased competition from rivals Qantas and United decided to withdraw from the route in October 2014 to focus on providing a daily service between Brisbane and Los Angeles, which it will be reducing to a 6-time weekly service once the new Melboune to Los Angeles route takes effect.
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The new service, operated as flight number VA23, will run 5 times weekly departing Melbourne at 11:30am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and arrive into Los Angeles at approximately 9am the same morning.
The return flight, VA24, will depart from Los Angeles at 9:10pm (21:10) every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday arriving at approximately 6am 2 days later.
With the introduction of Virgin Australia’s new business class seat, dubbed The Business, the airline is stepping up the product offering for the lucrative business and corporate travel market.
The new business class seat is now available on all the airlines Boeing 777 aircraft and represents a significant improvement on their previous business class offering, but more importantly, it also represents a significant upgrade over the existing airlines operating on the Melbourne to Los Angeles route.
Both Qantas and United offer a business class seat that represents previous generations of business class product. Each airlines offers business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration on each of the aircraft operating the route, where as Virgin Australia’s The Business offers direct aisle access for all customers in its 1-2-1 seating configuration. The Virgin Australia seat also offers an incredible amount of storage when compared to the SkyBed mark II on Qantas or United’s business class.
Another significant improvement on Virgin Australia’s redesigned business class cabin is the retention and upgrade of the popular onboard bar, which business class passengers can mingle with colleagues or other passengers during the flight.
In addition to the improved business class hard product (the seat) Virgin Australia has also introduced a first for an Australian airline, passengers at the pointy end of the plane can now also endulge themselves with a Nespresso coffee, a machine specifically designed for Virgin Australia to work at 30,000+ feet, with their main meal or breakfast – possibly the last decent cup of coffee they have before landing into Los Angeles.
Virgin Australia will be offering a 3 class service between Melbourne and Los Angeles, in addition to its new “The Business,” Virgin will also offer a Premium Economy and Economy cabins.
The flight which will depart from Melbourne’s international terminal will arrive into the newly refurbished (and significantly upgraded) Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, which will provide for a speedier arrival, allowing for better connections to Virgin Australia’s US partner, Delta, which has code-share flights for other US destinations.
On the return flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Virgin Australia passengers have some what of a disconnected check-in experience. Passengers for Virgin Australia’s flights departing Los Angeles for Sydney, Brisbane and soon Melbourne, actually need to check-in at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport. After dropping their bags and receiving their boarding passes they need to make their way from Terminal 3 to Tom Bradley International Terminal (only a 5 minute walk) where flight VA24 will be departing from.
Through their codeshare arrangement with Delta, Australian passengers can access Delta’s vast network of US destinations including New York, where it offers multiple daily flights from Los Angeles to New York’ JFK Airport.
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What this means for Australians travelling to New York
Australians, particluarly those from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania will have another option to choose from when deciding which airline to choose when flying to New York. It will also mean greater competition which will in turn lead to lower fares for flights to Los Angeles from Melbourne, cheaper flights more often to New York is always a good thing.
To make a booking for this new service simply visit the Virgin Australia website or your local travel agent.