The complete guide to Virgin Australia Boeing 737 business class

From the best seat to lounge access, WiFi, meals and more, here’s your guide to Virgin business class.

By Chris Ashton, February 7 2024
The complete guide to Virgin Australia Boeing 737 business class

Business class is the highest level of service and comfort on Virgin Australia. You’ll find it on most flights to/from major hubs and cities across Australia, plus international hops to Bali, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Samoa and Vanuatu.

Consisting of eight leather recliners in a 2-2 layout – often (though not always) with a perspex screen between the business and economy cabins – the experience includes lounge access where available, complimentary food and drinks, WiFi and more.

Virgin Australia is steadily rolling out a new 737 business class seat.
Virgin Australia is steadily rolling out a new 737 business class seat.

Passengers also receive a boosted checked luggage allowance of two 32kg bags, versus a single 23kg bag whenever flying on a Choice or Flex economy fare.

Best Virgin Australia 737 business class seats

Taking wing across the majority of its Boeing 737 fleet – this includes the -700 and -800s, as well as the newer MAX 8 – Virgin Australia business class is more or less the same no matter which bird you fly on.

That said, there are some differences worth noting (although these will become less common as the airline completes its $110 million 737 fleet upgrade by late 2025.)

Featuring a 38-inch (92cm) pitch and 19.5-inch (49cm) width, each leather recliner sports an adjustable headrest and tray table tucked in the arm rest, plus a small slide-out drinks shelf and universal power outlet to keep your devices charged up.

The most common business class seat on Virgin Australia.
The most common business class seat on Virgin Australia.

That power outlet is handy on longer runs, as Virgin offers streaming-only entertainment plus WiFi Internet access on selected aircraft. Free WiFi is provided to business class and Velocity Platinum members for the duration of the flight.

(Look for a WiFi symbol on the departures board at the gate or lounge prior to boarding, or on the overhead locker of Row 1 to see if WiFi is on your flight.)

While a seat in Row 1 would generally be viewed as the best option, given you’re most likely to be served first and receive your preferred meal choice, there’s a slight trade-off for this front row experience in both storage and leg-room. 

Legroom is adequate but not outstanding in Row 1.
Legroom is adequate but not outstanding in Row 1.

The bulkhead means bags need to go in the overhead bin for take-off and landing, while the wall-mounted (and rather stiff) storage pouch is smaller than the seatback one for Row 2.

With that in ind, Row 2 is your best choice, as those seats benefit from greater legroom (under the one in front), and if you have a long journey ahead, that extra space to stretch your legs is definitely appreciated.

Refurbished aircraft and the newer Boeing 737 MAXs feature a new Virgin Australia business class seat which, while similar to its predecessor, is sleeker and more streamlined.

The newer Virgin Australia business class.
The newer Virgin Australia business class.

Key differences are a small legrest, water bottle nook between the seats and additional storage areas either side of your legs, all of which add up to a more user-friendly setup.

Take a closer look at the new Virgin Australia business class here.

Virgin Australia 737 business class: lounge access

More than just a roomier seat, holding a business class ticket unlocks entry to Virgin lounges in seven locations across Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

You can enjoy complimentary food and drinks (think barista-made coffee, tea, juice, Australian wines and a selection of beers), as well as high-speed internet access and showers. Bookable meeting rooms are available in select lounges.

Melbourne's Virgin Australia lounge.
Melbourne's Virgin Australia lounge.

Business class passengers travelling with carry-on only can also make use of a Premium Lounge Entry in Sydney and Brisbane, which bypasses the main departures hall thanks to a dedicated check-in and security screening.

Opening times are rather limited for both premium entries though: weekdays between 5am-8am for Sydney and 8am-10am for Brisbane. 

Virgin Australia does not have its own international lounges. However, Velocity frequent flyers and business class passengers can access domestic lounges in Adelaide and the Gold Coast prior to international flights, as they share the same terminal. 

Travelling on a Virgin Australia partner airline? Read our international lounge access guide here

Virgin Australia 737 business class: onboard experience

One of the benefits of Virgin Australia business class is food and drink – and it goes far beyond the cup noodles, cookies and sandwiches available for purchase in economy class.

Spinach and cheese pie, with a pastry on the side.
Spinach and cheese pie, with a pastry on the side.

The experience generally begins with a glass of sparkling wine, water or juice after boarding, followed by a choice of two white wines, two reds and sparkling (as well as non-alcoholic options) throughout the flight. 

Rather than perusing the paid menu found in economy, business class travellers are offered a specially-prepared meal, with the cabin manager taking orders shortly after take-off.

Quiche with potato mash and relish.
Quiche with potato mash and relish.

Depending on the time of day you may be served a breakfast quesadilla and pastry, chicken toastie plus cheese and crackers on the side, or perhaps quiche with mashed potato and tomato relish. It’s not what you’d call gourmet, but it does hit the spot.

Assorted snacks such as chips, chocolate bars and nuts/pretzels are available on request.

How to book Virgin Australia 737 business class with points

Frequent flyers with a stash of Velocity Points can redeem them for reward seats in economy and business class via the Virgin Australia website. (Alternatively, you can make a booking over the phone, but it will cost you $40 or 5,200 Points to do so.)

To find a seat, enter your destination in the website’s search bar and tick ‘Use Velocity Points’ prior to hitting next. Select your dates and proceed through to the list of available flights and departure times.

You’ll see reward seat pricing and availability as follows:

Based on the above, a one-way business class reward seat between Gold Coast and Sydney would set you back 23,000 Velocity Points, or 15,500 Points plus $44.45 in cash, if you choose to go down that path.

Reward seat pricing is generally determined by distance (though can surge due to high demand), with typical pricing on popular routes is as follows:

  • Brisbane to Sydney - 23,200 Velocity Points
  • Sydney to Melbourne - 22,800 Velocity Points
  • Melbourne to Perth - 44,400 Velocity Points
  • Perth to Adelaide - 50,600 Velocity Points

It’s worth noting reward seats do not earn Velocity Points or Status Credits. If you’re looking to jump up the Velocity loyalty ladder to Silver, Gold and Platinum, you’ll need to purchase a normal fare.

How to upgrade to Virgin Australia 737 business class

Upgrades are available on all Virgin Australia Boeing 737 flights fitted with business class, which makes up the majority of aircraft within the fleet.

In order to request a Virgin Australia business upgrade, you’ll need to have purchased an eligible fare: a ‘Choice’ or ‘Flex’ economy. Cheaper ‘Lite’ fares cannot be upgraded.

Then, it’s a matter of choosing one of three ways to upgrade your seat:

  • using Velocity Points, with the number required based on distance flown
  • making an UpgradeMe bid on unsold business class seats
  • using Velocity UpgradeMe Platinum credits. Note: only Flex fares are eligible for this option.

Full details on how to upgrade to business class can be found here.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737 business class FAQ

Is Virgin Australia business class worth it?

This is entirely up to you. But if the likes of complimentary food and drink, additional checked luggage allowance, inflight WiFi and access to Virgin Australia lounges are your yardstick for value, then yes, it’s worth it.

Does Virgin Australia release unsold seats last-minute?

Yes, in Virgin Australia’s equivalent of the Qantas ‘T-80’ rule, the airline opens up unsold seats in preferred zones which had previously been set aside for frequent flyers. That includes both business class and Economy X extra-legroom seats.

More info on scoring a Virgin Australia seat last-minute can be found here.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 953

Being a 3800 status earner for the year I'd give NR and JH some ideas on what they can do to improve the services including business with little or no cost to VA but as my friends keep telling me don't give advice out freely you need something in return. 

24 May 2022

Total posts 3

I was recently on a VA flight in biz and the aircraft had recently been upgraded to the new biz seats. As I sat down, the foot rest was partially out and in the way. After sitting, I tried to retract the rest and it wouldn't move. I tried to tweak it out further a fraction to see if that freed it up but, while it extended a bit more, it still didn't retract. Ooops.

Reported it to the CSM who acknowledged it was a known issue & had started a few flights previously. Also, the crew were talking about getting used to reporting pax numbers higher than normal due to the cabin re-org allowing an extra row of seats.

Otherwise, the flight went well and service was good (as usual).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 123

Self employed/self funded flyer rusted on QF WP - discovered VA J 3 years ago. No comparison. I now refuse to pay QF Dom J but find VA J excellent value. Food is fine, definitely no worse than QF. Crew way more friendly. Price usually 60% of QF on my MEL CNS route which I fly return 25+ times a year. Sadly no CNS lounge but in CNS  you can manage to time your arrival to get through security and onto the plane without a wait 80% of the time. VA know their target market and have nailed price and product to suit.   Now I’m VA and QF Platinum. QFs loss and last year $40k gain to VA. 

05 Apr 2017

Total posts 18

I think that one important point was overlooked regarding lounges.  From VA website:

International Lounge access when travelling on an international Virgin Australia operated flight

  • Virgin Australia do not currently operate any international lounges at any international departure port. *
  • If you are travelling on a partner airline operated flight, you may have access to one of our partner airline operated lounges
  • For up-to-date information on partner airline operated lounges such as availability and eligibility, please visit our dedicated page on international lounges.

*Eligible guests travelling with Virgin Australia internationally from Adelaide and the Gold Coast can use the domestic lounge as the international and domestic departures are located within the one terminal.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 47

It's a pity they don't think ahead when designing these aircraft when it comes to the front row of business and put a small foot rest area under and within the bulk head, that would be forward thinking and a winner.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 82

As a 4200 SC Qantas flyer, I rather enjoy VA Business class, no attitude, great staff, great seats, especially with the new planes and refurbs, simeple clean food, no greasy butter and stale rolls which other airlines insist on serving, these things make the quicker and the airfare half the cost of Qantas business class. The booze is good, two beers, two wines, bourbon, scotch and gin, presume also vodka available. Unbeatable, Bain have the balance perfect,

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 953

I worked that out 12 years ago, not to mention the amount of attitude for no reason from QF staff.

Row 2 is where it's at. Extra legroom, bag at your feet if you want, you can recline without a care as there is no-one directly behind you. Also, a little known but important fact is a trombone doesn't fit in the row 1 overhead bin, row 2 is much bigger.

24 May 2022

Total posts 3

Agreed re Row 2, especially when travelling with my wife (she likes a bag above & one under the seat in-front for things she may need during the flight). Row 1 is OK but not as good and 2A has a reasonable chance of still getting a choice of meals :)

LJC
LJC

15 Sep 2016

Total posts 5

Over here in Perth,  WA, the forgotten state,  most people I know would dearly love to see Virgin fly Perth to Bali instead of us all having to take Jetstar.  The trip with Jetstar, although only 3 1/2 hours long, seems twice as long when there is no entertainment for the little ones (and the big ones) to look at.  Personally I would like to see Virgin again fly to our regional areas in WA, like Albany  (although in saying,  I haven't yet had the chance to travel with REX).  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Apr 2016

Total posts 18

Last week I flew VA business class MEL-DPS-MEL, The business class differentiation just wasn't there, starting with no lounge.

Used Pt complimentary upgrade from choice outbound and purchased business class for the return.

Outbound flight no issues good food with the usual linen napkin and metal cutlery and good service

Return flight cancelled from VA92 (daytime) to VA94 (nighttime)

Vegetarian option was a inedible (I sent the meal back) cardboard consistancy cannelloni equipped with paper napkin and disposable cutlery. I'm sure I would have been better purchasing an economy sandwich.  The experience was saved by CS Alex and a seemingly bottomless glass of Shiraz accompanied with Internet streaming.  What happeed to nuts as snacks? Had to make do  with mini pretzels.  

Seats on both flights old style but with AC power and no footrest.

VA can you bring back linen napkins for both the pax and under the food tray.  This second napkin anchors the tray from sliding on the bendy fold-out table. It's got to be linen, United use a tablecloth made from a synthetic material which doesnt have the grip qualities of linen.


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