Virgin Australia's Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale

By David Flynn , April 3 2018
Virgin Australia's Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale

Virgin Australia's daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale, with the inaugural flight on the new route taking wing on Monday July 2, 2018.

The Airbus A330, featuring 20 of Virgin's flagship business class seats at the pointy end, will leave Sydney at 10am as VA83 and reach Hong Kong at 5.40pm.

The VA82 return leg will depart Hong Kong at 7.50pm to land into Sydney at 7.10am the following day.

The Sydney-Hong Kong flights will incorporate new business class dishes created by the airline's resident chef Luke Mangan.

Virgin has not yet advised which lounge at Sydney Airport's T1 international terminal will be available to its business class passengers and Velocity Platinum and Gold frequent flyers.

However, at Hong Kong they'll find the welcome mat rolled out at the impressive Club Autus lounge of partner Hong Kong Airlines, which boasts a cocktail bar and cooked-to-order dining.

Review: Hong Kong Airlines' Club Autus business class lounge, Hong Kong

Through a partnership with HK Express, Virgin's Hong Kong-bound passengers from Sydney and Melbourne will be able to seamlessly connect to destinations throughout Asia.

The new flights see Virgin Australia taking on Qantas and Cathay Pacific on a route which already counts over one million passengers per year according to the federal government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

"We are thrilled our daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights are now on sale, offering a competitive price and our award-winning business class and cabin crew," said Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive Rob Sharp.

“Since Virgin Australia began flying to Hong Kong (from Melbourne) last year, airfares from Australia have dropped by up to 40%, signalling the strong competition we have brought to this route."

Review: Virgin Australia business class, Melbourne to Hong Kong

However, what's good for Sydney is perhaps less so for Melbourne, with Virgin confirming cuts to its Melbourne-Hong Kong service as of July 2.

Flights will be reduced from daily to five times per week, with the VA69 service flight out of Melbourne shifting to a 12.30am departure to reach Hong Kong at 8.10am.

Read more: Virgin Australia's Melbourne-Hong Kong schedule shake-up

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 144

It'll be interesting to see if and when they make money on the HKG routes...

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

“Virgin has not yet advised which lounge...will be available to its business class passengers and... frequent flyers”. Translation: VA have yet to con another airline into its ‘boutique’ alliance. Enjoy the $40 voucher ppl. Who needs Luke Mangan when the McDonald’s $1 menu awaits!

28 Dec 2016

Total posts 69

VA should just join *A or even ST. What’s the point to their FF program if they only fly to 3 destionations in the world

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Membership to an alliance is about reciprocal benefits. What does VA bring to the table for either alliance? What other major airline in an alliance doesn’t even have its own lounges in its home city?


Star Alliance must be wetting themselves at the thought of a VA partnership. Finally air India members will have access to the exclusive va toasted sandwich bar experience when flying popular routes such as Alice springs to toombawoomba!

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Membership to an alliance is more than just lounges...


Access to markets and traffic feed. It's likely that Star Alliance would be happy to have an Australian domestic carrier which they haven't had since Ansett.

In any case, Virgin domestic lounges are certainly competitive when you consider what Oneworld and Star have access to in the USA.

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

This is stupid. SA have said outright that Virgin would be a good fit. Also, Virgin (and Qantas) domestic lounges are some of the best you'll find in the world. Barista made coffees for example is the exception not the norm.


However I totally get why they don't join. VA is already largely dependant on getting it's FFs on codeshares to Europe/East Coast US to earn money. If VA FFs suddenly had access to perks on a large range of airlines without codeshares, I think it would significantly outweigh the extra passengers that would come from new alliance partners

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Thank you for confirming my point. As you nicely stated, VA will never fit in an alliance as they have next to nothing to offer other airlines' FF members, whilst VA's own FF members would freeload and leech off other alliance member's facilities and perks.

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

If that's what you got from my post then you really did not read it. It's pretty much the other way round


Star Alliance considers VA a good fit because the Australian market is a valuable one, with one of the highest spends on travel per capita in the world.

The problem is that the value proposition for VA is low. VA would lose money on FFs travelling with alliance partners instead of codeshare partners.

This isn't a symptom of being a carrier without any value. It's about an alliance being a poor value proposition to an airline with a still developing international network.

And before you say it's poor of VA to have the small intl network, I think they're doing pretty well considering VA as an airline is younger than some planes still flying today. Especially considering half of that time VA was an LCC

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Yes, that's exactly what I said. You've just worded it in a way to apparently favour VA. But in essence, VA is being selfish as they have nothing to offer other airlines (thus not gaining customers) and know that their own FFs are desperate to make use of some perks outside of VAs own "still developing international network" (that's a euphemism if there ever was one!) and are likely to jump ship at the first opportunity.

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

"VA is being selfish..."


This is dumb. VA is a company, companies are inherently self serving.

And from your earlier comment

"...as they have next to nothing to offer other airlines FF members..."

I don't see how you could think my comment was exactly what you said, but worded differently. You said VA has nothing to offer an alliance. I said they have something to offer an alliance. This is literally the opposite viewpoint.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

That's why I said "next to nothing...". Everything is relative. You yourself admit that however 'valuable' the VA domestic network is to other airlines (though really, which overseas visitor wants to visit Mackay?!), the added business to VA is nothing compared to the exodus of their own FF to other airlines that would occur if they joined an alliance!

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

"next to nothing" is still not an equivalency to what I said. The Australian market is a valuable one, and having domestic access offers SA a lot. Just because you can name an isolated, low traffic destination like Mackay or Alice Springs doesnt mean it negates the value of tourist hubs like Cairns and Gold Coast or business hubs like Melbourne and Sydney. Star Alliance would love to get their hands on some high earning, high spending Australian travellers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

Do you have a personal vendetta against VA or something?? Pretty sure biased and ubsantiated comments like this goes against AUSBT policy...anyway Star alliance have said themselves the link they are missing in their alliance is Australia..but this would make VA a valuable member to Star to compete directly with OW...and who doesn’t leach of partner airlines perks and reward seats 👋


Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Ah yes, here we go. Now having an opinion is "against AUSBT policy".

Yes, my experience with VA has been subpar. If you want to choose to lap up their shoddy service like a loyal dog, then be my guest. But my statements are hardly unsubstantiated - they have major issues with international lounge access, they are not part of an alliance limiting the value of their own FF program and their domestic product reeks of LCC (a biscuit is not a 'meal').

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

What's the obsession with VA having to "join a alliance". Many other airlines got along fine without one (from a mixture of well run airlines like Alaska and Emirates)

I don't see why VA has to be any different, especially when there are carriers in certain alliances that VA would prefer to avoid, like UA.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

The obsession with VA having to join an alliance is because their own ‘boutique network’ is so pitiful that an unacceptable level of service often results. An alliance provides a fallback network and more options. E.g QF’s lounges in Tokyo are a complete joke but it’s fine because their passengers use JAL’s superb lounges. Same deal in SFO, Bangkok etc.


VA on the other hand is cornered into offering food coupons at LAX - the main US hub for AUS travellers.

It’s not ideal that other airlines aren’t part of alliances either but emirates gets away with it because they’ve pretty much built a decent lounge in airports they fly too! Alaska doesn’t fly internationally so alliance is less relevant (and no Mexico doesn’t count).

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 748

I don't think is correct. VA use the EY lounge at LAX.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

As previously said by others, VA uses EY's lounge in LAX.


Also, no major airline has joined any of the "Big 3" Alliances in the past few years. With the rise of the cross-alliance JV's as previously mentioned, the obsession with "Global Alliances" may die down as a lot of airlines look at cross-alliance JVs.

Negating the need for a "Alliance" in general.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

Mr Miyagi, this is getting painful...as a VA and QF ff - my personal experience I have used Virgins partner network more then QF 🤭 (is that hard to believe since VA don’t belong to an alliance?) I have used points for reward flights on Etihad and Singapore and even converted points to Kris Flyer which opened up reward seats for me on COPA and Avianca in Central America (where one world lacks). Sure VA don’t belong to an alliance, call it a partnership then if we have to use labels to make people like you see value in it. I don’t see any merit in your comments. if you have status with VA then you get the same perks as OW,ST,SA alliances through Virgins partner airlines - Lounge access, priority check in, reward seat availability etc .what are you missing exactly by not belonging to an alliance? I saw your comment about maybe booking a VA flight to Hong Kong was it, to compare apples for apples - please stick to QF or CX.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Not even close. An alliance means so can use ANY lounge when flying ANY airline. It’s the flexibility that distinguishes it from VA’s garbage ‘partnership’ where you only have partner lounge access on certain routes when flying certain airlines. And in some cases no access ‘cause the real alliance lounges got fed up - hence VA FFs enjoying food stamps at LAX recently,

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

VA has burned their bridges with NZ (basically frenemies now) and UA (from back in the Godfrey days) for them to join SA now.


Even if SQ decides to take over EY's stake and suddenly decide to sponsor VA's entry in SA, it's likely that NZ and UA would veto's VA entry in SA for a number of reasons (inc Luxon's personality clashes with Borghetti).

Also considering Borghetti had a soft spot for SkyTeam in the past, if VA "had" to join a alliance, it would likely be SkyTeam.

With no major airline however joining one of the "Big 3" alliances in the past few years, and the rise of the cross-alliance JVs such as CX with NZ and LH, QF and EK. Alliances may not be "a thing" in the long term.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 748

Global alliances have delivered none of the benefits that were touted when they were introduced in the late '90s. At the time, there was talk of common products standards (never happened), common FF scheme (never happened), alliance wide fleet orders (never happened).


These days the alliances are little more than a glorified codeshare. The bilateral arrangements such as VA/DL, QF/EK etc are much tighter.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

At the same time SA conceded whilst VA is in a JV with DL, joining SA was very unlikely at time. Now with VA having burnt bridges with NZ (in addition to severing ties with UA back in the Virgin Blue days).

VA joining SA is very very unlikely.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

I know, right? Why should VA bother, when peeps in Syd are so happy to pay the inflated prices of the controlling duopoly currently servicing the route - sheesh! And goodness, no lounge (yet announced) for my 40min pre-departure gorge - Scandalous!

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

You mean like when VA operated flights from Syd —> Hkg years ago? When they sold ‘upper class’ (“we call it first class at business class prices” bahahaha) fares? What were the QF and CX prices back then? Oh exactly the same as now!!



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

VA didn't operate SYD-HKG years ago. This is their first time on the route (in partnership with HX).


Perhaps you meant VS? Which is partly owned by DL now.

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Yes, you're correct. Point is the same - pricing didn't go up after they quit that route.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 186

That’s it @ rencontre. Unbelievable....

Let’s praise the duopoly and pay overs and focus on the min time in lounge. 10hr flight / 1hr in lounge (10% of experience) = apparently the sole focus of flight. The10hrs infligh will be in the best J seat on the route. Competition and more options are a great thing. Read the article VA’s entry in MEL forced DOWN fares by 40%, duopoly broken, this new carriers launch can only be good for SYD travellers.
Great work VA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 144

My personal issue with the lounge arrangements at the moment is that there is no consistency. Depending on the destination/class/frequent flyer status determines which lounge you can visit. It makes is more complicated than necessary.


This then brings me to the issue with VA's scheduling and route network. They chop and change far to often without much thought about how that affects the people most willing to pay for the flights. (How many times have they started and cut MEL-LAX, and lets not forget PER-AUH). Now HKG changes time for MEL and frequency. How long will that stay before they then do another re-jig of the timetable?

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

How many times have they started and cut MEL - LAX? Well they started it, ceased it and then restarted it... So once.


I'm not sure what you expect about the changes to Melbourne - HKG? What is the alternative?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 748

They have only cut MEL once.


As far as HKG, they had no choice but to alter the schedule as the new slots they received couldn't be used for the SYD service due to the SYD curfew. MEL is curfew-free so the slots are fine for it.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 56

Some people really are a bunch of "negative Nancys". How is VA's choice of SYD lounge a big deal? You'll get a lounge, it'll almost certainly the SQ or EY lounge, both of which are pretty good and maybe even better than the Qantas business lounge for f&b. But even if they're not as good as QF you will have a lounge, it'll be good enough for SQ and EY passengers so has to be good enough for VA, and anyway you will spend eight hours flying SYD-HKG compared to maybe one hour in the lounge, and it'll be in a very good business class seat and you'll also see the benefit of increased competition as QF and CX cut fares. Everybody wins from this, so I really don't know why some readers carp on about VA's lounge situation as if they are just looking for something to complain about.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

John Odlum, the main point others seem to be making is that it's confusing and lacks consistency. Just like the VA FF program has different points usage rates for different airlines.


Don't get me wrong, I like VA overall but its 'rules and regs' are difficult to quickly comprehend and its FF site is poor.

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 35

Looking forward to it, because ultimately it's us that wins from more competition on the route, regardless of which airline you usually like to fly. I hope VA do well out of it.

11 Jan 2017

Total posts 6

The SYD lounge situation I have no issues with, it'll be either SQ or EY. If VA really want to make HKG work, it's the access to the HX lounge when connecting on to HX flights that would be the real fillip, rather than the current only access for the VA flights back to Aus (as I understand it)

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 92

The lounge is irrelevant. Just checked the J class return SYD HKG flights with Virgin ...$2600 same flights with CX $5800! The value is indisputable... actually exceptional .

Mr Miyagi Banned
Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Agree, that is a bargain. I would happily take that flight (even without lounge access). But it's a sale fare.

Let's see what happens when the sale is over on April 9th. Apples with apples?

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 92

“Apples for Apples “ CX sale fares start at $4565 but not available on the dates I require so not applicable . Nevertheless the “ Apples for Apples “ fare as you refer is $2065 higher than VA ! An expensive lounge visit !

Zac
Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 128

Great to see more competition on the route... as TomJ said - even if you hate Virgin and would never ever fly them - you are going to benefit from this, so good to keep a sense of perspective. I wish Virgin best of luck for this route. Personally not too fussed re the lack of a VA branded lounge - totally appreciate why some are but personally I like variety and both EY and SQ are superior to the QF biz lounge in my experience. Looking forward to flying this route (in J ;)) and hope it lasts. BTW quick plug for the "Australian Sunrise" cocktail - can we celebrate HKG by getting this back on the menu pls ;)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 164

The only downside I see in this announcement is the change to Melbourne's schedule (not that I care, being from Sydney).


I'm curious however why Melbourne is being downgraded instead of Sydney receiving the worse schedule - if Sydney was the priority market, why didn't they start Sydney - HK flights first? Also, do people think the issue is aircraft availability, or slots in HK?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 748

It's all about slots in HKG. The slot pairs that VA received in the second tranche are for a morning arrival into HKG. Due to the SYD curfew, these slots were of no use to VA unless they used them from MEL which could accommodate a midnight departure. The swap was the only way the new slots could've been used.


In some respects it is not a downgrade as some pax (particularly in J class) prefer flying through the night so they can go straight to work or make a good onward connection into China etc.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

A midnight departure ex-MEL also works well for Y class passengers, particularly for the leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market. You'd be amazed how many people, especially on Asian routes, are keen to take reverse red-eye flights ex-MEL to save time; MEL T2 is a zoo in the evening, much like SYD T1 in the morning.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Agree: while my personal preference to Asia would be a 1030 - 1130 hours departure, the midnight flights to many corners of the globe ex MEL are very popular.


SYD tries with 2100 - 2215 hours departures but this results in arriving in KUL well before 0430: no thank you.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

i hope the schedules for ex sydney are better for the summer months.thinking 11am or midday to be there by 6pm local time.i would happily go over that way but fly qantas home to compare them back to back as the schedule if connecting through sydney from adelaide leaves a lot to be desired using either carrier.I am frequent flyers with american which means i am most likely to choose if the timing is right qantas as well as va which means velocity.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

@Andyf. I think the change of flights for mel had more to do with it being issues with curfew in Sydney and the unavailability of suitable slots in hkg when it was originally launched....

26 Feb 2014

Total posts 20

I think all the execs from QF and CX have jumped on the bandwagon today to annoy all the VA FF...the last time I read today's article was that VA is just saying that they are introducing flights to HKG. We all know that this was going to happen sooner or later. It's called competition....remember when AN was flying to HKG ? The opposition hated that ! As for the lounge...who gives a rats ass...so you can just enjoy a tuna sandwich and a cheese with a biscuit? Waste of time!...Virgin can have their own RTW FARE if they want.... SYD/HKG/LHR/LAX/SYD with VA/VS....and dint need to worry about star alliance or one world...Anyhow the topic today is simple....Virgin has joined the puzzle now and can become a Star airline in its own right too with help from its other partners. Thankyou for the applause and goodnight !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 240

VA joining Star Alliance is all but over after yesturday's breakup. Any attempts by any airline to sponsor VA into *A will be veto-ed by NZ and UA due to a number of differences between those airlines.

SkyTeam is VA's "only" realistic alliance option due to their relationship with DL and VS.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

Having AN on the SYD TO HKG flights kept the other guys honest.I don't recall flying Ansett on that sector but flew it years later with Qantas and it was great.when we lost AN it was back to the old CX/QF era for a while which sucked.I cannot speak for people who currently fly Cathay Pacific on that sector but what would you rather have in economy an 8 across 2X4X2 A330-200 with VA OR A 10 ACROSS 3X4X3 B777-300ER (CX) and for people over at Qantas a mix of either A330 OR A380 sometimes 744 services with unknown configurations.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Configuations for QF are not 'unknown.' Look them up on seatguru or expertflyer sites.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

what i meant is how many people does the plane hold and everything else.it is all universal in economy with 10 across in economy on qantas except for the a330 which is 8 but what you end up with won't be known till you choose your seating.i tell you my second hong kong trip which was my dad's third had us seating not far from a chinese family with a baby and it was not pleasant.


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