Virgin Australia starts selling trans-Tasman business class

By David Flynn, December 9 2014
Virgin Australia starts selling trans-Tasman business class

Virgin Australia is now selling business class on its trans-Tasman routes, which will debut on Sydney-Auckland flights from February 28th 2015 from $699.

Other 'pointy end across the pond' routes will begin from March 31st.

"Virgin Australia is renowned for its Business Class offering within Australia and we are thrilled to be bringing this service to the trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes" said Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton.

“These markets are a very important focus for us given the growth in business travel between Australia and New Zealand and we are committed to offering great value Business Class fares."

Previous | Virgin Australia will begin flying business class between Australia and New Zealand from March 2015 as it sharpens its trans-Tasman fight with Qantas.

Sydney-Auckland will see the first pointy end seats across the pond, using the same business class as domestic Australian flights, with Melbourne and Brisbane flights to follow.

Virgin will be fitting those seats to its trans-Tasman Boeing 737-800 fleet, replacing their current premium economy cabin.

The airline expects to see all ten of the trans-Tasman jets upgraded by April 2015.

In addition to wide leather seats with 38 inch pitch, business class travellers will "international-style amenity kits including Australian organic cosmetics by GROWN for flights over three hours", Virgin says, along with a 'coat check-in service' with free coat bag and "Luke Mangan gourmet full service dining experience."

As expected, there'll also be priority check-in and boarding, and "priority baggage service where available."

Also up for the business class ride will be travellers to Pacific Island routes including Fiji and Samoa.

More from today's Virgin Australia financial report:

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT


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

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 40

Excellent news about installing J class. I wonder how long the J amenities will be offered though. The coat check service has disappeared from C2C and the amenity kit is now on request except for night flights. Obviously neither of these will make or break a J flight but they do illustrate that sometimes VA promise much but deliver less IMHO

therealqueen Banned
therealqueen Banned

19 May 2014

Total posts 40

And then you have emirates a380 first and business cabins, nothing compares!

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 213

Especilaly that EK bar I seem to frequent!.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 146

Totally agree therealqueen and gumshoe. That EK bar on the return flight from AKL is just a great way to wind down after a long day. Don't go near it on the morning flights across though.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 Jan 2014

Total posts 7

Will this bring avod in economy? I booking anz and end up on virgin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 233

I think it will mean identical cabins to domestic 737s with the wireless entertainment instead, i actually prefer it to the seat back screens but to each their own of course!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 Jan 2014

Total posts 7

*I hate booking haha. Yeah seat backs are better, it's a pain in case my iPad isn't charge. I think I'll just keep booking the massively discounted business fares on China between syd-akl

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 645

dream on

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

They really are going head-to-head with QF, aren't they...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2012

Total posts 10

*waving hand from the back of the room" "Miss! Miss! - what about OOL - AKL??" please dont leave me with those old Premium Seats, do we get some upgraded pointy end action too?

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

Jason, all 10 VANZ (trans Tasman) 738s will be refitted, so you'll get it on OOL-AKL. Training cabin crew and organising S Pacific caterers may take a little longer.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

Good to see VA rolling out J class to the major pacific routes - this was somewhat overdue. Brings more choice for the traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 139

Consistency of product and service deliery continues to be a sustained problem with both Qantas and Virgin.

For example, the PER-DPS flights are roughly the same duration as the Trans-Tasman flights referred to above and 3 recent return trips in J on the Virgin 738 revealed no hot towel sevice or menu, no champagne or sparkling wine, one after dinner drink (Bailey's), barely edible food (except for the ice cream which was noteworthy), a drawstring bag with a pen, socks and eyeshades and no skin care products, no Luke Mangan food, a pillow designed for the cranium of a poodle, a Samsung tablet that was impossible to watch while eating and well-meaning but embarrassed crew who had to continually tell passengers that products had been 'discontinued'.

The trans-Tasman product above sounds marginally better, but not by much compared to other carriers/aircraft flying the same route.

For a one-way fare of around AUD 1200, I was disappointed.

If airlines are selling a 'budget business' product, then this should probably be reflected in the prices.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 73

It's pretty hard to go past Emirates on the Trans-Tasman route. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

While that may be true in terms of product offering, EK doesn't and can't offer the same regularity of carriers not flying it as a fifth freedom route.

17 May 2012

Total posts 80

Perhaps they should also sort out the ridiculous situation where you can't check in  Virgin International flights on-line.

As for the trans tasman route, and I'm a Gold Virgin FF but just can't be loyal on the trans tasman flights compared to Emirates. 

Travelling Economy comparison

737's vs 777 ( or A380) / domestic configuration / No meal / No pillows/ No blankets/ No dedicated lounge, No seatback entertainment ( Yes there is wifi but not interested on my iPhone 5)

Virgin dont stack up at any level on trans tasman sector particuilalrly on pricing. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 146

Couldn't agree more willvill. I use Virgin almost exclusively within Australia, but EK get all my trans-tasman business unless I have to go MEL-CHC. Wish EK would bring  back that latter route as well.

Agreed.  How can anyone go past the exceptional service onboard, the quality of the Emirates lounges, the A380 aircraft and the timing of the flights across the Tasman.  Early flight across, evening flight home.  Very competitive prices, usually around $699 on sale. Though if you get an economy flight they'll often send you an offer a few days before to upgrade to Business for $200 US ($225 AU). That can bring your total fare down to around $450 for business.  Sorry Air NZ, although I'm a Koru member I choose to fly Emirates across the Tasman.  I don't even consider Virgin and Qantas, sorry.  737 sardines are not for me.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 464

i admit it is a big step backwards on the Tasman to 737 or in the case of most Air NZ services the A320.I did my second time over there at the end of 1998 on a NZ 767 both ways into Auckland and out of Christchurch and found nothing beat wide bodied comfort and good service for the money.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

The EK flight might be a winner in terms of hard product but the timing may not suit everyone's travel plans.

23 Nov 2012

Total posts 24

Emirates A380 or VA 737..... EK all the way!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Virgin Australia starts selling trans-Tasman business class