Virgin Blue to bump AFL players into business-class?

By David Flynn, December 7 2010
Virgin Blue to bump AFL players into business-class?

The good news: you might not have to worry about dozens of beefy boisterous footy players cramming onto your economy class Virgin Blue flight once the airline takes up AFL sponsorship from 2011.

But if you're travelling in business class your flights could get a little more 'interesting', if the AFL Players' Association has its way.

The AFLPA has voiced to incoming sponsor Virgin Blue its concerns over what it calls 'player welfare' in cramped economy seating. The solution: bump them into business vcass, or better yet says the Association, put them on a specially-chartered flight.

Virgin Blue moves to assure AFL clubs that their teams will travel at the pointy end of the plane.

Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti has written to all AFL clubs to assure them that he's listening and that the airline will step up to match former AFL sponsor Qantas in terms of both flight schedules and the forthcoming business-class upgrade for Virgin Blue's fleet.

The later is part of a new business class strategy – also including new cabins and lounges – tipped to be revealed in early 2011 for an expected roll-out from March.

In addition to the national AFL deal worth an estimated $6 million, Virgin will also sponsor the Gold Coast Suns AFL team and the Gold Coast Stadium corporate lounge at a price tag said to be close to $1 million per year.


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.

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