Virgin Australia dives back into Melbourne-Los Angeles route

The airline staged a mock pool party to celebrate the return of the route, which features the acclaimed “The Business” suites aimed at high-end travellers.

By Steve Colquhoun 04/04/2017

Virgin Australia staged a mock pool party in Melbourne on Monday night to celebrate the return of its Melbourne-to-Los Angeles route, which features the acclaimed “The Business” suites aimed at high-end travellers.

From April 4, Virgin will ply the route five times a week in Boeing 777-300ER jets, which have been freed up by the airline’s recent withdrawal from offering a Sydney-Abu Dhabi service. It’s not the first time Virgin Australia has flown the key MEL-LAX route – the last time was in 2014, but changing demand at that time saw the resources reallocated to the Brisbane-LAX route at Melbourne’s expense.

In 2017, passengers can now choose from Australian-based Virgin Australia and Qantas, as well as US-based United and American Airlines for direct flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

At a function hosted by singer Dannii Minogue, Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive John Thomas said Virgin – then operating as V Australia – had been crossing the Pacific since 2009. “Back in 2009 it was all about bringing competition to the Pacific, people were tired of the incumbent, they wanted a challenger brand to come and raise the level of service and make things better. Sure enough, last year we reconfigured our 777 aircraft with The Business, which is truly spectacular.”

Described by Australian Business Traveller magazine as “an incredibly well-rounded business class product”, The Business features direct aisle access from every seat in a 1-2-1 layout of semi-private cubicles. In-flight dining is devised by Australian chef Luke Mangan. An onboard bar also serves as a focal point during long-haul flights for business class travellers.

“It is truly the best (inflight) bar in the world,” Thomas said. “People actually go to the bar and just sit and talk to people. It actually makes you really relaxed, it’s not about getting ‘wasted’ on the aircraft.”

Thomas emphasised that Melbourne and the state of Victoria are strategically important to the airline, outlining plans to kick off a Melbourne-Hong Kong direct service from July 5.

Virgin also promotes its alliance with Los Angeles-based Delta Airlines, which offers 175 daily flights to 70 onward destinations within the US.

In addition to the newly-added five flights a week to Los Angeles from Melbourne, Virgin Australia also flies six times a week to LAX from Brisbane and daily (seven times a week) from Sydney. Delta also offers daily flights from Sydney and Brisbane, but does not fly from Melbourne. (virginaustralia.com)

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