Brisbane to Sydney to Melbourne
Park Hyatt Melbourne & Melbourne to Canberra
Canberra to Melbourne to Brisbane
After a good catch up with friends and visiting Australia’s largest Big W right next to a Costco (sadly closed), I was dropped back at the terminal to head through security and make my way to the lounge. As I was heading to the lounge I managed to walk past the entire New Zealand Warriors football team. What is it with football teams this weekend! With about half an hour to boarding I grabbed a little bit of a light snack/late lunch of some minestrone soup and some salad (in hindsight looking back I could of avoided this) in the lounge before settling in.
I liked the Canberra lounge, it was not overly big (but for the size of the airport it wasn’t to bad, and I loved the fact it had unparrelled views. When they refurb this into the new lounge look, Canberra would be my pick over Melbourne I think. But time will tell how this will change with the Terminal renovations, if the lounge will remain in the same place or not (will know in 12 months I guess).
I again chilled out for the little while, and once again when the plane landed I gathered my things and headed to the gate area. The gate area was a Tad over capacity as It seemed this night flight was going to be full. I had to wait about 5 or 6 minutes before boarding was eventually started (and seeing a total male crew come off the inbound flight, a very rare site these days).
Canberra to Melbourne
Boeing 737-800 (VH-VUM)
Business Class – Seat 1A
Boarding: 1640 (Gate 8)
Push Back: 1658
Take Off Roll: 1707 (Runway 35)
Top of Descent: 1735
Touch Down: 1758 (Runway 27)
Shut Down: 1807 (Gate 7)
Boarding was called and I wanted to be first out onto the ramp to grab a photo and ensure I could spend as much time in Business as I can to get my moneys worth. After not getting yelled at for the photo (but a dirty look from a Virgin staff member way out of voice distance) I walked up the steps into the Aircraft and was greeted by the gorgeous all female crew. Little did I know, this was about to begin one of my best ever flight experiences with Virgin.
I was pointed in the direction of my seat, got my stuff together and decided to settle in. The CSM Savannah greeted me and welcomed me onboard and let me know that she would be looking after me this evening and let me know that I was the only person in Business class today and that if I wanted to sit in another seat feel free to take whichever one I wanted and offered me a Pre Departure Beverage. I just asked for a water (as usual) and she tried to get me to take one of the signature mocktails but I declined and was happy with water which she suggested some sparkling water. This was a good sign. The water was promptly delivered with a beeming smile and some easter eggs as a little welcome onboard.
Savannah offered me a newspaper, anything really as she doted on me while the rest of the crew boarded and then she let it slip that she would be looking after me all the way to Brisbane, as my continuing flight was also on this same aircraft and with the same crew (first time that’s happened). This was a bit of a shock and then Savannah also let slip, I was the only person in Business again on the next sector as well. 3/3 flights in Virgin Domestic business with the whole J cabin to myself. O yes!
As we pushed back on time, I was offered another drink by Savannah as “theres plenty of time for another one” and as we slowly got ready to taxi and taxied out to the active, my glass was cleared mere moments before we started our take off roll. We were airborne and quickly getting set up for climb out as we had to make a big long loop to the East to head south back to Melbourne.
As the crew were free from their seats, Savannah was back to offer me the afternoon snack service which I had a feeling was going to be the “infamous” cheese plate. Which it was, but to be honest, I think is quite enough for a quick flight like this one of like 40 minutes air time. I wouldn’t want this served on a several hour flight but for this short hop with a few more glasses of sparkling water (although Savannah looked disappointed I declined any wine to go with my cheese) it was definitely more than enough. I slowly enjoyed my cheese plate and the lovely decadant brownie that came with it.
We came into Melbourne with the most magnificent sunset started to light up the area. Savannah and her crew were always around offering me anything, making sure I was ok and with some change in my pocket and a quick visit to the lounge planned to see my friend again before she went off shift, I hatched a plan.
When we docked in Melbourne I said a quick “see you in half an hour” to Savannah and the other ladies and made my way quickly up to the lounge. I tried to see my friend but she had gone off shift, I grabbed some nuts (o glorious nut mix I must find out where they get it from) and got my Seat allocation changed from 2F to 1F just so I didn’t feel bad about having 2F allocated since I had determined to try out that seat originally and feeling bad for leaving the seat unused on the manifest).
On the way back to the gate, I picked up some chocolates for Savannah as a little gift to say thank you for being so fantastic so far and I mean she was doing everything she could. As I made it back to the gate, a scrum from a Chinese Tour group was starting and they didn’t even have time to call boarding before they had started to push their way on, so I just jumped into the Priority Queue and was let onboard once they got through some of the pushy group.
Melbourne to Brisbane
Boeing 737-800 (VH-VUM)
Business Class – Seat 1F
Boarding: 1830 (Gate 7)
Push Back: 1855
Take Off Roll: 1905 (Runway 35)
Top of Descent: 2032
Touch Down: 2055 (Runway 01)
Shut Down: 2100 (Gate 48)
I stepped back onboard with a “Welcome back… again Mr Muir” and this time I hopped into my new seat to which Savannah told me I could sit wherever I wanted and she would be with me shortly (once she had done some paperwork it seemed). I was given a bit of pre flight entertainment as one of the guests from the group then realised they had lost a bag in the terminal and wanted to get off which they had already been scanned onto the flight obviously could not be deboarded so as one of the crew went up into the terminal to search for the bag, Savannah was desperately trying to help out greeting the other passengers, her paperwork, look after me and also calm down the guest with the missing bag who could not speak any English (and manage to do all this with a never ending smile).
Once it had calmed down a little bit I was offered another drink, suggested perhaps a soft drink this time and accepted a pepsi max and settled in with the ongoing enterainment of the bag drama. Once all was quiet I hopped up and presented Savannah with her gift and wished her a happy easter and this caused an even bigger smile as I had happened to get her favourite chocolate…. Score one for me! She was shocked and her service went into over drive and to be honest, I didn’t do it for this, I did it because of how great they were and it is easter after all, don’t we all deserve some chocolate?
We pushed back and then as we were heading out after the safety briefing, a digiplayer was dropped off at my seat (no galaxy tabs on this flight) and then Savannah rather than taking my dinner order, had an offer for me. “Are you hungry this evening?” Expecting bad news after this thinking to myself dear god no meals have been loaded. “They ended up fully catering us this evening so did you want to try all of the options? You don’t have to eat it all but you can sample them if you wish. We have a Chick Pea curry with Cous Cous and Shepheards pie” I thought to myself, what the hell, I am writing a trip report for this.. so why not!
As we taxied off I was blissfully enjoying myself, not really paying any attention at all. As we climbed out and the post take off speeches were made the usual thank you to all business class guests was given, to which I smirked and giggled at since it was only me and being in line of site of the crew, Savannah almost broke out laughing herself. We headed up to be released from Seat Belts, and the tray of glory was placed in front of me. So much food, thankfully a 2 hour flight to get it all done!
I got the digiplayer going, selected a movie and settled in to enjoy a movie, some dinner and the company of some lovely cabin crew as they did everything to make sure I was comfortable. How can you not love flights like this? Dinner went down a treat, the cous cous while a touch bland on its own went really well with the Chick Pea & Pumpkin Curry however the Shepheards Pie was a touch to salty for my liking. Salad was good and the bread roll, fluffy and warm.
I did enquire if there was any of the Ice Cream Sandwhiches onboard and disappointment again as they had been onboard the previous 2 nights, but nothing this evening. After a few pepsi maxes and more movie, relaxing fully reclined I was needing a pick me up and declining a refil of pepsi which magically appeared, I asked for a cup of coffee in a little while.
Just after that I was thinking to myself, I could go one of those lovely cookies from up the back. As my coffee was delivered I was going to ask for one. What I did not expect was Savannah already standing there with one when she delivered my coffee, and a block of Toblerone. It was as though she could read my mind. I accepted the cookie with glee and declined the chocolate to which I was told to take it anyway, you may want it later on tonight.
I settled in with my coffee and more of the movie as we cruised north towards home, enjoying the light show out the window as a storm was lighting up the sky orange off in the distance. We started descent into Brisbane and I was totally unaware of this and was shocked as I was having such a good time and enjoying what had been one of the best experiences I’ve had to virgin to date. The crew were amazing, the food good, the flight just flew by. I didn’t want to get off.
A farewell to the crew thanking them for making this the best flight I have had in the last 12 months with Virgin and an even bigger thank you for making one of my last domestic flights in a while so amazing I was off into the terminal, determined to send Virgin some feedback about the crew (I had gotten Savannah to write me down all their names earlier) and contemplating the quick journey home as the airport was deserted. My bag was making its 2nd lap around the carosel by the time I arrived and in true Brisbane fashion, it may have come out in the first group but it was upside down… as usual!
I was in my car less than 10 minutes after landing and home within half an hour. A fantastic weekend had come to an end!