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21.12.2013
Service on Virgin Australia can be very different depending on whether you are on the ultra low cost ultra cheap domestic fares, or in Business on the long-haul International flights, as you might expect.
In economy on domestic services, Virgin Australia is still almost – but not quite – a low cost carrier. The Virgin Australia International Business Class Experience on the Boeing 777 is pretty good – indeed if anything it is the seat which lets down the service, rather than the other way around. As you get on board you are shown to your seat, and handed a menu with pictures of the celebrity chef Luke Mangan.
When the bar starts to wind down, there is snack service, and then breakfast service starts about two hours before landing. If ever there was a mixed bag for inflight service, it’s on Virgin Australia on domestic or Trans-Tasman flights. The exception is the East-West coast transcontinental services, from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Perth where there is a free hot meal and one free beer or wine (after midday). Also on flights from Canberra to Sydney or Melbourne (called Capital Connect flights) there IS a free snack, which is also offered on rural flights in Western Australia (but no beer). In Business Class the same Bulgari amenities kits are used on both Virgin Australia's East-West A330 service and on the International Boeing 777 flights, but it is crucial to know that these are only provided on request.
Virgin Australia has a pretty standard Luggage allowance for a low cost carrier: none at all.
Check in luggage: There is a really complicated chart on domestic of what you can check in, which is dependent on the fare you paid, and your Velocity status. All reviews and opinions on Virgin Australia food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Frequent Flyer scheme are given as a personal opinion.
Qantas will change international baggage allowances from counting number of bags to counting their weight, bringing them in line with Emirates, as the Qantas-Emirates alliance starts up on 1 April. Business class passengers see their allowances more than halved, from 96 kg split over three 32 kg bags to a limit of no more than 40 kg in total. The changes take effect on 31 March, for all passengers who book flights on or after 26 February. Instead of getting an allowance like 'two bags at 23 kg each' under old the piece and weight system, you'll get something like "32 kg" under the new weight-based model. Previously, Platinum members had an allowance of 4 x 32 kg bags in business or first, and 3 x 32 bags in economy and premium economy. Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. The piece concept will be gone, so you could check in two bags (or even x number of bags) as long as the total is 30kg.
Wow - that is quite a step down for high value customers, and quite a step up for low value ones. Yes - this is major news for someone like me, who travels between syd and lon 4 times a year, paying my own economy class fare. After trying Qantas Silver for a year, I discovered Emirates' generous 30KG DEFAULT limit regardless of any points, saw they had A380 and a good product of their own, so I switched, plain and simple!
I hope Qantas will make it clear on their website of the newly announced provisions for OW Emeralds, of 20kg on top of applicable class limits and for this to be communicated to check-in staff.
What happened to Qantas saying that where Frequent Flyer benefits apply, the higher one would be the norm? Dr T, I don't necessarily disagree in most cases, but I've done a bunch of conferences where being able to chuck a couple of boxes of printed materials plus some promo swag into my suitcase has been a real benefit. And, of course, the corollary is: if using the full allowance is such an exceptional case, why get rid of it?


So Qantas, starts off with a weight system, changes to a piece and weight system in May last year and is transitioning back a weight system to avoid confusion in the Qantas-Emirates Alliance. It is quite amusing that a Plat FF travelling in international economy has  LESS allowance than domestic economy. We’ve rounded up the current hand luggage allowances for some of the major airlines to hopefully save you from making a difficult choice to pack your treasured lenses when you get to the airport!
When it comes to expensive and fairly fragile cameras, lenses, flashguns and other accessories, there’s a lot to be said for the security of taking your kit onto the plane with you as carry-on luggage.
The rigours of airport baggage handling systems and an aircraft’s cargo hold are much less appealing. A good quality, medium-sized photo backpack is an obvious choice for taking camera kit as carry-on luggage, but there are factors you need to be aware of. A bigger issue is the maximum allowed weight of the bag, with much greater differences between different airlines and tour operators. Some airlines merely stipulate that you must be able to lift a carry-on bag into an overhead compartment, unaided.
The table above shows the current carry-on baggage restrictions for various popular airlines, when travelling economy class.
Virgin Australia's new checked luggage rules, recently introduced alongside the airline's move to the Sabre booking system, could catch a few travellers unawares.
But on the whole, passengers on most fares and Velocity Frequent Flyers will find themselves no worse off, and in some cases they'll be able to bring an extra bag at no extra cost. The big change here is the economy allowance: a reduction when flying on the cheapest tickets, and needing to spread weight over more bags when on Saver or Flexi fares. Gold members should also focus on economy fares: again, you have less weight when buying the cheapest fares, but two smaller bags instead of one large bag on Saver or Flexi tickets. There's no real change for Red members: the only difference is that Saver Lite is the new fare without bags, while Saver is the new cheaper fare with a bag. Passengers without Velocity Frequent Flyer status have the same allowances as Velocity Red members. As a GOLD FF I am relieved the previous silly rule of one only luggage for saver checked up to 32kg has been changed back to 2 x 23kg.
Whilst I rarely check luggage, when I do it was because I am flying with RED status wife (yes, it is a cliche but she brings too much!) .
Ovo je prica o zivotu i vladavini jednog od najvecih turskih, ali i svjetskih osvajaca u povijesti. The biggest change is that on the saver fare you used to get no bags: now you get one free to 23kg.
Indeed, it’s charming to see an airline bucking the trend and moving away from its low-cost routes.
It may sound simple, but many Virgin Australia flights are run as code shares by other airlines. While lie flat, the seats are in a 2-3-2 layout, rather than Virgin Atlantic’s herringbone, which means that you have to step over your neighbour to get out of the seat unless you are in row 5 – the famous row of seats behind the bar, which also have unimpeded legroom, and a curtain so you can shut yourself off into the mini-cabin.
It can get almost rowdy during the flight, and very boisterous, for a good six hours after the meal. The basic rule is that on most 737 flights there is one trolley which slowly makes its way down the economy aisle offering free tea and coffee, followed by another one selling three different types of sandwiches or meat pies: this is the much heralded Luke Mangan menu. There is lip balm and moisturiser from Bulgari, a toothbrush plus toothpaste, a cotton eye mask, and some earplugs.
If, that is, you are on the cheapest of economy fares, with no status, flying on a domestic or Trans-Tasman route.


The vital bit to remember is that if you have no velocity status, and you buy a Saver Lite fare, you get no inclusive luggage allowance. Golds were allowed an extra 23 kg bag in premium economy or an extra 32 kg bag in economy, while Silvers (and Qantas Club members) received an extra 32kg piece in premium economy or economy. It would be difficult to police when QF travellers are told they have too much weight when they want to get onto EK metal from, say, Dubai to London. If you want to take you camera and gear abroad, every airline has specific carry-on restrictions based on size and weight. That said, photo backpacks often become a little more compact than their stated dimensions once the various chest and waist straps are pressed in, along with the often deep padding in the back and shoulder areas.
Others have a relatively low weight limit that’s likely to be exceeded even if the backpack is only half full of camera kit. However, these are subject to change, so it’s important to check with the airline you are using before you set off on your travels. What strikes me as that in many areas Virgin trumps Qantas, however, with regard to baggage, Qantas still has the edge.
I find it funny that at the premium class fares (even though 64kg is a ridiculous baggage allowance anyway) that Platinum FF's are th only ones with any extra benefits, a Gold being the second highest tier gets no extra baggage allowance to someone who has just joined the program. So we have two items one 15kg checked and one 7kg we had to carry on, thereby filling limited carry on space with an item we could have checked any way under the weight factor alone. Good news for Velocity Silver card holders: you get an extra bag when on a Saver or Flexi fare.
There are free meals on some flights, free drinks on others, and your bags are free on some – but not all – international flights. What you get on those flights is dependent on that airline, although it is good to see that Virgin have ‘sort-of’ aligned themselves with a similar onboard service for the Trans-Tasman flights with Air New Zealand, so most of the time you get something similar: which is to say no free luggage, no drinks and no meal.
There is a welcome drink of Sparkling Wine, but after that you are left to fend for yourself until an hour into the flight when first drinks are served, and meal orders taken.
The Sparkling Wine goes very quickly, as do the selection of snacks, including the famous spiced pumpkin dip.
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I have been on multiple trips in the last 2 yrs whilst Platinum, and even when I go Skiing I take ~25kg, and sometimes if I have been doing lots of shopping I will check in my Cabin bag with 15kg shopping, so less that 40kg. I have been to Hawaii on a 10 day trip and only taken hand luggage of no more than 10kgs and that includes the weight of the bag.
Which is why, on Virgin as no other, it is vital to work out what you are going to get when you book your ticket. With me anyway, I brought about 37KG (uh, accidentally) with me in the form of my suitcase, and a large rug I bought for someone.
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Alas, you can’t get anything yourself during this time: the bar opens after the first meal service (about three and a half hours into the flight), and in that time you are rather stuck, with the only action from the crew being tray tables covered with white tablecloths, along with salt and pepper pots shaped like the Sydney Opera House. Can't imagine that happening with Qantas, new allowances and 'get all Emirates with luggage' or not!



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