A toast to Virgin Australia, some fond memories

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In these sad times, I propose a (purple) toast. 🥂

To the airline that took me on countless journeys exploring the world (along with some well-chosen partners), getting work done around Australia, and always getting home. To an outrageously good, world-leading domestic business class (that may have contributed to their financial downfall, shhh). To innovations like family pooling that originally got me caring about an FF program for the first time, and now both of us at home try to each maintain platinum.

But most of all, to the 10,000 awesome staff and fun humans in the air and on the ground who were such a joy to fly with. They made VA my favourite airline. I hope you have a great job waiting for you at the end of this!

May Virgin Australia come through from administration a stronger, better structured airline that's there for the long haul (pun intended)! One that Australia needs to recover from COVID-19 and beyond. 🤞

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One of my fond memories of VA was this A330 model. VA ground staff at HKG looked for me at the gate to give it to me, after they gathered at check-in that I just flew in on the inaugural MEL-HKG for fun… only to turn straight around to fly home! I almost missed them because I was so tired, after getting up before dawn to fly SYD-MEL in time for the festivities that morning. (Ironically, both the aircraft and the route are responsible for some of VA's steep losses. 😅)

Now I'm keen to hear some of your memories!
 

blackcat20

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I took my mum on her first overseas trip, flying to LA and back in VA J. The crew was fabulous, we both enjoyed the flights far too much. Such a great way to start and finish our holiday. I'd only ever flown longhaul Y so it was a massive treat for both of us.
 
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Ausbt

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For me as a Plat for 8 years, it was the amazing level of service at all levels. Whenever I had an issued they listened and quite frankly compensated if required. I switched over as a Q SG during the great member status-match-switch-a-roo of 2012. Moving from a 'lowly' SG basically unable to use points for upgrades to a VA Plat (the bar was lower) I suddenly found myself at the pointy end of the plane a lot more. In fact I've never even sat in Y in the 777, even though I've purchased quite a few tickets in that class. Fond memories of two long-haul op-ups from PE to J, earning masses of points thanks to family pooling and just a general feeling that I was more valued at VA than at Q. It's going to be hard to cope in a post-VA world, if we ever get back to flying.
 

NoName

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My first memory of VA (not DJ) was our first trip to the US in 2010. Before I joined this forum so we were well towards the back of the bus. I remember a couple of hours out from LAX consuming possibly the worst breakfast I have ever had - flavourless powders eggs with soggy spinach, tomato and mushroom. Truly revolting.

As a point of clarification, this is not a criticism of VA. It is a reality of long haul Y travel and I actually look back on it fondly because of the excitement we felt at the time.
 

davidj

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DJ! Live to air TV, a refreshing flying experience.

How many folks took that status run in the last few weeks and had that feeling of nostalgia?
 
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The-Aviator

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2003 - my first flight with Virgin Blue, Gold Coast holiday with my parents. Back in the days when they had two fare types, the "Fair Fare" and the "Flex Fare"
2012 - first flight with the new Virgin Australia, SYD-MEL.
2016 - flew on the Virgin Samoa plane, although not to Samoa but to Townsville!
2017 - first time in the Virgin Australia lounge (Sydney Airport)
2018 - a year of many milestones! First time reaching elite status with any airline (first Silver then Gold, which I have maintained since), first time flying Business Class with my own money (SYD-PER return on a B737), Virgin finally overtakes Qantas as my most flown airline by number of flights, a position it has retained to this day.
2019 - first time flying Virgin Australia internationally, first to New Zealand in January and then to Hong Kong in October. Also discovered Ink Gin on board which has become one of my favourites for a gin and tonic!
27th October 2019 - my final flight before VA entered administration, Hong Kong to Sydney in "The Business". Not a bad way to end this 17-year love affair if I do say so myself.

Not to mention the many other excellent trips overseas with their international airline partners to Europe, Asia and South America (including a trip in Etihad J where due to their cost cuts, I wore VA's pyjamas onboard instead!), plus a couple of Tigerair flights here and there. I really do love this airline, I feel especially in the last few years they have become a big part of my life and I can only hope we will see them bouncing back once all this is over!

Until next time, VA! 💜

20191027_184715.jpg
 
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ojm

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Last night I wrote up some quick notes and memories/photos from 8 years of heavy flying with VA.. some highlights;

– Maintaining at least silver status for all but 2 months since June 2012 (83% of the time being Gold or Platinum).
– Flights to Bali via the “free” business class flights from HBA-DPS.
– Managing to snag myself and a mate an upgrade to business for a boys trip to Las Vegas (and a operational upgrade at that – for both of us, for free!).

My full post is here if anyone is keen on the photos: 8 Great Years with Virgin Australia (vale VA) - Owen McCrink
 

Drakecula

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Our first experience in business class was with Virgin Australia, on a CBR-MEL-HKG-MEL-CBR trip for my birthday a couple of years ago. It was the best thing ever. The cabin crew were fantastic on the MEL-HKG leg, we got pyjamas which was a fun treat, the food, the lounges, the seat, everything was great. Guess it helped it was our first experience in J and we had nothing to compare it to.

We flew J with them last year for our domestic legs for the Big Trip and it was so nice on our last leg from MEL-CBR to chat with Australian crew after being away for six weeks. They seemed genuinely interested in our trip and chatted with us for a good chunk of the flight. It was two days before Christmas too, so that might have been another reason for the high spirits.

And after now doing a RTW trip in J on *A, I can certainly say VA was up there with quality of service. Even my many flights with them in Y were great.
 

ff-jr

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  • I first flew with Virgin Blue in 2003.
  • My first international flight was on VA1 in 2009 (I got to experience redemption J in 2012 and finally The Business last September)
  • I was in Seattle when the rebrand was announced in 2011. I remember being very excited.
  • I first hit Silver in 2011 and Gold in 2012.
  • My last flight was mid-Feb, CFS-SYD. I was the only pax in J and it was a smooth flight with great service.
  • Shout out to the ever generous @Matt_01 for bumping me up to Gold last May (which I requalified for on my last flight!)
  • For kicks, let's never forget the hilarious "A Golden year on us!" email screw up of 2009. 😅
Fingers crossed that there's a road to redemption for VA. The skies wouldn't be the same without it.

Edit: Not at all advisable for VA to spend the money on a campaign, but I would love some kind of lifetime flying stats email.
 

toowongman

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Virgin Blue since 2001.
  • Playing pool and video games in the Brisbane Blue Room.
  • Live2Air was magic. Flights went in a blink. Listening to people cheer for their team watching the game live, then screaming out when we banked and the satellite dropped out for a moment.
  • Crazy $1 domestic fares got us to places we never imagined visiting
  • 2012 and the switch to VA and the awesome VFF refresh - from 2013 we flew J domestic reward about 4/5 times thanks to mashing almost every business and personal expense through Amex and RewardPay.
  • Those $199 J domestic fares... ohh good times. Got us to WP very easily
  • Early morning A330 MEL-SYD flights during their introduction were a good way to start a day
  • SYD express entry was fcking awesome - footpath to gate in ten minutes, grab a drink on the way through
  • Priority boarding that actually worked
  • flying from MEL to BNE in Y for our wedding, they just checked in our six bags and didn't blink :)
  • All those extra snacks, meals, sandwiches, bottles of wine to take home... then again, that might explain a few things.
  • Pretty much everyone we dealt with genuinely wanted to help you. Unlike QF's "you should be so lucky I could be bothered to deal with you"
Never flew them internationally, as we're a bit rusted to SQ and CX. Thanks to everyone at VA and their contractors for doing what you did, and we wish you can continue in some form down the line.
 
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Being quite young (Ansett is something I heard about in the history books) I did one RTW with Qantas in Y in my early teen years with my family and it made me hate flying, Y class and long haul flying. I vowed to never do it again and never flew any airline.

About 10 years later I set foot on a Virgin plane, from that day it completely changed my attitude towards flying, I loved it, it was a million miles ahead of my previous experience (yes it was also a decade later). Virgin introduced me into the love of flying, being a frequent flyer status passenger, shown me the world and living life at the pointy end of the plane.

Virgin turned me from a hater of all things air travel to someone who will do a day trip in J somewhere just for a status run/ fun. Virgin have taken me to the moon (in travel distance) or 10x around the world.

Also through trying to burn my annual J complimentary upgrades, using ex 2-4-1 vouchers and status runs with family pooling has encouraged me to book trips with my family and friends, spending valuable time on unforgettable trips I otherwise would never have thought to do.

Virgin has given me so much and despite my significant amount of time in their Aircraft, Terminals and Lounges I have almost 0 seriously negative experiences with the Airline. They do a great job and I hope this isn't the end, just the start of a new bright future.
 

Must...Fly!

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I have a lot of wonderful happy moments to remember with VA. They've flown me around Australia countless times safely and (usually) without issue. Velocity was one of the best frequent flyer programs and one that engaged me thoroughly - I have been Platinum for 3 years and was Gold for a year before that. While QFF did keep me interested, VFF drew me in to actually be loyal. Which worked very well for Virgin over the years. Since I returned from living in the UK on a working holiday in 2016 I have not set foot on a Qantas aircraft, and I've had absolutely no desire to do so, despite a cache of points with them too (& AA).

I just love what the Virgin Australia brand represents to me as a customer and loyal flyer. The Business Class product on the A330 completely re-imagined what pointy end domestic travel could be - worldwide. Forgetting the financials, as a passenger it was the most amazing experience, every single time. The B737s slightly less impressive of course, but still almost always a friendly face to greet you at the door.

I was racking my brains through all the various trips I've done with VA, and I think the ones that I remember most are the weekend trips to NZ during the NZ partnership. The reciprocal lounge access in to the excellent NZ lounges (possible exception of AKL because it was so busy all the time...), and on a personal note the first travel I did with my partner (maybe those memories will sour if we ever split...but for now, they're good!).

But the first thing that came to mind was actually wearing the VA uniform. After I finished uni, I quickly realised that work in the field I studied was not something that inspired me, at all. So I started thinking about what I wanted to do instead of what I studied to do - and since I was a young child, I always wanted to work at the airport. Some months later I threw on a white shirt, red tie and black blazer...and it was fantastic. It was a whirlwind 11 months and I only left to pursue a life long dream of living overseas, but those months taught me more about me, the world and workplace culture than any of the previous 15+ years of education and odd jobs ever, ever could. It gave me confidence in myself that I never had - and I count a lot of things I've done in my professional life since down to those building blocks of working in a frenzied airline operation at all hours of the night and day with some amazing people working together as a team.

I may have given everything back when I resigned but I kept my name tag, which every now and then I find in my desk drawers and happily think about all the good times and lessons I left there with.
 

Denali

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2012 was our first VA flight, Syd>LAX in Premium Y - work paid for me and hubby was my plus 1. And to think, we were so thrilled with the PE product, it was so comfortable and spacious, the FAs lovely. As pax walked passed us, as we enjoyed our pre departure drink and marveled at the leg space and the extra wide seats, someone made comment about the cattle having to go to the back. I was sitting there thinking "but we're plebs, this isnt normal for us".

We started as plebs but because of family pooling, hubby was Gold by the time we got home and shortly after I joined AFF.
 

Tejas57

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i haven't flown VA as much as others - i flew virgin blue quite often, but when i started my current career all work travel was QF.

in jan i did a day trip to Mel on VF for the Aus open using the seat upgrade bid got business class quite cheap (it ended bening about $300 each way) and i quite enjoyed it. I was planning on flying VF for more personal flights in the future
 

AustraliaPoochie

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VFF PS gets 2 entries into the Lounge, better than QF's 1 single entry, and pain in the bum way to get in, with VFF, just have to show VFF card and BP on phone or paper, unlike QF where we have to do the link prepared to be scanned at the machine on entry, not sure if this will continue under VA mark2.
VFF PS easy to get to, with FB, not sure what VA mark2 will be like, if its going to be like this, or different, ... if fact, not sure if the new buyers plan for VA will come to fruition.
Being able to buy the Lounge annual pass for not much as a VFF PS, not sure if this will continue down the track.
Just 3 of my warbles.
Probably a leaner VA mark2 will be very different from the "former" airline we love to love.
 

Leuke

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From my first Virgin Blue flight to SYD in 2014 as a unaccompanied 12 year old, to my last flight with Virgin Australia from CNS to MEL last month, I've always felt looked after. Since 2012 I've been a silver Velocity member, with a couple of years of gold sprinkled in there, but I've always felt looked after even at that level. Whenever I've had excess baggage, there's been flight changes or cancellations, or the one time I missed a flight after getting held up at security, they always sorted me out with minimal fuss.

Fingers crossed they're back with the same level of service after all this is done and dusted.
 

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