Login Now to remove this and all advertisements (GOLD and SILVER members)
Not a member? Register Now for free

VA Life Sentence - Now Pardoned

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Some of you may have noticed some negative posts that I have posted in recent times re VA – indeed I had given them a life sentence and was never going to allow my shadow to darken the door of a VA aircraft again. My main peeve with VA was the canning of the direct MEL-LAX flts in favour of bolstering BNE-LAX.

I am a very proud Australian – and an even prouder Victorian – and I intended on taking a stand as in my eyes VA were treating potential Victorian customers as 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] class citizens in expecting them to route through SYD or BNE to get to LAX – just not good enough IMHO. Nobody has been a stronger supporter of VA since they launched than I have been. I genuinely believe we need 2 strong, vibrant and financially successful home carriers if the Australian public are going to receive genuine quality affordable flying.

So it was with great interest I was looking forward to what I believed was going to be my last ever VA flt – VA J LAX-MEL on Sept 23. These flts were booked almost 12mths ago using Cruiserette’s VFF pts when they had 20% off pts and fees promo on redemptions or whatever it was almost 12mths back. I have flown 3 ret VA J flts to and from LAX in past – 2 really good experiences – last not so good – I did a rather long report on that flt.

I wanted to really look at this experience closely and subjectively – I hope I have achieved that – strap yourselves in – hope you are a little more enlightened post this report.
 

Princess Fiona

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2009
Messages
10,341
Points
1,530
Qantas
Platinum 1
Some of you may have noticed some negative posts that I have posted in recent times re VA – indeed I had given them a life sentence and was never going to allow my shadow to darken the door of a VA aircraft again. My main peeve with VA was the canning of the direct MEL-LAX flts in favour of bolstering BNE-LAX.

I am a very proud Australian – and an even prouder Victorian – and I intended on taking a stand as in my eyes VA were treating potential Victorian customers as 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] class citizens in expecting them to route through SYD or BNE to get to LAX – just not good enough IMHO. Nobody has been a stronger supporter of VA since they launched than I have been. I genuinely believe we need 2 strong, vibrant and financially successful home carriers if the Australian public are going to receive genuine quality affordable flying.

So it was with great interest I was looking forward to what I believed was going to be my last ever VA flt – VA J LAX-MEL on Sept 23. These flts were booked almost 12mths ago using Cruiserette’s VFF pts when they had 20% off pts and fees promo on redemptions or whatever it was almost 12mths back. I have flown 3 ret VA J flts to and from LAX in past – 2 really good experiences – last not so good – I did a rather long report on that flt.

I wanted to really look at this experience closely and subjectively – I hope I have achieved that – strap yourselves in – hope you are a little more enlightened post this report.

Looking forward to it :)
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Flew into LAX on US from CLT so we landed in T3 - simple transfer upstairs to check-in for VA in T3 - then wander over to *A a lounge in TBIT - Boarded TBIT Gate 132

WOW how good is new *A lounge - my first time in there since upgrade. Great shower rooms - flow of water bit limited but it got the job done. Even found a reasonable drop of Napa bubbles - this is quite drinkable.

Resize of IMG_1908.JPG

And:

Resize of IMG_1909.JPG

Time to board and I gotta say Boarding just totally disorganized - virtually zero organization - line jumping / people cutting in - you can just see this is going to end in tears at some point in time. If the jerks who were seated in 1A / C who were wearing the Ralph Polo shirts are reading this - you 2 cut in front of maybe 50 people who had patiently waited in a single line as requested by gate staff - guess you must be just oh so important!

Cruiserettes first time in VA J - her first impression as we enter cabin is WOW - how cool is this. We find seats 3H / K and park ourselves. She is so stoked we can actually sit side by side and enjoy the flt together.

I go to change imm - first thing you notice is front toilets much bigger that QF F - plenty room to change - and they still have the Ladies Only toilet - what a great idea - ladies you know what I am talking about.

Next thing you notice is they hand you a complete suit cover for your clothes - never seen that before

The FA looking after us on this flt is Lillian – she comes and introduces herself to us and Ayala champagne offered to us which once again is not properly chilled - still same problem from my last flt 2 or 3yrs ago - I did a report here somewhere but cannot find it so cannot link it.

PJs and amenity kit arrive but just like QFF there is no comb or brush in amenity kit - but it did have a pen - handy huh - no comb / brushes in toilets either - no amenities full stop in toilets

Service level from FAs amazing even before take off

4 staff for 33 pax in J - 1 full time in galley 3 attending to pax - how many new seats on 777?

Full J cabin - more evidence of why MEL-LAX should not be canned!

No Australian newspapers onboard - seems weird - didn't this plane just come from Oz?

50% of o/h bin space taken up by bedding – PITA

Time for take-off.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
OK so after seat belt sign goes off time to get really settled in – locate the little storage areas – get iPad out – plug in phone to charge – you know get set up for next 14hrs and 45mins. Seat so so to sit in but tad on narrow side - Lillian the FA who looked after us entire journey comes back to see us and offers to make bed up whenever we wanted - pre dinner / post dinner

Ok first problem you encounter is adjustment of tray table - when tray table employed - seat adjustment totally disabled - you stay in position seat is in - or stow tray table - then adjust seat - then deploy tray table again - how clever is that? YES tad archaic surely some simple electronic refits could solve this - it's a PITA!

First there is the Welcome page in Menu:

Resize of Menu Welcome.jpg

Now to the important stuff as we have lots of drinking time on our hands - here is Wine / Drinks list first - I will spare you the boring bits about the likes of Luke Tuggan or the dude who chooses the wine - like who gives a sh*t - just give us properly prepared quality food and beverages:


Resize of Wine 1.jpg

And:

Resize of Wine 2.jpg

And:

Resize of Wine 3.jpg

Ayala champers was good and much colder once up in air - but it just lacked WOW factor - I tried my best but just could not get into that give me more give me more groove I usually do - nice little bowl of mixed nuts with pre-dinner drinks though.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Dinner menu looked good - taste will tell:

Resize of Menu Dinner.jpg

Table set for dinner - remember get your seat in desired position before deploying tray table (Note: You will consistently forget this minor point) - and Yep they still have the Opera House S & P shakers - they are so cool

Resize of IMG_1913.JPG

Lillian returns offering still or sparkling water - very nice touch - even on SQ F and J you need to ask for sparkling - Perrier of course

White / brown / garlic bread offered from basket - still knocked over by TG F placing whole bread basket on ea F pax dinner table - but I digress.

Tandoori lamb so so - lacked tenderness - I'm thinking not lamb rather one of them Rocky Mountain long horn hoggets - but I might be wrong.

NOTE: See VA actually supply REAL cutlery - none of those 'school camp kiddie implements' used in QF F Lounge or QF F cabin - er sorry my bad - the Neil Perry designed 'school camp kiddie implements' used in QF F Lounge or QF F cabin

Resize of IMG_1918.JPG

Beef fillet quite good - tad overdone if anything but I don't really have a beef with that - I would prolly add spuds of some sort and couple carrots to meal and it would be perfect - of the 3 choices for manes I would steer you to the beef - not trying to bully anyone into choosing this - I understand all 3 options look appealing so would be a cow of a choice to have to make - I would not steak my reputation on it but which heifer you decide on I am sure you will enjoy and I hope I don't meat any criticism for trying to persuade you. Think I might have milked the cow jokes for all its worth - would not have the hide to go any further!

Resize of IMG_1920.JPG
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Next is cheese platter - now just imagine how much better the cheese offering would taste if it were King Island Cheese?

Resize of IMG_1927.JPG

Blue cheese such a strong taste - almost overpowering - nah after tasting and thinking about these cheeses nothing to write home about - bring on the King Island - VFF rep are you reading this? QF rep - are you reading this?

And then we both chose the ice cream:

Resize of IMG_1930.JPG

Both ice creams delicious - but I am partial to ice cream - it's prolly only sweet / dessert I ever eat.
 
Last edited:
Vinomofo is the best wine deals site on the planet. Good wines, real people and epic deals, without all the bowties and bs.

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Not long after dinner Cruiserette get's her bed made up - takes a slip of a sleeping pill and is poking out ZZ's like there is no tomorrow - I soldiered on another hour or 2. Went and chatted to a couple of people at bar - had another champers or 2 - I soon bored them to death and they were off to bed - couple of pics of on board bar:

Resize of IMG_1934.JPG

And:

Resize of IMG_1935.JPG

I love the bar - old bars being pulled out and replaced by new on re-fits where staff will actually get behind bar to serve pax

Got chatting to FA about me being peeved MEL-LAX service being canned - he says the staff cannot believe it either - 33 J seats 33 J pax - go figure!

But he did say it is aircraft constraints that caused canning. BNE will go to daily service - they just don't have enough aircraft to service the routes they need / want to service.

Went on to say that I would be amazed if I knew number of MEL arriving pax who then connect to SYD and BNE! Go figure!
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Ok so late into flight when you the only one still sitting upright in VA J cabin and you look around it does a bit resemble a school dormitory, a lunatic asylum or even a war zone hospital when all pax snuggled up 7 across cabin in their paralleled flat beds with white duvets covering them - no let me rephrase that - it looks a lot like the above.

Stars on roof so cool - amazing how little touches add to overall ambience.

Resize of IMG_1932.JPG

So getting late just finish another Ayala or 2 but feel like a coffee - duly delivered in like 3 mins flat:

Resize of IMG_1937.JPG

Just a shame the coffee luke warm / and oh so weak - undrinkable - did not drink it. I sat for another hour or so - I think I was only pax not sleeping - but basically I was waiting for FA to wander through cabin and clear away these remnants for me:

Resize of IMG_1940.JPG

These remnants sat and sat til I eventually took them to galley myself - VA even when most asleep you need to sweep cabin occasionally IMHO - yes I could have pushed call button but I was busy tapping away on phone making these notes so I just thought someone will wander past sooner or later.

OK time to sleep - so Lillian makes up my bed and I settle in. Now I gotta admit - as much as the new mattresses are a PITA taking up overhead bin space - they are quite comfy to lay on when deployed - slept really well.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Slept ok - new mattress on bed does make for much better sleep. Took sleeping tablet - Cruiserette did not move for 8hrs. When I woke up I got my bedding removed and sat on flat bed and pushed upright button - wow the creaking and shuddering of the old bed was amazing - but it would not go back to upright with me sitting on it - hop off - push button - up she goes - these babies maybe have done their time.

Here is breakfast menu:


Resize of Menu Breakfast.jpg

Brekky arrives - we start with fresh seasonal fruit, fruit yoghurt, croissant and look - again real cutlery!

Resize of IMG_1942.JPG

Cruiserette had a seasonal fruit smoothie I had OJ - fruit smoothie much nicer - but she would not swap - wives can be like that you know

Big mug english breakfast tea each which was hot and nice and strong - big big tick

Resize of IMG_1947.JPG
 

robd

Established Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
2,268
Points
10
Dinner menu looked good - taste will tell:

View attachment 35281

Table set for dinner - remember get your seat in desired position before deploying tray table (Note: You will consistently forget this minor point) - and Yep they still have the Opera House S & P shakers - they are so cool

View attachment 35282

Lillian returns offering still or sparkling water - very nice touch - even on SQ F and J you need to ask for sparkling - Perrier of course

White / brown / garlic bread offered from basket - still knocked over by TG F placing whole bread basket on ea F pax dinner table - but I digress.

Tandoori lamb so so - lacked tenderness - I'm thinking not lamb rather one of them Rocky Mountain long horn hoggets - but I might be wrong.

NOTE: See VA actually supply REAL cutlery - none of those 'school camp kiddie implements' used in QF F Lounge or QF F cabin - er sorry my bad - the Neil Perry designed 'school camp kiddie implements' used in QF F Lounge or QF F cabin

View attachment 35283

Beef fillet quite good - tad overdone if anything but I don't really have a beef with that - I would prolly add spuds of some sort and couple carrots to meal and it would be perfect - of the 3 choices for manes I would steer you to the beef - not trying to bully anyone into choosing this - I understand all 3 options look appealing so would be a cow of a choice to have to make - I would not steak my reputation on it but which heifer you decide on I am sure you will enjoy and I hope I don't meat any criticism for trying to persuade you. Think I might have milked the cow jokes for all its worth - would not have the hide to go any further!

View attachment 35284

Ha ha. Well done (get it?).
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
FA comes along and apologizes galley very busy and that our eggs are in oven - will be another 10 mins or so. See that is communication - will never be a prob with crew informing pax might be slight delay as they want to serve it hot. Take note QF F - absolutely no excuse for you serving up stone cold eggs to Cruiserette 2 wks ago on the MEL-LAX flt.

FA walked past again a few mins later and says only 3ins now - no problemo - when you are ready - just nice little touchs.

Omelette with 2 little mystery bags - omelette quite good - maybe a little underdone towards centre but quite ok - sausages - well they were sausages

Resize of IMG_1945.JPG

Now lets clear away the lawn clippings so you can actually see the tucker:

Resize of IMG_1946.JPG

2 more hot strong mugs of english breakfast tea - impressive - delivered hot in like 1 min!

Finished with the tasty little croissant with strawberry jam that I had saved through brekky - well done VA - really really good!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
2hrs 15mins til we touch down in MEL now - do I watch a movie? Do I get my mind back on work re the mountain of challenges we have in front of us? Do I spare a thought for serfty's fragile mental state after Buddy runs riot on Saturday? Or do I go back over these notes and tidy them up?

Life is full of big decisions that confront us each and every day!

So I am waiting to use the aft SB (rear right) toilet - whilst I am waiting this jerk from 2H wanders down - oh you waiting he said - I'll go up front - so he walks back up RH aisle and straight into Ladies Only toilet - this is so clearly marked Stevie Winder could see it.

This is same jerk that whilst I was in toilet changing pre-takeoff he complained to Cruiserette that we had luggage in HIS oh bin - the one directly above our seats was virtually full of bedding - after Cruiserette told me I wanted to have a stern word but was advised by higher authority not to do so.

I asked crew why they did not police the Ladies Only policy in that toilet - their response 'It's hard - they sneak in when we are not looking and it is kinda hard to say no when someone genuinely is in a hurry'.

Very understandable response but I would still expect majority of males to act like responsible adults.

I had never noticed the cool wall paper in the toilets previously - look closely - full of little Kangas and Koalas and Tortoises - so cool!

Resize of IMG_1952.JPG

And:

Resize of IMG_1949.JPG

And:

Resize of IMG_1950.JPG

And:

Resize of IMG_1951.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
Pre-landing cabin crew came around and had a 5min chat to all pax - again just a nice personal touch.

Now I do not want to bore you anymore with more toilet wallpaper pics so just a simple summary:

VA - WELL DONE - you delivered overall a very acceptable J experience to Cruiserette and myself. Many will say this is the standard J should be - I agree.

It was relaxing - F & B quite good quality - cabin crew EXCELLENT. So under those circumstances VA has had their life sentence commuted and granted a full pardon. What the experience showed me is that VA still have quite a few little things that make the experience fun and enjoyable - taking the boredom out of a long flt should be pursued by more carriers.

Now for the real shock for some reading - Cruiserette is not a flt enthusiast in any way - she considers it just a means to an end - she calls me a lunatic for the time I spend on AFF - YES she loves flying pointy end but openly says that's my job to get us there - she doesn't really care how or who with as long as we sit up front. But IHHO - if she had a choice again - QF F or VA J - she would take VA J in a heartbeat. She hated the distancing the QF F herringbone style created - and I agree - sh*t of a design for couples.

I fly 30-40 F and J sectors on SQ or other quality carriers ea yr on my own - I don't need to be always separated - just to sit with your partner and enjoy some of the experiences together is a big plus.

Again - well done VA - this was a quality experience. VA rep - I hope you read this - I will be sending an email to VA feedback congratulating them on the flt and the cabin crew's performance - can you also pls pass the msg up the chain (I will pm you with flt details).
 
Last edited:

robd

Established Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
2,268
Points
10
So if you're flying to LA from Melbourne (&/or v.v.) in the future, which airline will you choose, given the non direct with VA?
 

TomVexille

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Messages
11,071
Solutions
1
Points
1,320
Nice. Sounds like VA were on the ball :)

Now just bring back our MEL-LAX flight :-|
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,681
Points
1,530
So if you're flying to LA from Melbourne (&/or v.v.) in the future, which airline will you choose, given the non direct with VA?
Depends - if I am alone SQ - if with Cruiserette maybe SQ - but her attitude to non MEL direct is big deal - so we go spend a night in SYD or BNE before we depart - maybe QF if there is availability - don't really know as I have not really given it great deal of thought.

SQ auto springs to mind - I love MEL-SIN-NRT-LAX - Cruiserette hates it - go figure. TBH - if alone will prolly do SQ MEL-SIN-NRT-LAX then separate flt with whoever to JFK then SQ JFK-FRA-SIN-MEL - that's ideal for me.

MEL-USA-MEL.JPG
 
Last edited:

cove

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
13,976
Points
1,325
For a Victorian going to Singapore to go to Los Angeles is a bit of back tracking but not for Perthites.
Thanks for the pictures and stories on MEL to LAX on Virgin. I remain a creature of habit so I think SQ first as their redemption site is easy. I had better put Virgin in my "could use" basket.
I recently bought an Alkoomi so that scored a plus in your TR. Thanks for posting the pics and commentary. Well done on impressing Cruiserette. NYC is always a blast even if it is almost halfway around the world.
Thinking about Buddy he is not always on track so tomorrow will be a huge test against a quality opposition.
 

Clivem

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
570
Points
10
Excellent detailed report - Cheers ! Looks like top FA service and that is a deal clincher for me.
That said however, henceforth, will any AFF 'in flight T.R.' be deemed to be comprehensive enough without the inclusion of a detailed review of the washroom wall coverings ? ( supporting images being essential, goes without saying ) ?
The bar does just keep on being raised higher and higher.

Note to self - When other PAX look at you strangely as you enter the washroom with the Canon 5D; appropriate lens / lenses; flash (no pun intended) etc. .... stand proud and just shrug it off ..... because its all going to be for a good cause.
 

blackcat20

Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
11,980
Points
1,520
So they do have a new menu! Still showing the winter menu online and when I asked they were vague about it...

Flying with them them again next month. A few slip ups last time but overall the service is pretty darn good.
 

Princess Fiona

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2009
Messages
10,341
Points
1,530
Qantas
Platinum 1
Thanks for the report and pics. Looks and sounds good. I've never been brave enough to try VA int J. This is mainly due to the crappy Koru lounges and also because I am a big fan of QF when they get it right. Also like the possibility of upgrading to F.
Maybe I need to get out more ;)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Community Statistics

Threads
86,599
Messages
2,099,841
Members
53,907
Latest member
nhandinhbongda
Top