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VA Status run across the ditch in J/PE

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markis10

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As many would be aware, VA are soon to replace the PE service across the ditch with J, and probably put up the $$$ as a result. After a few years at Plat and Gold I dropped down to Silver last year and with EY Gold now expired, commuting has seen me buy lounge access to ease some of the pain. I have been keeping an eye on availability of one of the better runs ex Brisbane to get myself back to Gold, and fortunately this time the timing made sense. With lounge membership barely a month old, and some new boys toys to claim GST back on, there was a good refund waiting to help cover some of the cost, and with our last long weekend before Christmas, I finally had the funds and the time to do it.

The routing is as follows:

Leg 1 BNE-MEL in J and then MEL-AKL in PE, cost around $530 and resulting in 120 SC
Leg 2 The reverse of the above, slightly cheaper.

So for $1050 odd, I would be picking up the 240 SC I need to get GOLD, and would collect close to $400 in GST and lounge membership refunds as a result. Seemed to makes sense to me at the time ;)
 

markis10

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I should start by sharing a small secret with you (don't tell anyone, just you and me ;) ), I have this bad habit of not really thinking about times when I book flights, which I tend to regret later on. Let me tell you, last night, I had a few regrets. My first leg was a 0500 departure in J, welcome to daylight saving Brisbane residents! That mean a departure from my residence at 0330. I am not sure I am the only one but I have another bad habit, when there is an early departure I start doing the "if I went to sleep I would only get X hours sleep " thinking. As a result I usually spend the night thinking about sleeping and not really actually doing it. Last night was one of those nights.

So there I was at 0400, outside the entrance to the VA lounge in BNE, all checked in and needing a coffee. Let me check the opening hours, hmmm, opens 45 minutes before first flight. Now some poor souls were on a 0430 MEL flight, yet the lounge did not open to 0406. First epic fail on VAs part. Once in, sanity was restored with a barista coffee and a sanga (no eggs or bacon items to be seen). Before long we were boarding, but not before I asked the service desk for a immigration departure card, another epic fail from VA (and one I forgot about until past security).

VA302 J (Booked into D class) BNE-MEL
I won't spend much time on this as there are plenty of reports of VA J, I was the only pax and the experience was great. Food was brilliant as was the service (not surprisingly), and I even had my own loo, such luxury :)
 

markis10

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I was a tad concerned about the flight map data

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412569957.577027.jpg
 

love_the_life

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Yeah, don't you just hate it when you discover you have booked a flight at an ungodly hour without realising it! I had a similar situation a while back with a flight from Quito to Santiago. I thought I was booking at 0800 but it turned out the actual flight was 8pm (see I am too used to the 24 hour clock and it didn't even enter consciousness!). The flight from Lima to Quito was pretty dodgy too as LAN changed the time from 1000 to 0600. The upshot was that we ended up booking new flights when we were in Cusco at something of a large premium!
I don't do early mornings well and my tolerance for overnight in Y is even less, so forking out the money was worth it. If you coughed and said the amount quickly it wasn't so bad :mrgreen:

Breakfast doesn't look too bad.
 

RooFlyer

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I should start by sharing a small secret with you (don't tell anyone, just you and me ;) ), I have this bad habit of not really thinking about times when I book flights, which I tend to regret later on. Let me tell you, last night, I had a few regrets. My first leg was a 0500 departure in J, welcome to daylight saving Brisbane residents! That mean a departure from my residence at 0330. I am not sure I am the only one but I have another bad habit, when there is an early departure I start doing the "if I went to sleep I would only get X hours sleep " thinking. As a result I usually spend the night thinking about sleeping and not really actually doing it. Last night was one of those nights.
Been there, done that too many times ....

Yeah, don't you just hate it when you discover you have booked a flight at an ungodly hour without realising it! I had a similar situation a while back with a flight from Quito to Santiago. I thought I was booking at 0800 but it turned out the actual flight was 8pm (see I am too used to the 24 hour clock and it didn't even enter consciousness!). The flight from Lima to Quito was pretty dodgy too as LAN changed the time from 1000 to 0600. The upshot was that we ended up booking new flights when we were in Cusco at something of a large premium!
I don't do early mornings well and my tolerance for overnight in Y is even less, so forking out the money was worth it. If you coughed and said the amount quickly it wasn't so bad :mrgreen:

Breakfast doesn't look too bad.
I'm OK with AM/PM bookings but don't tend to focus on booking times towards the ends of long business trip itineraries, thinking "OK, that'll change before I'm due to go" (because the client changes the work, so client pays the change fees). But often it doesn't, so I'm stuck with discovering some 5am departure times ... ugh.

The TA is booking a long LAN itinerary for me right now ... will scrutinise it closely!

Sorry for the diversion, markis10 .. looking forward to the rest of your trip.
 

kpc

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I should start by sharing a small secret with you (don't tell anyone, just you and me ;) ), I have this bad habit of not really thinking about times when I book flights, which I tend to regret later on. Let me tell you, last night, I had a few regrets. My first leg was a 0500 departure in J, welcome to daylight saving Brisbane residents! That mean a departure from my residence at 0330. I am not sure I am the only one but I have another bad habit, when there is an early departure I start doing the "if I went to sleep I would only get X hours sleep " thinking. As a result I usually spend the night thinking about sleeping and not really actually doing it. Last night was one of those nights.
I have a "rule" not to book any flight before 9am, and even then it means a 530-600 am wake up....I usually set 3 alarms in case I sleep through them, but invariably I'm up well before then! Having said that, I have had to break this 9am rule many times due to flight connections, award availability etc:evil::evil:. My biggest problem, if travelling with +1, is getting her up....a near impossible task, usually ending with me yelling "if you don't get up now, you are going to miss the flight!!"...never a good start to a trip as she will be in a bad mood for the next few hours!!!
 

love_the_life

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With that flight map, I hope you managed to land in the right city :D
Interested to see what you think about VA PE, even though as you said, it looks like it's on the way out for the ditch flights.
 

Virgin Bart

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On this.... If we make a booking and then VA change from W to J before the flight I wonder if they'll sit you in Y or J..
 

markis10

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On arrival into Melbourne we were allocated a bay with no aerobridge, and it was a long way from the terminal. I had a connection of 90 minutes in theory but had a TRS refund to do so things were going to be tight. By the time I got to customs it was already T-50, and no express pass had been supplied so it was in with the crowd. Luckily things went quickly, the TRS claim took longer because I was in the express queue but I soon found myself at the Koru Club.

Barely had I poured a scotch and the flight was called, so I quickly consumed the drink and hopped onboard. I was greeted by Sammy who would be looking after the cabin and I have to say she was awesome. While I don't know if it was her first flight or second, her energy and work ethic was fantastic, including letting us know that she would be assisting the service in the main cabin but was only a call button away.

For the food we had the choice of the menu items as well as the flex meals, and I went for the vegetarian pasta, it was very nice. The PE cabin is certainly lacking in room compared to the J seating but in 1F I was very comfortable for the flight. The flight went quickly, as did my scotch minis and we were soon in AKL.

Overall I was very impressed with the experience, while the food is not the same as domestic J options, it was good. Value for money was terrific given the two flights cost just over $500 odd, and they earn as a Silver just over 5000 points.

1.jpg
IMG_0659.jpg
 
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markis10

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After an average night at the Ibis, I woke just after 3 knowing I had a bus to catch. With my body still on Brisbane time, I was effectively waking at midnight, best not think about that too much. At 3.45 I was showered and down in Queen street waiting for the bus in average weather.

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759385.030578.jpg

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759404.221929.jpg

At least Auckland has free wifi to keep me occupied.

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759436.442424.jpg
 

markis10

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The bus was a few minutes late and as we made our way out to the airport it gradually filled up. About 5 we arrived and checkin was painless. Soon it was upstairs, though immigration via the machines and security and into the Koru club.

The Koru club was OK, although the iPAD powered barista service did not start until 0530. Boarding was called at 0600 and once again I found myself in 1F with no seat buddy. I got the impression the row 2 occupants were ODUs, as only row 1 got the PE service.

Once again I had the choice of items off the menu and a flexi meal, again it was quite good.

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759718.967981.jpg

I was offered a Galaxy but just used the iPad, and actually enjoyed a Ben Stiller movie. Before I knew it we were on descent with top of descent over the gippsland lakes, I waved at Straitman but I think he was still in bed ;)

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759859.680799.jpg

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412759887.429581.jpg
 
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markis10

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There was not much else to report about the experience, smart gate said no and asked me to speak to a human, turns out my short trip and TRS claim was flagged, luckily I had declared the goods coming back and with the 20% depreciation was below the $900. Walked over to the VA domestic checkin, dropped bag off and proceeded to the lounge. Have to say I love the express exit, good move VA.

The flight in J home was quick, and the early start hit me then, catering again was good.

ImageUploadedByAustFreqFly1412760147.918266.jpg

Note the Coffee that looks like Chivas ;)
 
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markis10

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Points posted the day after:

Melbourne-Brisbane VA0321 60 2,186
Auckland-Melbourne VA0149 60 2,884
Melbourne-Auckland VA0150 60 2,884
Brisbane-Melbourne VA0302 60 2,186

Mission accomplished, 240 SC and close to 10K of points. Overall I was very happy with the value and the experience, somehow with the change to J I suspect the days of getting similar value are no doubt soon to disappear.
 
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yohy?!

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Nice one, great TR I'm mulling a similar run ASAP.

Always a good laugh seeing the VA PE offering still wrapped in plastic..surely they could take it off and present things a bit better :)
 

love_the_life

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Good report - lots of information to digest re VA as a way to NZ. Not sure about those early starts though. I think I would need to think about that.
Thanks.
 

Johnno101

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Leg 1 BNE-MEL in J and then MEL-AKL in PE, cost around $530 and resulting in 120 SC
Leg 2 The reverse of the above, slightly cheaper.

So for $1050 odd, I would be picking up the 240 SC I need to get GOLD, and would collect close to $400 in GST and lounge membership refunds as a result. Seemed to makes sense to me at the time ;)
Markis If I book premium saver from BNE to AKL via MLB at $520 premium saver is the BNE to MLB in J or dos it regress to Y.
 
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