Virgin Australia last week announced two new long-haul routes. Melbourne-Los Angeles is back, and a new Perth-Abu Dhabi flight will also be added.
As a result, Virgin will withdraw its 3x weekly Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights. Virgin’s Brisbane-Los Angeles service will also be reduced from daily to 6x weekly, with some of the remaining flights seeing a major schedule change.
Virgin previously operated a Melbourne-Los Angeles flight several times a week, but had withdrawn from the route in order to increase the frequency of its Brisbane-Los Angeles flights to daily. Virgin will now fly to LA from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne using its recently refurbished Boeing 777s featuring “The Business”.
I’m liking these changes. It means more options flying VA to the USA. Their J product makes them my first choice over QF for the transpac services.
As part of the schedule changes, one Los Angeles-Brisbane flight per week will become a day flight! VA6 will depart LA on Saturdays at 11.15am, arriving in Brisbane at a 6.15pm. The return VA9 on Sundays will depart Brisbane at 9.30pm, arriving in Los Angeles late in the afternoon. Of the 89 weekly direct flights from mainland USA to Australia, VA6 will be the only day flight. All other flights depart late at night, arriving in Australia early in the morning. It will no doubt be a popular flight for travellers hoping to minimise the effects of jetlag!
Loving the Daylight flight LAX-BNE. A lot easier on the body!
The new Perth-Abu Dhabi flight will operate 3x weekly using an A330 aircraft. VA11 will depart Perth in the evening, arriving in Abu Dhabi early the following morning. VA12 will then operate straight back to Perth, arriving late in the evening. These flights will run in addition to daily Etihad Airways flights on the same route.
At present, Virgin’s A330s are mostly used on flights between Perth and the east cost of Australia. With Virgin set to announce flights to Hong Kong and Beijing next year, some members worry that A330s may be withdrawn from coast-to-coast flying and replaced with unpopular Boeing 737s.
PER-AUH is an interesting addition but I would say this will be the beginning of the end of the A330 on Coast to Coast flights. With the rumoured HKG/China flights coming up, PER-BNE v.v. may lose the A330 completely (my most common VA route) with trimming to the other two services.
Reward seats have already been released on these new routes. So if you’re hoping to use your points to book one of these new flights, get in quick!
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