Virgin Australia Economy X: Worth Paying For?Virgin Australia introduced Economy X seating on all its flights last year. These extra legroom seats come with dedicated overhead locker space, priority security and priority boarding. On flights to Los Angeles, Economy X passengers also receive noise-cancelling headphones and first meal choice. Economy X seats can be booked for a surcharge ranging from $35 to around $150, depending on the flight. They are free for Platinum Velocity members on domestic and shorter international flights.

Exit row seats on all Virgin Australia flights are now marketed as Economy X. Virgin has also added a several rows of Economy seats with extra legroom to all Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 aircraft. These seats have ample legroom for a comfortable flight.

One year on, has Economy X been as popular as Virgin hoped? And is it a worthwhile benefit for Platinum members?

Is it worth paying for Economy X on Virgin Australia flights?

So, is it worth paying more for an Economy X seat? This is subjective, but many AFF members believe the extra legroom is worth paying for. It can make a big difference on long-haul flights, for example, to Los Angeles. And even if you’re just on a short Boeing 737 domestic flight, row 3 (the first row of Economy X) has excellent legroom.

I burned some points for my PER-SYD flight and it was a great decision. I literally am jammed in the whole time with regular seats.

We fly to the states a couple of times per year, and have been using Economy X over PE with points (Gold) – makes the journey much more tolerable and less expensive.

Instead of paying cash, you can redeem Velocity points for an Economy X seat. But our members advise that this is a relatively poor use of points.

If you decide to pay for Economy X and later upgrade to Premium Economy or Business class, you will be entitled to a refund of the Economy X seat selection fee.

Free Economy X seats for Platinum Velocity members

Velocity Frequent Flyer has often been criticised for a lack of extra benefits for Platinum frequent flyers above those afforded to Gold members. But free Economy X seating for Platinum Velocity members on most flights is a worthwhile benefit.

Some believe that allowing anyone to pick the best seats for a small fee devalues Velocity status. Before Economy X came along, the up-front seats were only available for selection by Platinum members anyway. Now they can be selected by anyone willing to pay.

Enter Economy X, which gives ANYONE the option to take rows 3-5, including priority boarding, for a fee. That fee for SYD-MEL has now increased to $35.What is the point of status anymore if you have most of the benefits of platinum/gold status if you purchase a yearly lounge pass and pay for Economy X on every flight?

But most AFF members disagree that Economy X has been bad for Platinum members. In reality, anyone was previously able to select from the remaining up-front seats at check-in. Now Virgin charges a fee for this, including at the check-in counter. This often means that Economy X seats are the last to be filled, leaving more space for those passengers entitled to sit there.

Prior to Economy X, generally only WP in economy could generally pre-select forward of row 6.At check in other PAX could move forward. It seems no more without paying. From my experience YX seems more vacant and this has improved things for WP.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Let’s talk about Economy X


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]