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Virgin Australia: Now with Sexy, Sexy Business Class

Where: Australia
January 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM | by | ()

Last time we checked in with the happenings of Aussie aviation, Virgin Australia was opening up new lounges all over their network, repainting planes and re-branding airports. It seems, however, that they may have saved that best for last. This week was the official launch of Virgin's business class cabin across their entire fleet of Boeing 737s and Airbus 330s.

Rewind to April 2011, when Virgin Australia was still Virgin Blue, and very busy refreshing itself to become a new airline capable of going head-to-head with rival, Qantas. Since the collapse of Ansett in 2001, Qantas has been the sole player in the domestic business class market. Fast forward to now, where Virgin Australia is sparkly and shiny, and has eliminated their low-cost model to become a premium airline contender.

· Seating:
On Wednesday, Virgin announced all domestic jet service will have some sort of business class cabin. The mainstay of their fleet—the B737 (700 and 800 variations)—will have 2 rows of leather recliner seats up front. This replaces the former premium economy previously offered.

Part of the upgrade is the addition of wide-body aircraft for transcontinental flights. The A330s on these domestic flights will have 4 rows of the same seats and sport better features offered on short-haul, including 3-course meal service and amenity kits. Yes, domestic amenity kits! Don't think the Virgin colors have been left out either, as the divider between economy and business is the signature purple color-pop.

Virgin also hasn't forgotten about the smaller regional jets. The airline is including a business-type cabin in the Embraer 190. These smaller jets will boast 4 seats up front with expanded leg room. Window seats are the only option, so these will definitely be great for watching the clouds go by.

· In-flight service:
Upgraded as well. Personalized service seems to be the name of the game with dedicated premium check-in, security lanes and boarding. For the transcon, those lucky enough to sit up front get a branded garment bag for their coats. Onboard dining even gets a boost with 2 choices of dining options and a more elite presentation.

Believe it or not, economy passengers get to reap the rewards too. Happy hour returns to flying in economy with complimentary drink service between 4 and 7pm. You're not left out if you have that early morning flight, either; coffee, tea and tap water is now included. We think it's a major upgrade after we coughed up $3.50 for instant coffee.

· Lounges:
If you thought the D.I.Y. panini press was fun on our last visit, now the Virgin lounges in major cities will have a hot dinner option for passengers to enjoy before or after their flight. With lounges popping up all over Oz, you only have yourself to blame if you've gone hungry.

Rest assured we'll be keeping an eye on what's occurring Down Under, as we have a feeling the fun has only begun.

[Photo: Virgin Australia]

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