An Airline Review: Virgin Australia to Bali 31

I’m not a fan of discount carriers!

There I’ve admitted it – which is why it has taken me so long before I have been willing to fly with Virgin Australia.

Virgin entered the Australian market in 2000 under the brand of Virgin Blue -it was a discount carrier.

However as of May 2011 Virgin have been revamping themselves into becoming a full service carrier re-branded as Virgin Australia, and so I have  finally been willing to give them a go.

Well what did I think of Virgin Australia when we recently flew from Perth to Bali for 3 and a half hours?

Virgin Australia review

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My Virgin Australia Flight Review

Booking with Virgin Australia

I book out tickets through the Virgin Australia website during a sale.

Virgin Australia Review

The system is quite easy to follow, I am even able to choose our seating.  As I am in a bit of a rush I leave out filling in all the details expecting to be able to come back later and complete them.

However a couple of weeks before our flight I go back into the Virgin Australia website to add our passports, contact details and book a child’s meal for Lewis, but the system does not allow me to add this information.  So I call the Virgin Australia reservations desk.

I speak to a helpful girl who adds in all our contact details, however she advises that there is not a child’s meal option available on this flight, I guess that means no toy either 🙁

Check-in with Virgin Australia

We arrive at the airport nice and early, only Lewis and I will be travelling on this flight – Steve has an ear infection and cannot fly.  I have packed one large suitcase weighing 30kg (under the OHS guidelines of 32kg).

When we reach the  Virgin Australia check-in agent he asks, do you have a second piece of luggage?  I reply no, but we are allowed 46kg (23 kg each) in total.   The agent advises you are only allowed maximum of 23kg per bag, you will need to repack.

We shuffle off to the side and I remove 7kg of the heaviest item and place them in my roll along hand luggage to be now checked-in.

We return to the check-in counter, having to wait a few moments before being served and given our boarding passes.

Boarding Virgin Australia

We bid farewell to Steve who will join us in a few days when his ear infection clears, then make our way through customs and security with a minimum fuss.  We reach the Virgin Australia boarding gate to discover that the flight has been delayed half an hour – I don’t know why.

Virgin Australia Review

In the meantime I refill Lewis’s water bottle from the drinking fountains.

Eventually the pre-boarding is called, Lewis and I board the flight.

On Board the Virgin Australia Flight

We walk down the single aisle of the 737, to find our seats.  I am pleasantly surprised that we don’t feel that cramped and we have a comfortable amount of leg room – that’s not often found on 737’s.

We get ourselves settled taking out our old E-Tablet and new iPad Air to watch the in-flight entertainment.  I also have Lewis’s water bottle for him to sip during take-off to help ease the air pressure.

I discover that during my repacking ordeal that I have checked in our headphones, seriously can anything else go wrong?

Fortunately the Virgin Australia cabin crew on board this flight are excellent!

We have a very helpful girl who gets us a 2 sets of headphones.  She even notices that Lewis is not feeling well (he gets air sick) – in all our family flights not has a cabin crew member ever taken notice of Lewis feeling unwell – I am most impressed with our flight attendant.

In my mind Virgin Australia is finally starting to claw its way back into my good graces.

I notice the cabin crew our so helpful with getting everyone set up on the own electronic devices to watch the in-flight entertainment.

After take-off the very friendly cabin crew are efficiently providing the breakfast service.

Virgin Australia review

Lewis curls up on his seat to have a sleep, I try to watch the in-flight entertainment whilst enjoying a second cup of coffee – others on board have entered holiday mode and are having beers.  Sadly my in-flight entertainment keeps freezing, I try Lewis’s new iPad Air but it also has the same problem.  During the 3 and a half hour flight I never make it to the end of the movie.

So whilst Virgin Australia is slowly moving into full service mode with luggage, meals and in-flight entertainment included – to me it still hasn’t quite got there to compete against the main full service carriers.

  • The luggage has to be under 23kg/ piece (you can’t combine your weight with your travel companion up to the OHS limit of 32kg).
  • The are no special meals.
  • The in-flight entertainment is a bit intermittent.

However in saying that Virgin Australia probably have the most friendly and helpful cabin crew I have encountered.

Virgin Australia review

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Have you or would you fly Virgin Australia?

Tell me about it in the comments.

If you would like to read more travel stories from our family holiday to Bali please click HERE.

Or if you would like to check out some more airline reviews read:


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About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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