Thursday, August 14th, 2014
One lucky Australian receives the ultimate upgrade, to Space Class.
Everyone loves to be upgraded when they fly, so we recently asked ourselves how we could take this concept to new heights. In a world first initiative we gave members of our award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer program the opportunity to win the ultimate upgrade, to Space Class.
For their chance to become one of just a handful of people to have the opportunity to travel to Space we asked what they would do to receive the upgrade. The response was incredible and supported research which showed the majority of Australians harbour ambitions to travel to Space.
The once in a lifetime opportunity includes:
- An exclusive seat on board SpaceshipTwo, the world’s first commercial manned spaceship
- Certified astronaut status
- Velocity Frequent Flyer Platinum membership
- Unique experiences and events at Spaceport in New Mexico
- Visit to Mojave Spaceport to see construction progress first hand, science behind commercial space travel and test flights
- VIP invitations to media events and astronaut forums
- Access to a unique global network of first time certified astronauts from around the world
After an exhaustive judging process we would like to congratulate Scott Copeland for the Upgrade To Space. Scott told us that when he was in grade 5 he was told by his primary school teacher that he would never become an astronaut. His pledge, if he was upgraded to space class, was to find his teacher to tell her that dreams can come true.
He will soon be heading into space to join a select group of people who have ever witnessed Earth from such heights.
We will be following Scott’s progress throughout his training and preparations for take-off.
Make sure you follow Velocity Frequent Flyer on Facebook here to keep follow his journey. You can also join Velocity Frequent Flyer by clicking here to find out about new initiatives and to take advantage of all of the benefits the program offers.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
At Virgin Australia, we know that small gestures can make a big difference to the travel experience.
In February this year, we launched complimentary snacks on flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and we’ve received such great feedback that we have decided to expand and enhance the offering even further!
From today, customers travelling on these flights will be offered a new range of snacks to satiate their appetites including raspberry pancakes for breakfast and roast vegetable sandwiches for lunch, all on the house.
Also from today, customers travelling on even more routes, specifically Melbourne-Adelaide, Melbourne-Hobart and Sydney-Gold Coast will be offered complimentary snacks, no matter what time they fly.
These can include muesli bars, biscuits and mixed nuts.
Of course, customers can also purchase a range of other options on selected flights from our friendly cabin crew during the flight.
And if you’re in the mood for a drink, don’t forget, we continue to offer ‘Happy Hour’ between on a range of domestic flights scheduled between 5.00pm – 7.00pm which includes complimentary beer, cider, wine and soft drink.
To find out more about our on board menus, visit the website.
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
When we asked our Facebook fans, ’What would you love to ask a pilot?’, one of the most common themes focussed on the favourite airports of pilots, as well as how they operate for take-offs and landings. Well, you asked the questions, and here are the answers from one of our pilots!
Toby A - Where is your favourite place to land?
I find each airport has its appealing aspects and interesting challenges, and I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. A couple of my favourites are Sydney because of the scenery and landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Adelaide over the rolling hills and looking over the ocean on approach, and my home town of Melbourne. It’s great to recognise all the major roads, and seeing the MCG lit up at night is a pretty special view.
Melissa S - What’s the hardest airport in Australia to land in and why?
Regional airports tend to be more challenging, due to the types of on-ground navigation systems. At major capital city airports, we have instrument landing aids, which often aren’t available at regional ports. Our training as pilots however allows us a great deal of expertise and knowledge of managing air space at regional airports.
And the great thing about all this is that my job remains really interesting and challenging with so many different factors to consider, based on the airports you’re flying into. So in many ways, the more challenging airports can be just as enjoyable because you are able to use different skills during take-off and landing.
Jayne S - Can you actually take off or land a plane on automatic pilot or any other system?
The short answer here is no. At Virgin Australia, all take-offs are manually flown by pilots. We have systems that allow for automatic landings if necessary, however it’s rare to use these. The main reason why these may be used occasionally is to assist if we’re landing in heavy fog or other very tricky conditions. We are trained and tested on these systems regularly, but for the vast majority of flights, pilots will land the aircraft manually.
Peter F - Why is that sometimes when you are descending the whole process is quite smooth, whereas other times you are appear to descend much faster? Also is it true that when you are descending, you switch the engines off?
When we begin a descent, the engines remain running at idle. This is similar to being at traffic lights in your car. The engine is still running, but no power is being applied to the accelerator. In an aircraft, this is the same with thrust in the engines. When engines are at idle and the nose of the aircraft is tilted down slightly, the aircraft will begin its decent.
During the last 20-30 minutes of a flight, most manoeuvres are done to position the aircraft into a landing sequence that is managed by air traffic controllers. To do this, some aircraft might be sped up slightly to get into sequence, and other times they might need to be slowed down slightly. This is why passengers might feel a decent is slightly quicker or very gradual, as it’s all a matter of getting into sequence for landing.
Peter C - Why do you have your headlights on when landing in the daytime?
Having lights on during the day is just another way to improve visibility between aircraft and air traffic control.
Alice A - How do you remember everything? All the switches, all the buttons.
It might look like a random panel of switches, but all controls are split into sections. You’ll have a fuel panel, electrical panel, or the air-conditioning panel for example, and all of these are checked prior to take-off. A lot of the switches are only used if the pilots need to override an automated system. So while we need to know the location and actions of every switch, they are only used if needed.
John M - How do you land and stop those aircraft from that speed and weight?
There’s several ways that we slow the aircraft down. During flight, the wing is streamlined to be a high-speed flying wing, but we can slow ourselves down by extending the flaps on the wing to create the same amount of lift, but at a lower speed. This is the main way we slow the aircraft down in the air. When the aircraft touches down on the ground, the majority of the weight in the landing is taken by the main wheels. Then, quite a lot of things happen in an automated sequence. Once we’re on the ground, we want to stay there, so you’ll notice the wing spoilers lift up, which removes the amount of lift from the wing. An auto-brake system can be set to the length of runway, aircraft weight and conditions, and this will kick in after 2 seconds of landing. These procedures used to be activated by pilots, but the automated process means they can be activated much quicker than human reaction times, and that’s important when you’re landing at 280km p/hour! Although the systems are automated, pilots will have a discussion about the settings used based on the current conditions, to ensure the landing is as smooth and efficient as possible.
We hope this was a helpful insight into the life of a pilot and how aspiring aviators can follow their dreams. Stay tuned for more of your questions answered by our pilots!
Friday, May 9th, 2014
When the question of, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘ is asked, ‘a pilot’ tends to be one of the more popular answers that young children respond with. But what does it take to become a pilot, and how does someone start their journey? Recently, we asked our Facebook fans to submit questions that they would love to ask a pilot. Well, you asked the questions, and here are the answers from our pilots!
Andrew C - How did you manage to become an airline pilot?
From a young age I was very keen to become a pilot. To take up flying straight out of school was difficult due to the extensive hours and training needed, and the associated costs involved. I became an electrician for the first 12 years after high school, but during that time the desire to become a pilot stayed with me. After I was earning more money from my day job, I was able to start flight training, so I was essentially a self-funded pilot. I did all my own training and gained all the licences to fly commercially, including my instructor rating.
After gaining my commercial license, I resigned from my job as an electrician and went in search of paid flying roles. I found work for 4 years in Darwin, flying lighter aircraft before progressing into a regional airline role in NSW for 4 years. I was then lucky enough to work in England for 4 years, before being offered a role as a pilot with Virgin Australia. I’ve been at Virgin Australia for just over 11 years, and a Captain for the past 9 years.
Susan S - What made you want to become a pilot?
I was lucky enough to have an uncle who was heavily involved in aviation, and visiting his home when I was a young boy was what sparked my interest. He had a flight simulator in his backyard shed, called a Link Trainer. It was an early simulator used to train pilots in WWII. I was able to use the simulator during these early years, and that got me interested to pursue flying when I was older.
Brodie L - How long does it take to be a pilot?
It can depend greatly on the path you take, but generally I’d suggest it’s a minimum of 5 years, which is the commitment you’d need to make to the profession. After that time, it’s likely that you’ve gathered the qualifications and experience to seek employment to continue the career path with more steady income. In a way, it’s a like a trade apprenticeship, or studying medicine – you need to spend a substantial amount of time learning and practicing before you’re able to begin permanent employment.
Shannon H - How did it feel the first time you landed and took off after you graduated?
Funnily enough, your first flight is quite lonely as you’re by yourself without an instructor in a light aircraft. There’s definitely a sense of achievement, however you’ve trained a lot for that situation so you feel very ready to take control.
Andy W - What would your recommendations be for getting into a commercial pilot position?
Dedication is the key characteristic needed to become a pilot. It’s not a career path to take on lightly, and you need to have the self-belief to stick with it, as it takes many years of training before you are able to enter a paid position. For younger aspiring pilots, completing Year 12 with a focus on Maths, Science and Physics can definitely be helpful. After school, there are various paths to take. You could look at joining the RAAF, a cadet program such as Virgin Australia’s own program, studying a degree in aviation, or building your experience via self-funding.
Josh R - My son wants to be a pilot when he is older. What is the best study path for him to take to achieve his dream?
There are plenty of ways to be involved in the aviation at a young age, and you can actually gain your private pilot licence at 16. Aside from ensuring you complete your high school studies, there are cadet programs – including Virgin Australia’s own cadet program – as well as Scout aviation initiatives in some states, which are great ways for younger people to start their journey. Being involved in your local aero club and going for a joy flight with a trained pilot can also be a great introduction.
We hope this was a helpful insight into the life of a pilot and how aspiring aviators can follow their dreams. Stay tuned for more of your questions answered by our pilots!
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Airport lounges are typically a place for rest and relaxation before your next flight, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be entertaining as well. At Virgin Australia, we like to ensure our lounge guests thoroughly enjoy their time with us, by offering a range of different experiences during their stay.
Virtually an orchestra
Virgin Australia is proud to be the Principal Partner of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and this week, welcome their unique Virtual Experience to our Melbourne lounge. Located in a dedicated room within the lounge, the experience surrounds any guest that enters with projections of the musicians and their rich recordings. A touch-screen ‘music stand’ allows visitors to spotlight the sound and visuals of the ensemble, highlighting one particular musician, a section of instruments, or their own desired selection of players. A streaming score runs under each musician, allowing the audience to understand the complexity of the musical arrangement – and even play along! The Virtual Experience will be featuring in our Melbourne Lounge until 3rd June.
Baby Grand Piano
You may have recently spotted a Baby Grand Piano, also in our Melbourne lounge playing many favourites to soothe your ears while you relax. The Yamaha Baby Grand has been popular addition to the lounge over the past few weeks, and will be a feature until 28 May 2014.
Last year, as travellers headed south for the “race that stops the nation”, we launched our flagship Sydney lounge by offering race-goers a unique Melbourne Cup Carnival Hat Valet service.
Not only did we have porters on standby to offer eligible guests a personalised Hat Valet service, shoe shines and blow dries were also offer to guests, to ensure they looked their very best for the carnivals.
Stay tuned for our next surprise and to learn about the array of benefits of Virgin Australia lounge membership, click here. And don’t forget, non-members can purchase Single Entry to the lounge on the day of travel with a valid Virgin Australia boarding pass.
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Today is Starlight Day, and we’ve been the official wish partner of the Starlight Children’s Foundation for the past three years. We’re proud to help the Starlight to continue to deliver life-changing wishes to an increasing number of seriously ill children and their families.
We support the Starlight Foundation in a number of ways, including providing flights for seriously ill children and their families, sponsoring and donating prizes to significant fundraising events, promoting fundraising opportunities in our airports and active involvement from our team members in the Starlight Express Rooms at hospitals.
During our partnership, over 400 Starlight children have selected a wish that involved travel with Virgin Australia and last year, we were pleased to fly a charter flight with 100 Starlight kids and their families on board.
This Starlight Day, we are encouraging our customers to donate when passing through Sydney domestic airport, or online at www.starlightday.org.au
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
The Easter break and school holidays are a wonderful time to go on a family holiday. Perhaps you’re a little concerned about flying with children, and wondering how to keep them occupied during the flight. As well as making sure they’re well hydrated, get a good night sleep before flying and have boiled lollies to suck on to assist with changes in cabin pressure, here are a few other ways to make your flight as smooth as possible.
Wireless in-flight entertainment
Let’s face it, watching in-flight movies is a great way to pass the time and keep the kids entertained. Our Wireless in-flight entertainment is available on the majority of our domestic and international fleet, and can be accessed using your personal mobile device via our free Entertainment app for iOS and Android. This is an easy way to use multiple devices during your flight, so that the whole family can watch the latest movies, music, TV shows and much more!
High Flyer passports
We’ve recently launched the ‘High Flyer’ passport, exclusively for children aged 10 and under. Before boarding each flight, young travellers can show their passport at the check-in counter to receive a stamp to remember their flight with us. These are sure to put a smile on the faces of our younger passengers, and have them sharing the news of their adventures with friends once they return home. High Flyer passports are available at all domestic check-in counters.
We look forward to welcoming you and your family on board soon.
Friday, April 4th, 2014
At Velocity, we connect you to the world.
Through our expansive global network, Velocity members can earn and redeem on travel to Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and beyond.
Throughout the journey, you’ll earn Velocity Points and Status Credits on eligible flights with Virgin Australia and our international airline partners. You can also redeem your Points to travel to almost 600 destinations around the world.
We are proud to partner with some of the world’s best airlines:
- Air Berlin
- Air New Zealand
- Delta Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Silk Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic
Want to live it up in the Big Apple? Fly direct from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia and connect to New York City with our partner Delta Air Lines. Velocity members earn a minimum 120 Status Credits and 9,631 Velocity Points on a return Brisbane to New York trip.
Or dreaming of London? Take off from Sydney to Abu Dhabi with Virgin Australia and then on to London with our partner Etihad. Velocity members can travel Sydney to London one way from 62,500 Velocity Points plus taxes and fees.
Our earn table is easy to understand with members receiving the same number of Status Credits on Virgin Australia and our major airline partners. To see how many Status Credits and Points you’ll earn on flight: http://virg.co/TmFi8.
We’ve been recognised for our reward seat availability in the Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey and Freddie Awards in 2013. To find out how many Points you need to redeem flights for a trip, click here: http://virg.co/Qu1RP.
Not sure where to stay? Velocity members earn Points at over 285,000 hotels in over 37,000 cities worldwide. Make a booking through Agoda or directly with the hotel partner. You can also redeem your Points for a stay at one of 75,000 providers across 180 countries with Virgin Australia Holidays.
And need a hire car? Earn 3 Velocity Points for every $1 spent on bookings with Hertz, Thifty and Europcar within Australia and New Zealand and 800 Points per hire outside Australia and New Zealand. Redemptions are also available with Europcar. over 37,000 cities worldwide. Make a booking through Agoda or directly with the hotel partner. You can also redeem your Points for a stay at one of 75,000 providers across 180 countries with Virgin Australia Holidays.
With Velocity, the world is at your feet!
If you’re not already a Velocity member, it’s free and easy to join: http://virg.co/ONAem
Friday, March 28th, 2014
We’re proud to announce that we’ve become the Official Airline of the Fremantle Football Club and the Premier Partner and Official Airline of the West Coast Eagles for the next five years.
As part of our ongoing commitment to WA, we’ve also unveiled a unique ‘give-back’ program designed to deepen the support between fans and clubs. From today, we’ll be giving $10 back to clubs for every flight taken by Velocity Frequent Flyer members who register their club preference during the 2014 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
This allows Dockers and Eagles fans to support their club every time they fly with us during the 2014 season at no extra cost, so we’d love to see our Velocity members get involved!
To be a part of the give-back program, simply sign-up to Velocity Frequent Flyer for free at www.velocityfrequentflyer.com/westcoasteagles or www.velocityfrequentflyer.com/fremantle.
If you’re already a Velocity member, you can register your support for your chosen club at www.velocityfrequentflyer.com.
On top of giving back to their club, we’ll also be rewarding the WA Velocity Frequent Flyer fans that fly the most during the season, with an exclusive seat on board a charter flight from Perth to the AFL Grand Final, including tickets to the game and accommodation at Accor Hotels.
Show your support for you club by registering at the links above. Once registered, the more you fly, the more we give-back!
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
The 2014 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s core program has come to a close, after a spectacular week of runway, beauty and business events. Audiences were wowed by the likes of Camilla, Michael Lo Sordo, Sass & Bide, Carla Zampatti and many, many more, all showcasing their latest collections.
The festival’s theme of See.Feel.React focussed on making the events accessible to everyone, not just those in the fashion industry. The festival team hoped that the accessible nature of the events would allow visitors to embrace their interest in fashion and attend whichever event they desired. That didn’t stop the big name celebrities from attending, with Megan Gale & Eva Longoria being spotted in the front row at the Grand Showcase by Camilla.
As the principal partner of the festival, our stylish Cabin Crew were on hand to welcome guests and ensure they had a fantastic experience. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s festival, we hope to see you at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2015!
Head to vamff.com.au for more fashion festival info.