Virgin Australia

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Jetts Fitness – Velocity Frequent Flyer Partner Announcement

Imagine earning bonus Velocity Frequent Flyer Points just for going to the gym regularly. From today, this added incentive to get fit is a reality with the announcement of a new partnership with national 24-hour fitness club, Jetts Fitness.

With more than 200 retail brands in its e-store and an extensive portfolio of partners, Velocity Frequent Flyer already has the widest retail offering of any loyalty program in Australia and today welcomes this exciting new way to earn and redeem Points.

In a first for Velocity, Jetts Fitness and Australian frequent flyer programs, the partnership will enable members to earn Points on new and existing memberships at any of the club’s 200+ locations across Australia, and as a bit of extra motivation, bonus Points for those who visit a gym more than five times a month. Members can also redeem Points for their gym membership via the Online Rewards Store.

To celebrate the new partnership, from 13 October to 30 November 2014, Velocity members will earn additional Points upon purchase of an annual membership or when signing up for fortnightly direct debit payments.

Velocity Frequent Flyer is thrilled to reward its 4.5 million members with more benefits than ever before and will continue to seek meaningful partners that deliver what our members really want.

To join Velocity Frequent Flyer for free and to find out more about its extensive offering, please click here.

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia launch a world first loyalty programme conversion

Alongside our alliance partner Singapore Airlines, we’re pleased to announce a world first for frequent flyers that will see members of KrisFlyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer be able to convert their Miles and Points between both programmes for the first time and receive a number of innovative new benefits.

 

Singapore Skyline

 

This new conversion innovation, which is exclusive to the two airline loyalty programmes, will give members greater access to upgrades and reward seats across the combined domestic and international network of Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines. By converting their miles, KrisFlyer members will also be able to benefit from Velocity’s range of non-flight redemption rewards.

The new conversion capability will be available to members of both programmes from November as well as an improved online booking capability for Velocity Frequent Flyers to redeem flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.

A range of programme enhancements have also been introduced to both KrisFlyer and Velocity members over the last 12 months and include: 

- redemption across all classes of travel on Virgin Australia with the inclusion of premium economy and the ability to earn Status Credits on domestic, Trans-Tasman and Pacific Islands codeshare flights operated by Virgin Australia for KrisFlyer members; and
- a reduction in the Velocity Points required for Reward Seats on Singapore Airlines and the ability to earn Points on all fare classes with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir for Velocity Frequent Flyer members.

The Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia alliance provides more choice for domestic and international air travel to and from Australia, with attractive and seamless travel options connecting 45 destinations in Virgin Australia’s network to over 80 destinations across Singapore Airlines and SilkAir’s global network.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Virgin Australia announces revolutionary Business Class suite

We’re pleased to announce the next evolution in the premium Virgin Australia flight experience, by unveiling a major redesign of our Business Class and Premium Economy cabins on board our Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.

This redesign will offer revolutionary suite-style seating in Business Class, and an extensive upgrade of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, including more spacious seating configurations and new bars on the Boeing 777 aircraft.

New Business Class suite

 

Bar on board the Boeing 777

The innovative 1-2-1 seat configuration will guarantee passengers a window or aisle seat and maximum privacy to work, rest and unwind. The suite includes a unique tablet holder, a 16 to 18 inch touch screen for entertainment, multiple lighting settings and plenty of storage. The seat also offers the ultimate comfort with new soft furnishings, a number of adjustable positions to suit the differing needs of customers and an adjustable arm rest to increase the seat width when sleeping.

 CABIN-2

 

This redesign will offer revolutionary suite-style seating in Business Class, and an extensive upgrade of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, including more spacious seating configurations and new bars on the Boeing 777 aircraft.

The suites will roll out to our Airbus A330 fleet in early 2015 with the first aircraft expected to be in service by March and the complete refit of the fleet to be finalised by August. The roll out of the new Business Class product to the Boeing 777 fleet will commence from November 2015 and be complete by early 2016. The upgrade will also include the introduction of a redesigned Business Class bar and changes to the Premium Economy cabin. A reduction in the number of seats will make Virgin Australia’s International Premium Economy a more exclusive experience, and give passengers three inches more legroom.

This redesign will offer revolutionary suite-style seating in Business Class, and an extensive upgrade of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, including more spacious seating configurations and new bars on the Boeing 777 aircraft.

bc05-2

Recline to enjoy our in-flight entertainment in comfort

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Introducing our new Lounge menu

From today, you will be able to find a range of new menu options in our domestic lounges including bacon and eggs, Peking duck pancakes, and pumpkin tortellini.

Lounges will offer will be serving six new menus over the coming months which will continue to be refreshed to ensure variety and choice for the broad range of taste buds that enter the lounges every day.

- New dishes included on our lounge menus include:
- American style bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns and baked beans
- Greek yoghurt shots with muesli and fresh fruit toppings and cold press vegie juice shots
- Roast Peking duck pancakes served with cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce
- Fresh pumpkin tortellini with creamy pesto sauce and shredded parmesan
- Authentic Vietnamese beef pho with noodles, bean shoots, coriander, mint and chilli

Streaky Bacon and Scrambled Eggs    Baked Beans and Hash Browns

Yoghurt shots and cold pressed vegie juice shots    Barista coffee and cold press vegie juice shots

For added interest we have also launched themed Afternoon Pop Up menus. These will include options such as classic Vietnamese banh mi with roast pork, pickled carrot, cucumber and chili and torched salmon nigiri with teriyaki sauce, seasoned sesame seeds and Japanese mayonnaise.

Roast Beef Roll    Pie & Pea Mash

We’d love to get your feedback on these great new dishes so don’t forget to share your pictures on Instagram or Twitter tagging #virginaustralia.

To find out more about how to gain entry into our lounge click here.

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

To Infinity and Beyond!

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.

White-Knight-2_1

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.

ScottSpaceClass

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.

Spaceport-2         White-Knight-2_4

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

More complimentary snacks on Virgin Australia flights

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.

 

Snacks_1200x800

 

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

Ask A Pilot – Airports, Take-offs and Landings

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!

 

Tail-on-Tarmac

 

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

Ask A Pilot – How did you get started?

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!

 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

A unique lounge experience

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.

Melb Lounge

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.

 

 

ACO-Virtual-Orchestra

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.

Insta - @calvinbradshaw   NeridaWinterBellBoyHatValet

Hat Valet

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

Supporting Starlight Day

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.

 

Starlight1

 

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