Flight: Virgin Australia VA 736
From: Gold Coast (OOL) To: Melbourne (MEL)
I flew with Virgin Australia from the Gold Coast to Melbourne. I compared flight options with Skyscanner.com and went with Virgin for the combination of price and time of day.
I’m not a frequent flyer of domestic Australian flights, and this was only my second time on the Virgin Australia brand. My last flight was from Darwin to Melbourne.
Virgin Australia is a full-service airline that competes with Qantas. It began life as low cost airline Virgin Blue and then rebranded as the airline it is today. Every ticket includes free baggage and a meal, but like a low cost airline it also offers bundles of additional services. I went with the basic Getaway package (I ended up booking another flight to the one shown).
You also get to pick your seat when you book.
My ticket was $169 AUD.
Days before the flight I got an email offering to bid for an upgrade. No thanks.
I checked in online, and the Virgin Australia website makes checking a breeze.
I was coming from Byron Bay in Northern NSW, which is less than an hour away from the airport by bus. While I was checking where we were on Google Maps I noticed this unusual feature of Gold Coast Airport. The airport sits on the Queensland/New South Wales state border, with the runway crossing over into NSW. Part of the state line appears to pass through the terminal building, but it is not in any public place (I checked).
If you don’t check in online the check-in kiosks at the airport are fast and convenient.
The bag drop is also an easy process with no lines and someone nearby if you are befuddled by the self-serve system. After flying from Brisbane and Sydney in the previous month I think Australian airports have efficient self-checking in services (certainly compared to my terrible Wizzair checking in experience).
While the checking in experience was great, the departure hall was crowded.
Gold Coast Airport has mostly domestic flights, with some international flights to New Zealand and Asia. I was looking forward to going back to Melbourne, but damnit that flight to Tokyo looked tempting.
OMG the flight is 1 minute late! Flight VA 736 departs at 11.00 and arrives in Melbourne at 14.20 (one hour ahead in Melbourne), for a scheduled flight time of 2H, 20M.
Virgin Australia at OOL (so named for Coolangatta – the former name of the airport).
There are no airbridges at Gold Coast Airport, so it’s a walk to the aircraft.
The legroom of Virgin Australia economy seats – about a bottle width of space.
Voyeur – the inflight magazine for Virgin Australia.
Virgin Australia have an extensive domestic and South Pacific flight network. I’m in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, where I’m slowly accumulating points for an international flight.
There is a meal service, but it’s more of a snack service. Just as well I had an over-priced meal at the airport beforehand.
The snack was a vegan breaky ball, which was like a muesli/energy bar scrunched up into ball format. It was more substantial than it looks.
If that wasn’t enough there is also a menu with extra food options available.
As an example, a super salad wrap is $9 AUD.
A beer is $8 AUD (glad I don’t drink any more!)
There is an inflight entertainment system, though you will need your own device to access it.
I opened it up on my laptop to check out the flight tracker.
Overall this was a good flight option for travel between the Gold Coast and Melbourne.