Flight Review: Virgin Australia – Gold Coast to Melbourne

Flight Review: Virgin Australia – Gold Coast to Melbourne

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.

Skyscanner

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).

Ticket types

You also get to pick your seat when you book.

Seat selection

My ticket was $169 AUD.

Booking summary

Days before the flight I got an email offering to bid for an upgrade. No thanks.

Upgrade offer

I checked in online, and the Virgin Australia website makes checking a breeze.

Online check-in

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).

OOL airport map

If you don’t check in online the check-in kiosks at the airport are fast and convenient.

Self check-in

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).

Bag drop

While the checking in experience was great, the departure hall was crowded.

Crowded departures

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.

OOL departures

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.

VA 736 to MEL

Virgin Australia at OOL (so named for Coolangatta – the former name of the airport).

Virgin Australia at OOL

There are no airbridges at Gold Coast Airport, so it’s a walk to the aircraft.

Walking to plane

The legroom of Virgin Australia economy seats – about a bottle width of space.

Virgin Australia legroom

Voyeur – the inflight magazine for Virgin Australia.

Voyeur magazine

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.

Regional route map

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.

Just Wing It

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.

Vegan breaky ball

If that wasn’t enough there is also a menu with extra food options available.

Menu

As an example, a super salad wrap is $9 AUD.

Super Salad Wrap

A beer is $8 AUD (glad I don’t drink any more!)

Alcohol prices

There is an inflight entertainment system, though you will need your own device to access it.

Virgin Experience

I opened it up on my laptop to check out the flight tracker.

Flight path

Overall this was a good flight option for travel between the Gold Coast and Melbourne.


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