CHOICE membership

Virgin Australia

I have been out of Australia for 9 years and I recently flew Adelaide/Melbourne/Launceston and return with Virgin. I am sold!

Their Boeing 737-800 aircraft are modern and in great shape. There is plenty of legroom (unlike with their competitors), they don’t do “smart” things like charging extra for exit rows, their food and drinks are great and their (legendary) staff are still legendary!

They have raised the bar in Australia!

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I can only agree with you richardwarland. My elderly mother and I were flying to Perth when she experienced a serious blood nose in the middle of the flight. The kindness shown to her was exceptional. The Air Stewards could not have been more caring and helpful, providing not only plenty of soft towels for her nose, and ice wrapped in a towel for the back of her neck to help stem the bleeding, but a large piece of material to place on her lap so that her white pants would not be stained! They offered the services of a Doctor (who happened to be on the aeroplane at the time) - which she refused, and when we landed she was allowed to be first to alight. Virgin Australia are to be commended on their wonderful Customer Service, and caring attitude. You can not put a price on Service and Caring like that!

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I have flown both Virgin and Qantas on domestic flights several times recently. I prefer Virgin for their excellent customer service, on time departures and better value (compared with Qantas Domestic).

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The three main things I care about when I fly domestic are seat spacing because I am tall, on time arrival because I don’t like to miss my next appointment, and friendly staff who make me feel welcome. I have been happiest with Virgin and Tiger lately. When I fly Tiger I am happy to pay for extras including food and like that it means I know exactly what I will get and it still comes at a great price.

I have been told Tiger are very unreliable. Will be flying Syd to Melb in Oct and trying to choose.

My experience is that they ARE reliable… but they have a longer shutoff window for check in. If you want the lower prices you need to play their game…!

Yep agree with Richard. Don’t be late they don’t wait. They do send an sms if they will be late even 20mins or at least they have done that twice to me. My flights with them in the last couple of years have been great. No frills, maybe a bit like taking the bus but the staff look happy and they get the job done just fine. I guess it is not for everyone and I would not enjoy a long flight but an hour or three is fine with me.

Anyone who can’t board by stairs needs to tell them so they can get you on with a lift. They are sometimes in a bit of a rush to get everyone on and off. They use both front and back doors and some airport gates have no air bridge.

Take your own entertainment if you need it. You can use a tablet.

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I flew with them from Macau to Singapore and return. Plane was good. Staff were excellent and food & wine was great. I think their international flights are even better than their domestic version!

I’ve flown Virgin Australia a few times, they are generally really good. And on a common leg I fly (SYD<->CBR) they are much more reliable than Qantas. Some months Qantas cancels nearly 10% of their flights… but that’s another conversation.

They also link internationally with Singapore Airlines, and they are great.

The only issue I have with them is that I find the Virgin Australia Embraer 190 cabin very claustrophobic. Qantas uses a 717 which is much more comfortable and airy. I mostly fly with Qantas because of the international network and more seamless domestic connections.

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Tiger have few airplanes. A maintenance issue that cannot be quickly rectified has roll-on effects for scheduling. Virgin and Qantas have more airplanes so they can recover more easily and quickly.

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We always choose Virgin over Qantas. Qantas have let us down too many times. We flew Qantas from Hong Kong a couple of years back and the plane was in a shocking condition. The seats wouldn’t recline, or they went down flat and hit the person behind. Quite a few passengers had to be moved because of this faulty seat issue. My seat wouldn’t come back up, the steward was so rude that we complained. During the flight he wouldn’t look me in the face and almost "threw’ the food at me. We complained in writing when we got back to Australia and never even got a reply. So Qantas, you have done your dash with me.
I also hate the fact that they come into a route where Virgin or a smaller airline are running, drop their price until the others have to pull out then put the price up sky high. And have the ACCC done anything, not a dam thing.
Every time we fly Virgin the flights are on time, and if there is a delay they do all they can to fix it quickly. The planes are clean, modern and roomy. The staff are exceptional. The check-in is good, the online booking site is very clear and easy to understand as well. Go Virgin

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Nor will I ever fly Qantas again after, without notice, they deleted 60,000 FF points. Virgin is a better airline but I was very disappointed with the refund policy after a flight had to be postponed. A $150 flight was subject to $90 fees for changing , even though the flight was insured and the remaining money could only be credited to another flight on Virgin.

Virgin staff generally have a positive “can-do” attitude and are always friendly. Their main competitor’s staff generally speaking have a poor attitude and seem like they’d prefer to be elsewhere.

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I gave Qantas the flick many Years back because of the Rudeness of the Staff, shabby Aircraft Interior, and unreliable when it comes to being On time. I am embarrassed for Qantas as I have spoken with many people Overseas that have Flown with them and most complained about the Attitude of the Staff from Check Inn to Arrival. Their FA’s are really pathetic and I promised way back that I would not fly with them again. Virgin is my First Choice Airline for domestic Travel and when Flying Overseas I always Fly with a Virgin Subsidiary. I only Travel up the Front and have always been treated well. Have never had a bad flight with virgin and I always look forward to my next flight. I just can’t speak highly enough with everything Virgin.

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BEWARE of a trick Virgin Australia uses… when you book a flight they automatically (by default) set the “accept travel insurance” to YES, therefore slugging you with another exhorbitant fee that you didn’t mean to accept in the first place. When you realise you’ve been scammed and call Virgin, they fob you off to Cover More insurance, a particularly shady crowd that’s an offshoot of a major insurer. The time and effort needed to recover the scammed insurance fee is far more than the cost.
The law should require the “NO” option to be set by default and Choice should take this up with the ACCC immediately.

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Can’t say that that has EVER happened to me. I just Luv em.

I agree and that is the main reason why I do not fly with Qantas unless absolutely necessary. From my point of view it is a classic case of staff reflecting their unhappiness with (their perception of) senior management’s attitude to them. In my experience this is often the case when a company is in “cost cutting” mode.

Now that the big Q has announced a record profit I wonder if senior management will refocus on staff morale.

Have you considered reading the webpage and checking the total price before handing over your financial information? It will save you a lot of time instead of hassling an offshoot insurer.

Good point @john8 on the drip pricing tactics for travel insurance.

We’ve an ongoing campaign to get airlines to ‘Ditch the ticks’ for pre-selected extras. Jetstar was served a court enforceable undertaking in NZ to end pre-ticked optional extras. To date there’s been no such ruling in Australia, although the ACCC found Jetstar and Virgin didn’t adequately disclose booking and service fees on their mobile sites in 2015.

In the meantime, the best course of action is to follow @natural.thought’s advice and keep an eye on the total price as you go through the booking process. While it’s not a huge hassle, in principle we think NZ’s Commission’s chair Dr Mark Berry stated it best when he said:

“Consumers are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether they want to pay for additional products or services. They do not need companies to make unsolicited purchasing decisions for them.”

You can support the Ticked Off campaign here.

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Qantas and Virgin Australia use the same seat pitch, so your comment about legroom is wrong, unless you mean to compare with Jetstar and Tiger Australia, both of which are cut price carriers and neither Virgin Australia nor Qantas are. All Qantas and Virgin Blue 737’s and Jetstar and Tiger Australia aircraft are new or near new.

For others, I have enjoyed exceptional care and performance on Qantas and Jetstar flights by cabin crew. I am unable to walk well and cannot climb stairs at all but they accommodate me with cheerfulness and consideration.

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