Virgin Australia Airline Review – Sydney to Los Angeles

2 October 2018
Read Time: 5.4 mins

The Sydney-Los Angeles route is such a popular option for direct entry to the United States, Virgin Australia offers daily flights from SYD to LAX.

VA1 landing at LAX airport Virgin Australia has daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles. (Image: Tim Bowrey)

The flagship service of Virgin Australia (VA1) leaves Sydney at 9:30am, arriving into the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles at 6:05am on the same day – ideal timing for those visiting LA for business. I travelled on VA1 in Economy, however Premium Economy and Business cabins are also available on this route. So sit back, relax and read up on what to expect when you fly Economy Class with Virgin Australia to Los Angeles.

Exterior of LAX LAX has that quintessential Californian vibe.

Quick Overview:

Route: Sydney to Los Angeles, VA1

Aircraft: Boeing 777-300 ER

Class: Economy

Seat number: 27G (aisle seat of middle row)

Duration: 13 hours, 35 minutes

Baggage allowance: 2 bags at 23kg per bag (3 bags at 23kg for Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity members)


Check-in

VA Premium Economy seats A sneak peek at Virgin Australia Premium Economy.

Online check-in is available for this flight 24 hours before your departure so you can select your preferred seat. Use the Virgin Australia app to manage your trips, check in and retrieve your boarding pass to allow for a seamless service. Scan your mobile at a kiosk to print your tags for the bag drop, it’s just security screenings before you board. For flights from Australia to the USA, Virgin Australia allows up to 7kg of carry-on baggage.

If you have onward flights with a partner airline within the USA as I did, you’ll receive all your boarding passes for your entire journey at check-in. You’ll need to collect your luggage at LAX and bag drop at the transfer lounge for your domestic flight within the US.

It’s now customary to board your flight by zone, which is designated on our boarding pass. You’re also required to arrive at the airport at least three hours before departure if you can’t complete online check-in and at least 120 minutes prior to your scheduled flight to Los Angeles. Note that you’ll now be asked at the boarding gate about the purpose of your visit as well as where you’ll be staying on your first night in the USA, so make sure you have these documents on hand.

Lounge

At Sydney International Airport, eligible passengers are able to access Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge located in the T1 international terminal. For entry, passengers need to be departing Sydney to Los Angeles and are required to be travelling in Business Class or be Velocity Platinum or Gold members. Lounge amenities include a bar, a la carte menu, self-service snacks, a children’s area, a small business centre and bathroom and shower facilities as well as prayer rooms.

Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge opens three hours before the scheduled flight so you can enjoy a breakfast spread and limited drinks before your VA1 flight.

Seat

Economy Class seats on VA B777 aircraft An example of the seat configuration in Economy Class on Virgin Australia's Boeing 777 aircraft.

The VA1 service is operated on a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft with a spacious 3-3-3 configuration in Economy class. I was seated close to the front of the cabin on the aisle seat of the middle row ­– my preference is easy access to the aisle.

Virgin Australia International Economy offers a comfy 32” (81cm) legroom/seat pitch, 6” (15cm) seat recline and a seat width of 18.5” (47cm), which is more generous compared to other international airlines with services from Australia to North America. All Economy seats are equipped with adjustable headrests, a USB slot on the seatback to charge personal devices and passengers receive a pillow, blanket, a pen and a small bottle of water.

For an additional cost, you can upgrade to Economy X within the Economy cabin for extra legroom, preferred overhead locker space, noise-cancelling headphones and guaranteed first-choice meal as well as priority check-in and boarding where available.

Entertainment

Virgin Australia offers seatback on-demand inflight entertainment for International Economy passengers, with a range of new-release and favourite movies, TV series, documentaries, games and music accessible via touchscreen and handset controls. You can also access and keep your portable electronics charged via the in-seat power below the seat and the seatback USB port. Complimentary headphones are also provided.

Service

Business Class on Virgin Australia's B777 aircraft The view in Business Class on Virgin Australia's B777 aircraft.

The Virgin Australia flight crew were attentive yet not intrusive – make sure you leave your seat table down and buckle your seat belt over your blanket and you’ll receive your meals and grab some ZZZs on the flight.  Lights are dimmed after the first meal service plus there’s mood lighting, which also helps the body adjust during the long-haul flight.

Food and beverage

On the international long-haul flight from Sydney to LA, three meals are served – a hot meal after take-off, a snack midway through the service (which consists of a roll or sandwich) and a hot breakfast two hours before landing. Three meals options were available to passengers in Economy for the first meal, including a vegetarian choice, however I opted for a special vegan meal when I booked, which was always served before the main meal services. There’s two breakfast options available. There is also a selection of complimentary wine, beer and hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages available as well as water and packaged chips at the onboard snack kiosk. Basically, you won’t go hungry!

Last word

Downtown LA at night Downtown LA is a hub of activity - day or night.

With direct flights to LA, comfortable seating (even in Economy) and friendly service, plus the ability to earn points and status credits with the free Velocity Frequent Flyer program, it’s no wonder Virgin Australia’s flagship service from Sydney to LAX is popular with Aussie business travellers.

The variety of inflight entertainment options means there’s plenty of ways to pass the time or you can opt to relax and sleep, thanks to the mood lighting and quiet cabins.

Images: Virgin Australia and Getty Images

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.
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