Friday marked the first aircraft delivery for V Australia, Virgin Blue’s long haul arm that will inaugurate service on February between Sydney and Los Angeles.  On the way down from Boeing, V Australia brought the plane to LAX for a reception and viewing of the onboard product, and I was able to get on board.

First thoughts? Coach and Premium Economy seem to be quite good, but Business, while good, is not quite best-in-class. Usually we get picture-perfect Southern California days for these events, but Friday was filled with cloudy skies and rain. That didn’t stop V Australia from throwing a heck of party. There were free drinks, trendy seating areas, loud music, and of course, famous folks (I’m pretty sure I saw Chase from House there). In other words, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Virgin airline, though probably not the best way to spend money in these lean times.

Finally, the plane arrived and Sir Richard Branson went into PR mode. He came out on to the wing with some members of the crew and popped open a bottle of champagne. At that point, it started to rain so people started to retreat into the tent where LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fawned all over Branson for bringing jobs to the area, and Branson announced on stage that the airline would begin 3 times weekly flights from LA to Melbourne in addition to the already announced flights to Sydney and Brisbane. Flights from Sydney to Johannesburg were also announced.

Continue rading on

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  • Cranky Flier

    My name is Brett, and I’m an airline dork. I’ve had the bug since I was young. As a kid, I never missed a chance to go to LAX a…

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