360° VR Flight Review: Virgin Australia Business Class MEL - HKG (VA69)

Flight review: Virgin Australia VA69 MEL in HKG in Business Class (360° VR)

  • Stylish Virgin Australia Business Class experience with privacy, comfort, and character
  • Friendly cabin crew and top notch food
  • Fully flat bed with turndown service
  • A great way to splurge 59,500 Velocity Points

This was my first time to fly a Virgin Australia international flight in Business Class. What took me so long? Take the 360 virtual tour of my business seat for a new way of seeing the cabin. And find out why I was impressed with this flight up to Honkers, booked late, using Velocity Points.

Flight Details

  • Airline: Virgin Australia
  • Flight number: VA69
  • Route: Melbourne (MEL) – Hong Kong (MNL)
  • Duration: 9 hours 40 mins
  • Cabin: Business Class
  • When: Sep 2018
  • Cost: 59,500 Velocity Points + $135 taxes
  • Aircraft: A330-200
  • Seat number: 2k 
  • Overnight flight: No 
  • Meal included: Yes, breakfast and lunch
  • Amenity kit: Yes 
  • Pajamas provided: No 
  • In-flight Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Baggage: Carry on

Show me the 360 VR view

This image is interactive - just click and drag using your mouse or finger to see the cabin. 

Booking this flight

I had a few days in Hong Kong before flying onwards to Manila, then Amsterdam and Dublin. I watched the storm developing and held off booking this flight until only 48 hours before departure.

Non-stop flights in Business Class MEL - HKG

For context, a one-way Business Class ticket for this non-stop flight to Hong Kong with Virgin, Cathay or Qantas typically costs around $4,000.

VA69 on points
Time to cash in my chips.

All up this seat took 59,500 Velocity Points + $135 taxes. That works out to yield about 6.8 cents per points spent. 

Even the $135 taxes is four and a half times cheaper than the typical one-way economy ticket ($600).

Flying towards the typhoon

Air travel gets affected by weather all the time. Sometimes it's extreme weather events like a severe No 10 signal category typhoon with 230 km/h winds. 

Typhoon Mangkhut storm path
The storm path of Typhoon Mangkhut tracked right over Hong Kong

Typhoon Mangkhut battered Hong Kong for 10 hours and caused 2,000 flights to be rescheduled over a two day period. It turned out to be the world's most powerful storm of 2018 uprooting trees, blowing in windows, flooding, and delaying or canceling flights, bus, trains and ferry services. 

I watched the storm track towards Hong Kong and just 48 hours before takeoff I booked flight anyways. I took the risk that the disruption would be over by the time VA69 got close to landing in Hong Kong.

The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut on the streets
The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut on the streets

Airlines will, of course, put safety as number one priority and they'll show you during the booking process if a flight is due to be disrupted due to expected bad weather.

The lesson is to watch out for the weather, especially if you have a short connection time for your next flight. Even more so if your next flight is booked on a separate ticket to your incoming flight. You'll have to pay for another ticket.

Airlines will, of course, put safety as number one priority

Renovations at Melbourne Airport

I got into position at Melbourne airport late the night before staying at the ParkRoyal Melbourne Airport hotel. You can't get any closer to the airport than this. Perfectly fine hotel, a little pricey but still cheaper than paying to Uber in and out of the CBD to a more competitive hotel.

Melbourne Airport only 2 minute walk from the Park Royal
Melbourne Airport is only 2 minute walk from the Park Royal

Melbourne airport itself was going through renovations in September 2018. In the morning, with an hour and a half to spare I immediately ran into problems. The security screening area was, in short, a shambles. Long queues, new procedures, passengers unfamiliar with the lineup, grumpy airport staff swamped. 

Melbourne Airport security screening area was a shambles.

Once past security into the air side of the terminal, the problems didn't stop. Confusing signage made finding the gate tricky. Compared to Sydney International Airport this experience was a stress-fest. No time for the VA lounge, as I got to the gate for the final call just in time to be bused out to the plane on the tarmac along with the last few stragglers. 

Bused out to the plane.
From the gate, we were bused onto the plane awaiting us the tarmac.

So even if you're staying at an airport hotel, leave yourself more time than you think you'll need in order to get through security queues and find your gate etc. Running late for a flight is never a good feeling. And you won't want to miss flying Virgin Australia in Business Class!

The seat

After a rushed start to the trip in the airport, I knew I was going to be off to a great start once I was greeted by the cabin crew and found my seat.

VA69 Business Cabin
The VA69 Business Cabin
Looking up the Business Class aisle with high-sided seats
Looking up the Business Class aisle with high-sided seats
Seat 2K in Virgin Australia Business Class
Seat 2K in Virgin Australia Business Class

The 1-2-1 configuation on this A330-200 gives everyone in business aisle access. The Herringbone design angles away from the aisle and the high-sided seats give almost total privacy.

Virgin Australia 'The Business' Class seats on international routes
Look at all that room! Virgin Australia 'The Business' Class Seats
Taxiing onto the runway at Melbourne
Taxiing onto the runway at Melbourne
VA69 somewhere north of Melbourne
VA69 somewhere over the countryside north of Melbourne
Fast WiFi onboard at least for part of the flight
Fast WiFi onboard at least for part of the flight

The food

The food on Virgin Australia
Real cutlery and real healthy nosh on Virgin Australia Business Class international routes
View over the ocean
Blue skies out of the window

Time for a snooze

This VA flight means the whole day is spent in the sky from morning Australian time until early evening Hong Kong time. After a few hours, some food and a chance to relax, the cabin lights are dimmed. 

Mood lighting in the Virgin Australia cabin
With mood lighting in this Virgin Australia cabin you could say it'll get you in the "mood" for a "light" sleep?
Shaka in the sky
Shaka in the sky

When else do you get a chance to fall asleep in the middle of the day? A few sleep cycles are enough to feel rested. Mind you, since Hong Kong is only ever two to three hours behind the timezones on the East Coast of Australia you probably shouldn't sleep too long.

The arrival into cloudy Hong Kong

VA69 descending into the remnants of Typhoon Mangkhut
VA69 descending into the remnants of Typhoon Mangkhut

Arriving in Hong Kong is usually a very pleasant affair. Not today. Thankfully, despite all the disruptions we landed safely. Hong Kong ATC did a great job landing the 2,000 rescheduled flights.

Stormy overcast Hong Kong airport
Stormy overcast Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong Harbour looking to Kowloon
The next day in Hong Kong it was as if there had never been a storm

My overall impressions

This was my first time flying Virgin Australia 'The Business' Class on any flight and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I feel like it was well worth redeeming my Velocity Points for this flight.

Next time I'd maybe avoid Melbourne if they haven't finished renovating the international terminal.

Need help?

Oh and by the way, if you have any questions about points-earning credit cards or how to use the points for amazing flight experiences like this one with VA then get in touch with me or our customer success team on Live Chat.