Virgin Australia review: Sydney to Christchurch, economy return
Popping over to New Zealand for a long weekend, Virgin proved to offer the best-value flights in the market.
Taking off to New Zealand for an extended long weekend, I was delightfully surprised to find the best-value flights weren't from a budget carrier, but were from Virgin Australia.
The flight times were perfect, departing Thursday evening and returning Tuesday evening, allowing me to work full days around the flights. And the price was even better, at $420 return over a long weekend and $20 off with a promo code from Budget Air.
Virgin Australia flight details
- Route: Sydney to Christchurch
- Duration: 3h 5m
- Flight number(s): VA139
- Aircraft type: Boeing 737
- Dates travelled: 3 October
- Class: Economy
- Frequent flyer program: Velocity
- Points earned: 1,853 points and 20 status credits
Alex's Virgin Australia review★★★★☆
- Food and drink included
- Checked bags included
- Flight schedule
- Points claiming
What did I like?
- Price. Considering I was going over a long weekend and booking at the last minute, I was pleasantly surprised to pay about $400 for my return fare on a full-service airline. I was also able to use a promo code to save $20 off my fare by booking through Budget Air. While these codes aren't always available, I always check our flight deals page to see if I can save extra cash on my trip.
- Full-service flight. For less than the price of budget-carrier Jetstar, I was able to fly with Virgin and get complimentary checked baggage, seat selection and an in-flight meal with a drink (including wine or beer as an option).
- Flight times. Going over a long weekend and not wanting to take time off work, I was conveniently able to fly at 7pm. This did mean getting into Christchurch rather late, at about 2am due to a slight delay, but I was able to make the most of the next day and not spend it on a plane.
What didn't I like?
- Entertainment via personal devices only. While entertainment was available if you connected on your personal device, I usually find full-service airlines on international routes have seat-back TVs. Luckily this was just a short flight and I had a book and a phone full of Netflix downloads, but I could see this bothering others.
- Claiming points. Although I'm unsure if it was an error on BudgetAir's end at the time of ticketing or Velocity's, but only one of my flights appeared in the Velocity app. I had booked a return ticket, though only my outgoing leg showed up and automatically gave me points and status credits. My first few attempts to claim the points on the app resulted in an error, but about a week or so after travelling, I was able to successfully claim the return flight.
Would I use Virgin Australia again?
Yes, as I find the airline to be excellent value for money. Plus, in my experience, earning points and status credits with Velocity that you can redeem or get status for seems to add up a lot quicker than other carriers.