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Virgin Australia review: Sydney to Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore)

It seems that “happy holidays” is more than just something to say at Christmas, with cheery staff and a quiet flight.

I really wanted to go away for a few days and treat myself to an extra-long weekend over Christmas. Having never been up to the Sunshine Coast, but constantly eyeing the destination’s stunning beaches and hinterland walking tracks, I decided this was where my next domestic holiday would be.

Knowing that all I needed to get Velocity silver status was two flight segments, I wanted to make sure I flew with Virgin on this trip.

Virgin Australia details

  • Route: Sydney to Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore), return
  • Duration: 1h 35m
  • Flight number(s): VA479, VA484
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800
  • Dates travelled: 22 December 2018; 25 December 2018
  • Class: Economy
  • Frequent flyer program: Velocity
  • Points earned: 2,220

Alex’s Virgin Australia review: ★★★★☆

  • Empty flight
  • Little touches on Christmas
  • Friendly staff
  • Price

What did I like?

  • Empty return flight: Likely because it was Christmas, it seemed like there were only about 15-20 people on the entire flight with most people having their own row. If only this could happen on long-haul flights!
  • Christmas snack: Sometimes it’s the little things. We were served the usual Virgin Australia drink-and-snack combo, but a few minutes after the initial food service, flight attendants came around again and served a Christmas tree-shaped gingerbread cookie to each passenger.
  • Friendly staff: I’m not sure if everyone was just in the holiday spirit, but the staff on my return flight were some of the smiliest and friendliest I’ve come across on any airline.
  • Quickly reached status: With many partner airlines, or just sheer luck, I quickly earned the 250 status credits needed to get silver status and these two segments were able to seal the deal for me.

What didn’t I like?

  • Few departure options: Flying to a small airport does often mean limited options when it comes to flight times. I like making the most of my travel days, so I was disappointed that the latest Virgin flight available from Maroochydore back to Sydney was only at 4:45pm.
  • Price: For such a short flight, I don’t think the $400 fare was justified. That said, the only cheaper option was only about $50 less and I admittedly did want to get status.

Would I use Virgin Australia again?

Yes. The service was wonderful compared to my recent Tigerair experience and the little touches were much appreciated. Since I do want to retain my status with the airline, I will also be more likely to book with Virgin over another airline.

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