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Friday 19 October 2012

Aircraft Change For Virgin Australia Flight DJ830

Welcome to my trip report on Virgin Australia's DJ830 Sydney-Melbourne routing!


I knew that DJ was flying the A330-200 on this route and at that time of booking, this flight was operated by A330-200. Looking at the schedule flights at that point, 80% of the time was operated by A330. I decided to go ahead and make a booking. The chances of getting aircraft replaced weren't really in my mind at that time. As a big fan of the Airbus A330, to fly on one was a no-brainer, adding on the fact that its a new carrier and a possibility of a new cabin.

I paid about S$109 for the one-way ticket including luggage, the website itself works well and booking was done within minutes.

After that, it was just counting down the days. As the day came closer, I started getting worried. Looking at the history of flights, it didn't look good. The past few days before my flight, the Boeing 737-800 was operated and I did another dummy booking check on my flight, true enough, aircraft had been changed to the common Boeing 737-800.

The day before the flight, I did a check-in. The seating configuration was in 3-3 and no prize for guessing what aircraft is that. The only thing that I hoped for was one of the newest 737 with Boeing Sky Interior. That would be a great consolation for me.

Since I have already posted photos of SYD's domestic terminal, I will leave them out in this report.

On the day itself, I met up with a friend for some breakfast, not too far from the airport. It was a wrench to be leaving Sydney, a great city to hang out in! If I was able to take a longer leave, I would definitely stay longer!  After a sumptuous breakfast, he sent me to the airport where I did some plane spotting before departure. This time around, there was no delay and boarding was on time. Just before that, my name was announced and I made my way to the counter. A possible upgrade? Nah, that didn't happen, it was my seat that got changed from 21A to 23K. I didn't mind at all, in fact, it was better because I was able to take better shots (no back-lit).

My ride: VH-YIO 

Checking the registration of this aircraft on my iPhone, I was absolutely delighted that this was one of the newest aircraft in its fleet. At that point in time, the aircraft was almost a month's old. That means one thing, it has to be one of the 737NGs with the Boeing Sky Interior. 

Once boarding was announced, I was one of the first to make my way down the stairs, along the tarmac and onto the aircraft through the rear door. Had a great view of the aircraft and was tempted to photograph it, but didn't because of the security guys around the aeroplane. It was a great day for photography. 

Entering the aircraft, I was greeted with the Boeing Sky Interior (BSI) which pleased my eyes almost immediately. Finally, I had gotten one after many attempts. 'VH-YIO' goes into my record for being the first 737-800 BSI ride. The aircraft smelt new and it was clean. This 'BSI' certainly improves the atmosphere on board, making it a more enjoyable ride for everyone. 

Carrier: Virgin Australia
Flight number: 830
Date: 6th September
Routing: SYD-MEL
Seat number: 21A changed to 23K
Aircraft type: Airbus A330-200 (Equipment change to Boeing 737-800)
My first Boeing Sky Interior Boeing 737-800 ride
Departure Gate: 34
Engine type: 2X CFMI CFM56-7B26
My 7th ride on this aircraft type and the 5th airline to have flown on.
1st time on VH-YIO
Line number: 4132
Plane delivered: 23rd July 2012
Configuration: C8Y168
Registration: VH-YIO
FL: 400
Flight Duration: 1 hour 15 mins
Scheduled departure time: 1000
Actual departure time: 1020
Scheduled arrival time: 1115
Actual arrival time: 1150
Load factor for Y class: 50%
Departure runway: 34R
Arrival runway: 34

Load on this flight was pretty low, as there were many rows empty and the 2 seats beside mine remained vacant which means lots of legroom space. 

Aircraft was pushed back on time and we had a long taxi to runway 34R for a quick departure. Took off was quite bumpy and the first officer who was making a welcome speech while climbing had to stop abruptly due to the violent shakes we were going through. This was due to the gusty wind around that area, but not long after, turbulence was over and the seatbelt sign was turned off, that means, it was time for some photography session.

                                            Photos of the cabin

Tight seat-pitch

                              A definite improvement over the old cabin 

            The mood lighting certainly enhances the comfort of the passengers.  

I became a fan of the Boeing Sky Interior after this flight.

I am impressed with the interior and prefer flying in this cabin than the older 737 cabins. The mood lighting certainly helps to make the flight a more comfortable one. All credits to Boeing and the designers. 

In-flight service

I was once again unimpressed with one of the crew. I went to the gallery with my empty cup to dispose, but instead of being helpful, her facial expression showed me that she wanted me to get out of her way. The rudest staff among the 3 flights I had, I should have written down her name and sent in a complaint. Fortunately, her colleagues were nicer than her. One of them saw what happened, came to my rescue. 

In-flight experience

The take-off at Sydney and landing at Melbourne were pretty bumpy due to the gusty wind but cruising was smooth. Complimentary water or coffee/tea was served and of course, if you want to grab a bite or drink other beverages, you have to pay. It makes you wonder whether you are flying on a Low-Cost Carrier. 

Window shot photos


Virgin Australia is certainly a decent airline with good in-flight product and service. The on-ground and In-flight crew were generally good and if I were to fly on Australia's domestic flights, I will not hesitate to fly with this airline. The aircraft was well maintained and clean, so no complaint about that. Some of the crew were pretty rude and disinterested, they should be reminded of their roles in this industry. Not interested, please pack off and look for another job. 

I was disappointed not to get the airline's A330-200, perhaps in the near future, flying on a longer sector like PER-SYD or PER-MEL might get me a higher chance to do so. 

My ratings 

Internet website: 7/10

Mobile website: 5/10
On ground service: 8/10
In-flight service: 7/10
seat comfort: 7/10
Punctuality: 10/10
Cabin ambience: 10/10
Aircraft Cleanliness: 10/10
Overall rating: 64/80

Thank you for reading my trip report.

Best Regards,

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