The inaugural Virgin Australia Delight Flight from Perth flight was one among 5 flights that flew passengers into Sydney for the town’s annual Mardi Gras and the continent’s first World Delight. The service supplied over 1,000 Delight Flight seats this 12 months, greater than double the variety of providers in comparison with 2022.
The check-in course of was easy on-line, and I used to be supplied the choice of a cell or printed boarding go. Passengers checking in on-line with out baggage may proceed on to the gate.
The boarding course of
I arrived at Gate 42B an hour earlier than my scheduled departure time. Following the sounds of disco music, I discovered the gate behind a pink carpet and rainbow archways studying “Virgin Atlantic.” As soon as the employees scanned my boarding go, I used to be handed a wristband for the official Delight Flights afterparty at The Beresford, uniting passengers from all 5 departing areas and the United Airways flight from California.
Upon entering into the gate space, I used to be instantly handed a mimosa and reassured they had been bottomless. Virgin employees got here round with trays of pastries and canapes whereas visitors posed on the pink carpet with the flight crew and entertainers.
Picture: Jonathan Hendry | Easy Flying
A reside DJ saved the vibe whereas the occasion’s sponsors handed out free presents to departing passengers. A trolley got here round with Aussiebum speedos and t-shirts, and a distillery had a spinning wheel for a collection of prizes. Virgin employees got here round with trays, proactively providing snacks and mimosas.
Visitors chatted about their pleasure for the flight and brazenly puzzled if Kylie would carry out her little sister, fellow Australian famous person Dannii Minogue, for a shock efficiency that night. Spoiler Alert: she did!
A number of visitors clearly had additionally unknowingly booked the Delight Flight to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Worldwide Airport. When requested their ideas on the occasion, a businesswoman from Perth swayed alongside to the music and stated she was principally blissful for the free drinks earlier than the transcontinental flight. The flight crew started the boarding course of, and all of the passengers had been handed a water bottle and snack bag with a sandwich as they boarded the plane.
The onboard expertise
The flight was fairly full, and passengers had been greeted with a small reward bag on every seat with Quay sun shades and a watch masks for the five-hour flight. The captain got here on and gave a heat introduction to the flight. The flight quantity, VA2017, was a one-off homage to the 12 months same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia. All of the Delight Flight providers can be operated fully by LGBTQIA+ pilots, crew, and allies.
This Delight Flight from Perth Airport joined Adelaide as new origins for the flights certain for Sydney for the festivities. The airline pledged to donate $30 from every ticket to Minus18, a charity supporting queer youth. Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka highlighted their pleasure for the occasion and expressed her pleasure to broaden the flights to much more locations:
“At Virgin Australia we pleasure ourselves on making a enjoyable, genuine and inclusive office and it’s extremely essential that we use our voice to champion the LGBTQIA+ group within the locations we reside, work and fly.
“Annually since our maiden Delight Flight in 2021, we’ve doubled Delight Flight providers to Sydney, and 2023 can be no totally different – we’re excited to as soon as once more be flying much more visitors in ‘Delight fashion’ to Australia’s largest homosexual and lesbian celebration in February.
Australian legend and former AFL participant Dani Laidley and her accomplice Donna Leckie had been among the many visitors on the inaugural flight from Western Australia.
The flight expertise
The captain warned us that reasonable turbulence was anticipated on the flight. After the seatbelt gentle was turned off, the crew instantly got here by with a complimentary drink service for all passengers. The service was adopted by a efficiency from the Virgin crew, who additionally occurred to be drag queens. The present’s star got here down the aisle perched on a beverage cart, singing alongside to Dolly Parton’s hit single 9 to five.
Picture: Virgin Australia
The plane that carried the full of life bunch was a Boeing 737-800 registered VH-YIG. Virgin Australia first ordered the plane on June twenty second, 2007. The plane made its first flight virtually 5 years later, on January 2nd, 2012, earlier than being delivered to the airline the next month.
Since coming into energetic operations, the airplane has solely flown for Virgin Australia. The plane seats 138 passengers in economic system, 30 within the economic system plus part, and eight in enterprise class.
Different flights from world wide
The inaugural Perth flight was one among a number of new hyperlinks for the airline. Along with the beforehand talked about Adelaide Airport, United Airways flew its first-ever Delight Flight from San Francisco to Sydney. The hyperlink was created in partnership with Virgin Australia and departed on Wednesday, February twenty second, bearing the flight quantity UA863/VA8005. All 5 providers touched down in Sydney on Friday, the twenty fourth.
In a token to mark historical past for the LGBTQIA+ group, the Virgin Australia flight numbers for 2023 Delight Flight providers all represented vital dates for the group:
- VA 2000 Brisbane > Sydney: The 12 months 2000 marked the primary World Delight occasion.
- VA 1978 Melbourne > Sydney: In 1978, Sydney hosted its first Mardi Gras Parade.
- VA 1975 Adelaide > Sydney: 1975 was the 12 months South Australia turned the primary Australian state to decriminalize male homosexuality.
- VA 2017 Perth > Sydney: 2017 marked the 12 months same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia.
As in earlier years, $30 AUD ($20) from every home Delight Flight ticket sale can be donated to Minus18, an Australian charity enhancing the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth. Upon touchdown in Sydney, all of the passengers had been entitled to attend the Touchdown Get together at iconic LGBTQI+ venue The Beresford, the place they had been handled to a efficiency by popstar Samantha Jade.
The next morning, Virgin Australia hosted a Delight Flight Restoration Brunch on the Ovolo Lodge with a plant-based menu that includes Callebaut’s new plant-based M!lk chocolate fountain. The next Mardi Gras parade celebrated its forty fifth anniversary and featured Anthony Albanese, the primary sitting Prime Minister to stroll within the parade.
Would you hop on one among Virgin Australia’s pleasure flights? Tell us within the feedback.