Annemarie de Bruin flies on Virgin Australia's inaugural service from Auckland to Newcastle, NSW.

The plane:

737-800, Virgin Australia. It's a seasonal service and was timed for Kiwi petrolheads to head to the Newcastle 500.

Class: Business.


Price: One way in Business from $589.

Flight time: The flight was 3hr 30m — an easy ride over the Tasman to New South Wales.

On time: A dust storm meant the flight was delayed around two hours. We eventually got into the air, but found bush fires had affected the area around Newcastle International Airport — we could see the smoky haze as we touched down.

My seat: 2A, I counted around eight seats in business class at the front of the plane.More legroom than I am used to as an Economy flier.

Fellow passengers: Other journos or travel agents, trying out the new flight, with some keen V8s fans in the mix.

How full: Business Class seemed reasonably full as did the rest of the plane.

Entertainment: You could watch movies and TV shows on a Samsung tablet in BusinessClass. Economy passengers needed to bring their own device. Good range of movies.

The service: Excellent, bearing in mind it was a novelty to me as I've never been in Business Class. Food and drink: Drinks were regularly served and I stuck to the pre-takeoff bubbly. There were a range of dishes provided by top Aussie chef Luke Mangan.


And real metal cutlery — a new in-flight experience!

The toilets: One at the front of the section, which was clean and adequate.

Luggage: I took a small bag as carry-on as I like to travel light, but there was an allowance for 23kg checked-in Economy, 32kg Business.

The airport experience: As the flight was delayed I made myself at home in my "familiar surroundings" of Auckland Airport. It's all predictable there and the terminal was not overcrowded. I had a priority check-in as well as a pass to get through the screening faster, so this was a bonus.

The bottom line: Business Class on Virgin is a good service. I enjoyed the new experience.

Despite the delays, everything went smoothly.