Rosie Herdman flies aboard Virgin Australia flight VA169 from Melbourne to Auckland.

The plane:


Class: Economy X.


Price: An additional $59 on top of your flight fare.

Flight time: Around four hours.

My seat: I was in 6C. With Economy X, you get up to 40 per cent more leg room and benefits like priority check-in and boarding. As I'm tall, I did actually notice a massive difference with that extra leg room — being able to fully stretch my legs out in economy is not something I've experienced before.

You're also sitting right behind Business Class so when it comes time to disembark, you're not waiting around.

How full: To bursting.

Entertainment: Virgin Australia has an app that you can download to watch movies and TV shows on your own device. In Business Class, each seat is provided with a tablet to use for this, however in Economy you need to use your own. My phone battery was already quite low by the time I got on the flight, so I can see how this might be inconvenient if you were in the same position as me or didn't have a smartphone, but otherwise the app works well and Virgin offer inflight
Wi-Fi across their fleet.

The service: Friendly and competent despite the full flight.

Food and drink: The menu featured vegetarian lasagna, a chicken and bean salad and a beef stew. I had the third option, which was neither the best nor the worst plane fare I've eaten. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks were on offer, and in Economy everyone gets one complimentary drink. I happened to have an extremely sore stomach before the food was served so my experience of the food was probably marred by this, but a ginger ale was a welcome beverage.


The toilets: Fairly standard, cosy but clean.

Luggage: Every Virgin Australia Economy Class fare has a baggage allowance of 23kg, which was more than enough for me.

The airport experience: Getting through Melbourne international airport was a breeze thanks to priority check-in. I situated myself in the Virgin Australia's lounge The House and was comfortable until they called my flight.

The bottom line: Economy X is an affordable way to make the experience of flying Economy more enjoyable — worth it for the extra legroom and up-front seating.