Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier airline, is also one of the oldest airlines in the world. Virgin Australia began as a low cost option, but has since upgraded to a full service airline with all of the accompanying amenities and perks.
Qantas and Virgin Australia, Australia’s two largest air carriers.
Having flown both Qantas Economy and Virgin Australia, I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of each. We’ll be comparing all the basic services of these airlines, including pricing, seating and comfort, service, food and drinks, and entertainment.
From our findings on the dates we searched, it appears that economy is cheaper on Virgin Australia. However, both airlines have frequent sales so watch out – this could easily change. I’m going to compare some pricing on routes departing September 17th 2018 to September 21th 2018:
Sydney to LAX return
Qantas: AU$947/US$699. Virgin Australia AU$793/US$585.
Sydney to Perth
Qantas: AU$382/US$282. Virgin Australia AU$398/US$294.
Sydney to Aukland
Qantas: AU$398/US$294. Virgin Australia AU$375/US$277.
Sydney to Hong Kong
Qantas: AU$421/US$311. Virgin Australia AU$479/US$354.
Sydney to Melbourne
Qantas: AU$202/US$149. Virgin Australia AU$170/US$125.
Sydney to Gold Coast
Qantas: AU$199/US$147. Virgin Australia AU$166/US$123.
Sydney to Denpasar, Bali
Qantas: AU$679/US$514. Virgin Australia AU$598/US$441.
*Prices as of July 5th 2018.
As you can see from the above results for the dates searched, Virgin Australia is better when it comes to economy pricing. As Qantas is one of the founding members of the Oneworld Alliance, it does have more partner offerings, as well as more actual uses for your frequent flyer points. Although, Virgin Australia is partners with several large carriers such as Delta, Singapore Airlines, and Air Canada.
Qantas Economy Seating
Pitch: 31 inches
Width: 17.5 inches
Virgin Australia (domestic):
Pitch: 31 inches
Width: 17 inches
Virgin Australia (international):
Pitch: 32 inch legroom
Width: 18.5 inch seat width
As you can see, these two airlines are close in this department in terms of domestic flights, but Virgin Australia steps up the game for international travel. Both airlines do what they can to make you as comfortable as possible for budget prices. They also both provide USB ports at each seat on international flights and for most domestic flights. Virgin Australia maintains the sleek and colorful styling that all Virgin branded airlines are known for. The red upholstery, soft glow, and mood lighting make even a trip in economy feel somewhat indulgent.
Virgin Australia Economy
Food and Drink
Virgin Australia has complimentary food and a selection of beverages on all domestic flights, complimentary meals are provided on selected short-haul international. On all flights you can purchase food and drinks from a menu of nibbles, snacks, and sandwiches.
In-flight food and drinks are all-inclusive on Virgin Australia’s international long haul flights. Meals and beverages are served throughout the flight, and snacks are available from our onboard snack kiosk. Virgin Australia offers a wide selection of meal choices for your international long haul flight for people with special dietary requirements. You can view their special meals page here and also find information on how to book a meal.
For domestic flights on Qantas, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered. Many are served hot and come in a disposable box. Qantas offers a welcome drink upon boarding as well as in-flight snacks throughout the flight. Their meal service focuses on meals being delivered and cleared quickly on international flights. They have a Menu Select portal on their website so that customers in Australia can choose the meals up to twelve hours before departure.
Select your Qantas lunch ahead of time.
Entertainment and Wi-Fi
Virgin Australia is currently the only Australian airline flying internationally with onboard WiFi, and a growing number of domestic destinations offer WiFi, too. Virgin Australia offers complimentary in-flight entertainment on all domestic and international services. With hundreds of hours of movies, TV shows, music and more, you can find just about anything you want to keep you entertained.
Virgin Australia in-flight entertainment.
The Qantas Entertainment App can be used to stream Qantas Entertainment to your own device on all domestic flights, except those fitted with seat-back screens or with a Qantas provided iPad. This is a new feature that many airlines are moving toward so you can access their entertainment through your own device.
Should I fly with Qantas Airways or Virgin Australia?
This is a close call but, Qantas wins out.
The price of the flights are relatively close, and the service and in-flight experience do not differ greatly.
However, Qantas is a leader in embracing the use of personal devices on board which makes transitioning between work and entertainment a breeze on longer flights. Plus, Qantas’ wide alliance of Oneworld partners makes using your frequent flyer miles for trips and upgrades on a larger number of airlines rather appealing.
This article originally appeared on Simpleflying.com.