Aviation

Virgin Australia announces new routes, hosts first mid-air wedding

Virgin Australia is strengthening its domestic network and growing capacity in the leisure market, introducing two new routes and expanded frequencies over the Easter holidays.

New direct services between Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne and Ballina (Byron Bay) will initially operate from 29 March 2021 until 25 April 2021, with lead-in economy fares available from $129 one way.

Operated by a Boeing 737 aircraft, the new direct services will add more than 13,000 seats across 37 return flights to the airline’s network. Virgin said it expects to extend the flights beyond the Easter period, subject to easing border restrictions.

The launch of Virgin’s new direct services between Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast this Easter coincide with the unveiling of its new-look Adelaide Lounge, which will officially open its doors on Tuesday.

The airline will also expand frequencies across the Easter holiday period to Cairns, Hamilton Island, the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine), the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Ballina (Byron Bay), Launceston, Hobart, Broome, and Kununurra.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff welcomed Virgin’s new services, saying it was good news not only for the airport, but for the entire domestic network.

“Expanding services to meet pent-up travel demand and ever-increasing consumer confidence is a positive sign that we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

And, after operating its maiden ‘Pride Flight’ just last week, Virgin achieved another first yesterday by playing host to a Melbourne couple’s wedding during a flight from the Victorian capital to Sydney.

Stunned passengers on board flight VA841 looked on as Elaine Tiong walked down the aircraft aisle to now-husband Luke Serdar wearing a striking white ensemble, before Aussie celebrity Tottie Goldsmith solemnised the nuptials, with the couple officially tying the knot at 40,000 feet as the aircraft flew over Canberra in the ACT.

Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall
Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall

As part of the onboard celebrations, Virgin cabin crew gave each passenger a buttermilk biscuit wedding favour in the shape of a love heart by Memory Lane Cookies.

Hailing from Prahran in Melbourne’s inner-eastern suburbs, Tiong (a 35-year-old stylist) and Serdar (a 36-year-old electrician) said they were looking for an unconventional wedding without the fuss.

“We actually had planned to marry on board a Virgin Australia flight on Valentine’s Day, but we had to postpone when the Victorian lockdown came into play just 24 hours before the big day,” Serdar said.

“So, after a false start, we couldn’t be happier to finally tie the knot.”

Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall
Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall

Tiong said: “I’m 17 weeks’ pregnant and we just decided we didn’t want any fuss, and here we are marrying on board a flight in front of 150 complete strangers.

“The truth is, I was a wedding planner for many years, and after organising hundreds of weddings, I wanted something different for us.

“This is always what I had dreamed of – doing something random and completely out of the box. After friends suggested I marry on a flight – Luke loves travel and planes – I couldn’t think of a more perfect way for us to say ‘I do’, and here we are.”

As a result of strict COVID-19 regulations, the couple first kissed as husband and wife upon disembarkation of the aircraft in Sydney, where they were finally able to remove their face masks.

Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall
Image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall

Featured image source: Virgin Australia/Carly Ravenhall

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