Australia Trip Report: United, Virgin Australia, Hilton and Radisson Blu

At this time last year, I was in Australia for a couple of weeks and reviewed each portion of my trip here on Frequently Flying (or CNBC’s Road Warrior), including my United Airlines LAX-Sydney flight, a sponsored trip on Virgin Australia between Sydney and Perth, two Hiltons, and the Radisson Blu Sydney.

Here’s a recap of each review along with links to the original posts in case you missed one of them the first time around. I’m selfishly reminiscing about the trip this Sunday morning. 😉

  1. Flight Review: United Airlines BusinessFirst Los Angeles to Sydney: The crew on my flight to Sydney was the best I’ve experienced in business class on United in years. I had upper deck window seat 14K, the best in-flight pork chop ever and made it from the aircraft door to the Kingsford Smith train station in less than 20 minutes.

    a seat in an airplane

    United Airlines BusinessFirst seat 14K

  2. Lounge Review: Virgin Australia’s Domestic Lounge at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport: Access was included with my business class ticket and I found this lounge to be spacious with decent food and beverage choices – a definite step up from any domestic U.S. airline offering. I believe it has since been remodeled.

    a lobby with a reception desk and a couple of people

    Virgin Australia domestic lounge Sydney

  3. Flight Review: Virgin Australia Business Class Sydney to Perth: Yes, it was a sponsored ticket, but it was an impeccable experience with fantastic service and food. I flew an “old” Airbus A330 with Virgin’s former incarnation of domestic business class.

    a row of seats in an airplane

    Virgin Australia domestic business class (old version)

  4. Hotel Review: Parmelia Hilton Perth: This property is showing its age and lacks a lounge, though I received an upgrade to a huge suite as a Diamond member. By the way… hotels in Perth tend to be ultra expensive, even in winter.

    a living room with couches and a table

    Suite at the Parmelia Hilton Perth

  5. Lounge Review: Virgin Australia’s Domestic Lounge in Perth: While not as glamorous as Sydney’s lounge, it was comfortable and adequate (though lacked any sort of view).

    a room with tables and chairs

    Virgin Australia’s domestic lounge in Perth

  6. Flight Review: Virgin Australia Business Class Perth to Sydney: I had the same fantastic crew as the outbound flight on my return to Sydney, and flew on a “new” Airbus A330 with Virgin’s current version of domestic business class.

    a plane with seats and windows

    Virgin Australia domestic A330 business class

  7. Hotel Review: Hilton Sydney: This was my first stay back at the Hilton Sydney in nearly 10 years, and the rooms and facilities had been significantly upgraded. I was upgraded to an Executive floor room with lounge access.

    a bedroom with a bed and a television

    Executive room at the Hilton Sydney

  8. Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney: As was the case with other Radisson Blu properties I’ve stayed at, this one didn’t disappoint. I was upgraded to a uniquely shaped and very spacious corner room as a Club Carlson Gold elite.

    a bedroom with a bed and a chair

    Radisson Blu Sydney

  9. A Tale of Obsessive Flight Tracking Leading to Proactive Rebooking: I neglected to publish a review of my flight back to LAX on United (which was mediocre), though I posted a story of how I quickly snagged an upgrade seat after my original flight canceled.
  10. Video of My Takeoff from Sydney: It was a stunningly gorgeous day in Sydney the day I departed and I captured the takeoff on video with fantastic views of the city and harbo(u)r.

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.


  1. I’m glad you liked the Radisson Blu Sydney. My wife and I are going to stay a couple of nights there next year. Having the Club Carlson Visa is awesome because it made our 2nd night free! I hope we get upgraded as well.

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