V Australia, for those of you who don't know, is one of the Australian brands of the Virgin airline international superempire. Virgin Atlantic out of the UK, Virgin Blue in Australia, Pacific Blue in the Pacific Islands, Virgin America...and now V Australia, the long-haul brand.
In February-March, V Oz will start flying from LAX to Sydney and Brisbane. But a quick flick through their booking site shows their sale fares are few and far between. So here's how I'd get to Australia from the States -- and I know that Mark and my friend Anna have actually done this, so it's definitely feasible.
The basic problem with flying at reasonable prices from .us to .au is two-fold. First, that the LAX-Sydney route doesn't have a great deal of competition on it, and it's expensive. Second, oh my God, do not make me sit on Qantas or United for fourteen hours, and that's the direct flight, not the cheaper ones that involve changing in Fiji or New Zealand.
The key to saving money -- and your desire to ever get on a damn plane again -- is the Honolulu Bounce: flying through Honolulu rather than LAX. That's basically it. Get yourself from your home airport to HNL, then pick up Jetstar, the low-cost airline from Qantas, from HNL to wherever you want to go in Oz. Especially nifty for those of us with US frequent flier miles is that Hawai'i is often a pretty good deal on a reward ticket, and you can be flexible: what's not to like about a couple of extra days in Hawai'i?
Now, with V Aus in the picture, the cost rationale for a return SYD-LAX trip via HNL may be reduced. But the opportunity for open-jaw flights -- as you can see above, Jetstar flies to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney from Honolulu -- and an epic trip across Australia clinches the Honolulu Bounce for me. I'm literally dreaming about driving from Sydney to Adelaide along the coast road, then heading north to Alice Springs and Cairns before heading back to Brisbane via my friend Miriam in Noosa Heads. What a trip that would be, I think, as I sit here at Land's End with the foghorn on the Longships Lighthouse going.
So there you have it: the Honolulu Bounce. Sounds like a cocktail. What's in it? Australian fizz and pineapple juice over chilled maraschino cherries, I think, although I'm happy to entertain alternative possibilities. (It's better than the Qantas Slog, which is probably bad red wine in a plastic cup, or the United Squeeze, which is just OJ.)