The college football season included a special game at the beginning of the season. The game was scheduled to take place in Sydney Australia rather than the US. Apparently, the NCAA is trying to increase interest in the sport in other countries and hosting a game in Australia was part of the plan. One of the teams was the Cal Bears. To get to Australia and back they chartered a jet for the team and support personnel. Given the number of people involved, it was cheaper than flying commercially.
They chartered a jet from Virgin Australia in each direction. The outbound leg was a jet that had made the LAX flight. Instead of flying the return, it positioned to SFO for the outbound flight. They then repeated the process in reverse after the game. I missed the departure rotation but I was there for the return journey. I may have shot Virgin Australia jets before but this was a bit different since they don’t normally appear at SFO. (Cal also has a sponsorship deal with Oakland so this was out of the way for them too!)
The scheduling of flights from Australia and New Zealand to the west coast of the US is not ideal for getting maximum utilization from your aircraft. There is a long time between the arrivals and the most desirable time for departing on the return journey. Consequently, there are a lot of jets that spend a good portion of the day sitting at LAX. Rather than waste valuable gate space, these jets are disembarked and then towed to remote stands to await the time when the evening flights will be readied.
There is a large parking area to the west end of LAX where these jets are kept. You will see Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand aircraft all parked up here in the middle of the day. We were able to make a short detour from our normal operating area to the west end of the airport when ATC was able which meant we could get a good view of the jets parked up here. One of the Qantas jets was carrying special markings for the Wallabies rugby team. Later in the day they will have started the return trek across the Pacific.