Light a Virgin – touches Basic Economy ‘light’ fares for the very first time
OK, is this Virgin Australia’s own little race to the bottom? An attempt to hover between a low-cost and full-service international carrier?
For International Economy long-haul there are now four categories of fare:
Virgin Australia has introduced on its long-haul international flights – Economy Light fares (Fare Class ‘M’), which are a basic economy ticket that cannot be:
- changed (no refunds either)
- cancelled (100% loss of fare)
- upgraded (can add purchase Economy X for a fee at check-in)
- no advanced seat selection
- less checked baggage (1 piece up to 23kg)
- fewer status credits and points (.25 points/mile – status credits are about 25% to 30% less than on Getaway fares)
- Available for flights from Australia to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the USA
Just remember that you need to be traveling on Virgin Australia metal to get these airfares.
When can you buy and when can you fly?
These new Light Economy fares are on sale now for flights commencing 23 April 2020.
Why this new fare class
Delta Airlines – a Virgin joint venture partner already has a ‘Basic Economy’ fare category on domestic and international routes, which is very similar, so I presume this is an alignment tactic.
How much cheaper?
Well, not much. In comparison to the standard Getaway fare which gives you double the points of the new ‘Light’ category, and you get seat allocation, and double the check-in luggage.
- Hong Kong – AU$30 one way
- Tokyo – AU$30 one way
- Los Angeles – AU$50 one way
I think this is a bad move for Virgin Australia, although I do understand the need for aligning fare prices and conditions with joint venture partner Delta. I don’t think they will really sell any more tickets, and they are going to cause themselves a great deal of aggravation.
Typically, the less well-travelled passenger will go for these airfares, without realising the very strict conditions. These passengers will also assume they have all the rights of a full-fare paying passenger on a full-service airline, and will be outraged when they can’t take that extra piece of luggage, or want to move dates, and realise they can’t, or want to cancel the trip and find out they have done their money.
I hope Virgin Australia will be giving their phone and counter sales staff PTSD avoidance training.
If you buy one of these fares, insure, insure and finally insure.