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Virgin Australia: Thought that was economy? This is ‘seat only’ economy

Virgin Australia: Thought that was economy? This is ‘seat only’ economy

Virgin said at its relaunch under new ownership, after its period of administration that it would pursue a ‘mid-market’ strategy to distinguish itself from the Jetstar ‘budget’ approach and the Qantas ‘full-service’ approach.

Today’s launch of a new economy fare structure gives us a ‘budget’ option, adding to their current Economy, Economy X and Business Class options. The new Economy fare categories in increasing benefit order are:

  • Economy Lite – ‘seat only’ – no check in luggage, no seat selection – available from 20 September 2021 – only online
  • Economy Choice – 23 kg Luggage and seat selection + bonus points and status credits and feeless booking change up to 14 days before flight
  • Economy Flex – 23 kg Luggage and seat selection

The upside is that you earn frequent flyer points and status credits on all categories of fares.

Of course, this is presented as giving more choice to customers (travel ‘their way’) and to bring their structure into line with most European and USA carriers, because its important to be the same as other domestic airlines on the other side of the world!

a reception desk in a building
Virgin Australia new Adelaide Lounge

You may save money on the Lite fares too. The starting price is apparently AU$59 – say on the SYD-MEL route, however, I couldn’t find an example. Lowest I could find was in November for the next catagory up ‘choice’. Maybe they haven’t loaded the new lite fares into the system.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

They need to sort out their price structure given that a Flex Fare – with no immediately apparent benefit over a Choice Fare (except refund on cancelation) is the same price as business class.

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

This is a confusing if minor change that, arguably does give some more choice. On Economy Lite, you still get 7 kg of onboard luggage, so not enough for most peoples overnight needs, but plenty good enough for a day trip. That would appeal to business travellers, I suppose, but wouldn’t they want seat choice?

With very few people flying at the moment while most of the eastern seaboard is in lockdown, it’s a change of little consequence.

Oh, and just remember at the moment Virgin Australia has a blanket ‘unlimited booking flexibility’ – that is you can change your flight without fee penalty, through until 28 February 2021.

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