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Virgin Australia: Partnership with United to start 23 May 2022

Virgin Australia: Partnership with United to start 23 May 2022

Back in December last year, Virgin Australia announced that it was dumping Delta as its American partner, and getting into bed with United. But we didn’t then know when. Now we do. The relationship starts on 23 May.

Partnership agreement

This is basically a codeshare and loyalty agreement. The codeshare will allow loyalists of both airlines to book and travel pretty seamlessly on both airlines’ routes. On the loyalty front, frequent flyers (Virgin Velocity and United’s Mileage Plus) on both airlines will be able to earn and redeem points and status on the other airline and have their status mutually respected giving them access to lounges, priority check-in/boarding and additional checked baggage.

United and Virgin Australia

United maintains one of the largest footprints in Australia having maintained its flights from the USA throughout the pandemic. United currently operates daily flights between Los Angeles / San Francisco to Sydney. A Melbourne route and a Housten to Sydney route are expected to resume sometime in 2022,

a seat on an airplane
Delta One cabin

What’s happening to Delta?

The partnership agreement between Delta Airlines and Virgin Australia will overlap with the start of the agreement with United by about a month, officially ending on 12 June 2022. Virgin has lucked in with the new deal as United has a much bigger network than Delta.

It is rumoured that Delta is working on a partnership agreement with Rex airlines, formerly just a regional player and very much the junior partner in Australia, only recently having started a proto capital city to capital city network.

a white airplane flying in the sky
United Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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.

The partnership with United is a bit of a coup for Virgin, which once used to fly 777s to the east coast of the USA, prior to its administration and sale to Bain Capital. The United partnership makes Virgin Australia much more competitive in the USA market, and ready to compete with the Qantas OneWorld alliance with American Airlines. Delta probably has a better reputation for service and comfort, but United definitely has a superior network.

Good one Virgin!

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