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.
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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,
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.
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!