Virgin Australia begins international codeshare flights with Singapore Airlines today, beginning with flights to Singapore, China and South Africa.
Virgin Australia travellers can now book and travel on Singapore Airline flights (which will also carry their own 'VA' flight number in addition to the conventional SQ code) from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide through to Singapore, and onwards to Shanghai and Beijing.
You can also fly to London via Singapore from Perth, but none of the other capital cities.
South African destinations Cape Town and Johannesburg will be available to book from tomorrow, for travel from 13 April 2012.
Virgin Australia says that over the next few months it will start codeshare flights "to other destinations on the Singapore Airlines international network including India, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia."
Virgin commenced codesharing its domestic flights with Singapore Airlines last month.
“As a result of our new alliance, Virgin Australia guests will be able to travel from all over Australia to destinations throughout Asia and beyond on a single ticket" says Merren McArthur, Virgin Australia Group Executive of Alliances, Network and Yield.
To kick off the codeshare, Virgin Australia will offer special economy return fares from tomorrow starting at $914 for Adelaide-Singapore, along with $1,178 Sydney-Beijing and $2,131 Melbourne-Johannesburg.
Don't forget that on the domestic front Virgin Australia is making sweeping changes to luggage allowances and charges: we've got all the details here.
Velocity points & status
Travellers on the Singapore Airlines services will be able to earn Velocity points and status credits, beginning at 1 Velocity point per mile in economy. Allowances in premium cabins are less than you'd expect given the extra money you pay, however: only 1.25 Velocity points for business class, 1.5 for first class and 1.6 for the swish Singapore Airlines suites.
Status credits on a Sydney-Singapore flight range from 30 credits in discount economy to 120 credits in business and first class.
However, Virgin Australia cautions that some ticket booking classes – specifically 'promo fares' T, V and Q – "are ineligible for status credits" on an SQ flight. So, as always, you can't rely on the cheapest discount fares to help boost your frequent flyer balance.
Lounge access at Singapore Changi and beyond
Another need-to-know in the Virgin/Singapore alliance are the rules regarding lounge access: only passengers travelling in Business Class or First Class on a Singapore Airlines-operated flight are allowed entry to SQ's swanky SilverKris Lounge at Singapore's Changi Airport.
If you're a Gold or Platinum member of Virgin Australia Velocity but travelling in SQ economy your access is restricted to SQ’s KrisFlyer Gold Lounge (including the recently-renovated one in Changi T2 which doesn’t even have toilets, let alone showers).
At other airports worldwide, Velocity Gold and Platinum cardholders can get into any of SQ’s SilverKris Lounges around the world when flying with Singapore Airlines, regardless of ticket class – provided it’s a Singapore Airlines-owned and operated lounge.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.