Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic eye seamless Australia-London travel

Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic eye seamless Australia-London travel

Virgin Australia and its British counterpart Virgin Atlantic plan to offer a 'unique Virgin experience' for travellers on the popular Australia-London route.

From a local perspective, the tie-up would see Virgin Australia passengers encouraged to join Virgin Atlantic's London-bound flights at either Los Angeles or Hong Kong – and could eventually lead to 'around the world with Virgin' bookings. 

The two airlines already operate a codeshare agreement which plants their respective VA and VS codes onto each other's Hong Kong and Los Angeles flights, along with an reciprocal frequent flyer arrangement.

However, a deeper partnership – granted interim authorisation this week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – will allow the airlines to work more closely together on joint pricing, scheduling and marketing, as well as 'product alignment' and joint pitching for corporate contracts.

"We’re pleased that the ACCC has granted interim authorisation for a longer term cooperation agreement between Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic," a Virgin Australia spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

The spokesperson also said that travellers should expect "more competitive pricing on flights between Australia and the UK/Ireland via Hong Kong or LA and enhanced reciprocal frequent flyer arrangements, amongst other benefits."

"We’re looking forward to providing guests with a unique Virgin experience all the way to the UK/Ireland via Hong Kong or LA, with further details about the arrangement to be shared in the coming months."

How this will play out for business travellers

Both airlines will aim for 'a seamless customer experience' by standardising baggage entitlements, meals and seat selections across the board, and co-locate check-in, baggage collection and lounge services where possible – especially in Hong Kong, where Virgin Australia is exploring whether it can use the same lounge as Virgin Atlantic in the main terminal (which is currently the Plaza Premium First Lounge).

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity Points online would also be made possible under the new arrangement – a major improvement under the current system where Velocity members are required to phone up to check for reward seat availability on a flight-by-flight basis.

Also read: How to book Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity Points

Virgin Australia is toying with the idea of implementing a unique 'reciprocal points upgrade proposition', where travellers with healthy Velocity Points balances can also elect to upgrade their Virgin Atlantic legs to Upper Class, which is currently being refitted across the fleet.

Virgin Atlantic's new Airbus A350 Upper Class seat. The new seats for its Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s will be different yet again and should be unveiled in 2020.

Also read: Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350 Upper Class seat revealed

Virgin Atlantic has previously flown from London to Sydney via Hong Kong but pulled the plug on that route in 2014.

Current codeshare agreements mean passengers can book a journey from Australia to Hong Kong with Virgin Australia and onwards to Europe with Virgin Atlantic on the one booking, but the flight timings and different lounge access policies make it a particularly uninviting option for time-strapped business travellers.

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.
 

28 comments

  • dylanmalloch

    dylanmalloch

    5 Jul, 2019 12:42 pm

    This would be outstanding
    No member give thanks

  • azsha

    azsha

    5 Jul, 2019 12:48 pm

    Definitely exciting prospects. Very interested to see a true round the world virgin fare.
    No member give thanks

  • bagpuss

    bagpuss

    5 Jul, 2019 12:57 pm

    They have been available for years. Though I believe they are currently ticketed by VS 
    Member who gave thanks

    rwahlfeld

  • Dan Ho

    djtech

    5 Jul, 2019 01:39 pm

    They have been available on paid fares as a package. I remembered flight center doing a deal $999 for Virgin round the world to Hong Kong and London or LA and London.
    No member give thanks

  • whipper

    whipper

    5 Jul, 2019 01:29 pm

    Have already done an around the world on a Virgin Aus/Atlantic ticket (albeit a VS one). What Virgin Australia should be focusing on is improving their website + App, both are throwbacks from another era and are terrible. Literally takes weeks for points to be deposited and a number of the website pages never seem to load and the App constantly logs you out...
    No member give thanks

  • Adam T

    AT

    5 Jul, 2019 01:45 pm

    You've got to wonder why this joint VA/VS initiative hasn't been lobbied hard since VirginBlue became VA. It just makes complete sense to align the brands.
    No member give thanks

  • Dan Ho

    djtech

    5 Jul, 2019 03:23 pm

    Because Qantas has a partnership with Emirates especially on the London routes?
    No member give thanks

  • Dan

    DanV

    5 Jul, 2019 02:35 pm

    Another nail in the coffin for the VA/EY JV, or even VA/HX (HNA) due to their financial problems.

    I'll be tipping SRB asked DL (as half-owners/managers of VS and long time USA partner of VA) to get a closer relationship between VA/VS.

    DL could've declined SRB's request (as SRB is only a minority owner in VS/VA) but chose not to. Still putting DL in discussion for either one of the EY/HNA/SQ stakes in VA.

    Whatever DL instructs VS to do, VS follows.
    No member give thanks

  • S

    S

    5 Jul, 2019 02:55 pm

    Do you guys have any more information on the potential to upgrade VS flights with Velocity Points?
    That would be a fabulous perk if it was implemented!
    Members who gave thanks

    Samw, alan-aa1981

  • Brandon Loo

    Brandon Loo

    5 Jul, 2019 03:07 pm

    Sorry, all we know at this stage is they are looking to implement this only for the Australia-London route, on a reciprocal basis.
    No member give thanks

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    5 Jul, 2019 03:07 pm

    This will make the route to LHR via HKG absolutely outstanding (particularly with the VS lounge in LHR) and will also hopefully secure financial viability for VA's HKG flights. Looking forward to flying this route.
    Member who gave thanks

    goldcoastandrew

  • FrequentFlyer

    FrequentFlyer

    5 Jul, 2019 03:20 pm

    If Hong Kong Airlines goes belly up, this may be a saving grace for VA's HK routes.

    Wonder if this could see the HK Clubhouse Lounge make sense economically for VS again.

    Would love to see VA utilise the Clubhouse Lounge in both Hkg and LAX (once they move over the Delta terminals).
    Member who gave thanks

    Jgrae

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    5 Jul, 2019 03:27 pm

    Haven't been in there myself, but the lounge VS uses in HKG, the Plaza Premium First lounge, is meant to be excellent. So no need to fix what is currently not broken.
    No member give thanks

  • FrequentFlyer

    FrequentFlyer

    5 Jul, 2019 03:37 pm

    I've used the PP First Lounge a couple of times now before the VS leg. It's great but I still prefer the Clubhouse Lounge that closed a year or two ago. Might make better sense again if shared with VA.
    No member give thanks

  • moreardon

    moreardon

    5 Jul, 2019 03:47 pm

    WOW! EXCELLENT NEWS. Oh how I miss the Virgin Atlantic flights LHR to SYD. Shame they never offered "bar stool class" though, that is all I really need. Was on the last HKG SYD flight, what fun! The points required by both VA & VS though to book through flights are far more than SQ FC currently though as points calculated each leg so would hope for the BC points SYD to LHR & bookable online VS I'll be back instantly.
    No member give thanks

  • moreardon

    moreardon

    5 Jul, 2019 03:50 pm

    ALSO didn't realise Clubhouse had gone, wonderful retreat at busy HKG with Virgin Redheads comfortable lounges & great staff, hope they bring that back how ever good PP lounge may be.
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Davies

    Boeing-Tragic

    5 Jul, 2019 04:26 pm

    I did MEL-LAX-LHR and then LHR-HKG-MEL last October, VS Upper Class was GR8, but lounge access in LAX and HKG was a profound disappointment (compared to MEL and LHR). A good way to rack up Status Credits, but not sure if I'd come back via HKG next time (and not just because there's no bar on the flight from HKG to MEL).
    No member give thanks

  • Saab34

    Saab34

    5 Jul, 2019 04:53 pm

    Fix the layover and with all the claimed bells and whistles they will get my business.

    Virgin Econ X to HKG then PE to LHR would be a good value opportunity.

    Need BNE-HKG up and running
    No member give thanks

  • Dec1971

    declanr

    5 Jul, 2019 06:01 pm

    This is potentially great news. Would be a great win for VA mind you about time they had some good news! For those of us loyal to VA, at least domestically, the benefits of a seamless route through to London with all bells and whistles can only be positive. I just hope it actually happens. And bearing in mind VA's issues on potential alliance networks due to certain airlines and politics, I wonder why this has taken so long to come to fruition. This does have great potential.
    No member give thanks

  • David Hooker

    David H

    5 Jul, 2019 06:21 pm

    Potentially very good news although Virgin Atlantic may need to revisit their product. We've found the herringbone configuration in Upper Class to be narrow and uncomfortable particularly when comparing with Emirates' A380 offering. Price will be a consideration as well and I wonder if Virgin Atlantic might reinstate their complimentary chauffeur service in the UK. However their "Wing" at Heathrow is excellent as was the Lounge. Will also need to co-ordinate flight times at Hong Kong.
    No member give thanks

  • Nobleoz

    Nobleoz

    5 Jul, 2019 06:22 pm

    I recently flew MEL-HKG-LHR-LAX-MEL. It was wonderful - EXCEPT have to wait 3 hours before I could enter the Plaza Premium Lounge in HKG (because entry was not until 8 pm). Is it too hard for Virgin to leave 2 hours later from MEL?
    No member give thanks

  • Jonathan Madigan

    Cloud Surfer

    5 Jul, 2019 06:59 pm

    This is fantastic news! The last two years I have also flown the SYD-HKG-LAX (via JFK both times) route for great prices, albeit through Flight Centre. Fantastic products in my opinion, though the six hour layover between landing
    In HKG to departing is a bit annoying.

    I’m surprised this move hasn’t been made earlier though. I actually spoke with the Velocity Frequen Flyer team a few weeks ago to voice my disdain over having to email a photograph of my VS boarding pass to claim points when they haven’t been attributed to my account. Yes, that may seem precious, however in this day and age it should all be confirmed through their systems. I mean I don’t know how many keep their boarding passes after their flights. Also, they are the same brand, surely their systems could line up much better. Hopefully this news brings a much more seamless experience as advertised!
    No member give thanks

  • Jarrod  Graetz

    Jgrae

    5 Jul, 2019 07:18 pm

    In the past year, I have already flown 'around the world with Virgin'.. Twice.. Booked as 'around the world ' from my travel agent.

    Once was clockwise, the other anti clockwise.. VA for two legs and VS or two legs. I travel twice a year for work and these are in business class so it was a pure joy, as a platinum velocity member, to fly virgin all around in style.

    I am so glad that they will now aim to get rid of the 7 hour layover in HKG. I HOPE there is enough business to open a joint virgin lounge in HKG as my favourite lounge is the VS LHR lounge.. And that re-opening in HKG would be nice.

    Bring it on is all I can say and I can't wait for VS to rebrand it's UK regional fleet so I can fly exclusively Virgin in Europe.

    Now all we need is Delta to buy out a few shareholders of VA, introduce Skyteam alliance to the menu and then I'll be a very happy man
    No member give thanks

  • Fqtv

    Zac

    6 Jul, 2019 01:34 am

    I would love to be able to fly Virgin (seamlessly) all the way to London and have the flexibility of LAX or HKG stopovers and flying East or West in either direction. Especially as the Virgin Clubhouse in London is so good.


    No member give thanks

  • Truie

    Truie

    6 Jul, 2019 09:26 am

    Just looked at ticket prices, wow, expensive by comparison.
    No member give thanks

  • FrequentFlyer

    FrequentFlyer

    6 Jul, 2019 12:18 pm

    The new structure hasn’t been deployed yet. Still some of the cheapest options when I look though- not sure what you were searching?
    No member give thanks

  • rencontre

    rencontre

    6 Jul, 2019 03:26 pm

    Great news and hopefully beneficial for both carriers and their passengers
    No member give thanks

  • lind26

    lind26

    8 Jul, 2019 07:31 pm

    Should have happened at least 10 years ago
    No member give thanks

Guest

16 Jul, 2019 02:55 pm

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