Virgin Australia Group said that it will partner with United Airlines beginning in April 2022, increasing the number of U.S. destinations Virgin Australia customers can access while providing seamless connectivity to Australia’s most popular destinations.
United Airlines will provide Virgin Australia customers with more non-stop flights from Australia and 92 smooth one-stop connections to points throughout the United States.
When traveling on United’s extensive services, members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer reward programme will be able to earn Points, Status Credits, and get tier perks. United Airlines and Virgin Australia will provide reciprocal lounge access.
Virgin Australia’s new agreement with United Airlines will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, giving customers access to more destinations and benefits whenever travelling in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.
Beginning in April 2022, the partnership will establish codeshare cooperation and reciprocal loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn, redeem, and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s vast domestic and international network via the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways.
The partnership will also expand United’s significant Australian presence, with the airline currently offering more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier, including daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne expected to resume later in 2022. United’s customers will now have seamless access to major Australian cities across the country thanks to this new relationship with Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the partnership was an exciting opportunity for Virgin Australia customers while tripling the airline’s reach into the United States.
“The United States is a key market for Virgin Australia, and we know Australians are excited to be able to travel overseas again, so we’ve created hundreds of new ways they can do that through United’s extensive services to and from Australia”.
“Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three times as many services available to them, which is excellent news for Australian travelers.
“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United. They have proudly been one of Australia’s most loyal and long-serving aviation partners, and their market strength both to Australia and in the United States brings great value to our guests. “Our family has just expanded, and we look forward to welcoming United and their guests on board in April,” she said.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said: “The United States and Australia share a special bond, and I’m especially proud that United was the only airline to maintain a vital link between these two countries throughout the pandemic,” said Mr Kirby.
“Looking ahead, Virgin Australia is the perfect partner for United. Our partnership provides considerable commercial value for both airlines and a shared commitment to offer the best travel experience for our customers,” he said. The new partnership will also see Virgin Australia and United work together to improve customer experience and share best practices in innovation and sustainability.
United Airlines has long been a leader in sustainable aviation, and only last week operated the world’s first commercial passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), marking a significant milestone in the industry’s efforts to address climate change.
The partnership is yet another critical customer upgrade for the relaunched Virgin Australia, which will also recommend selling codeshare flights on virginaustralia.com, beginning with United services in early 2022, and then followed by the airline’s other international partners. At the height of the pandemic, Virgin Australia stopped selling codeshare flights on its website, and the new announcement will open a new gateway for travel between Australia and the United States and beyond.