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United to partner with Virgin Australia -- UA elite benefits starting 23 May 2022

United to partner with Virgin Australia -- UA elite benefits starting 23 May 2022

Old Dec 13, 21, 11:51 pm
  #16  
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Fantastic news.

VA is my choice down-under. For years, I have been using my SQ PPS to access its lounge and earn SQ miles. With Covid and less flying on SQ, I now have UA to maintain elite benefits when flying VA.
lsquare likes this.

Last edited by UA_Flyer; Dec 14, 21 at 8:25 am
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Old Dec 14, 21, 4:23 am
  #17  
 
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I fly a heap with VA and QF and the meals on VA now are often as good as before. The lounges have undergone a transformation in ADL and MEL with other to be spruced up in the coming months. Food in the lounges is far better now. I find the food, beverages and service on VA to be far better than QF personally
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Old Dec 14, 21, 5:50 am
  #18  
 
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This is very significant! Came out of nowhere (for me). Great to hear.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 6:39 am
  #19  
 
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Add me to the list of those happy to see this news. I used to head down under 1-3x a year before Covid and always wanted better options to hop around. I do wonder what DL is going to do.

Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
VS is my choice down-under. For years, I have been using my SQ PPS to access its lounge and earn SQ miles. With Covid and less flying on SQ, I now have UA to maintain elite benefits when flying VS.
I think you mean VA VS = Virgin Atlantic.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 8:19 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by gooseman13 View Post
Was that pre or post VA bankruptcy?
Not too long before the pandemic shutdown.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 9:21 am
  #21  
 
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One of the best airplane meals in domestic J I’ve had was on a 2 hour flight from SYD to LST. Was a cheap upgrade too (about A$250). VA also runs great lounges.

Downsides? I liked QF a bit better for last minute business travel, generally more flexible and less strict about last minute changes. But UA’s connections to domestic QF flights seem to always be really bad.

I also liked crediting DL flights to VA as the status points accrued quickly with Comfort+ or domestic First Class DL tickets.

Overall this is great news for UA flyers especially who want to get to places like BNE, MCY… or like LST or BWT.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 9:42 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by uanj View Post
Holy Moly. That will change the air travel landscape in Oz....
Will it? It'll change the landscape for UA flyers, but that's about it. VA had a similar partnership with Delta up to now, which they are breaking as a part of this. From the perspective of most Australian travelers, this (at least initially) is simply a change in carrier for the US segments, and possibly for the AU->US segment (but VA used to fly that themselves too). Of course, if this proceeds to more (eg, VA joining Star Alliance) then yes, that's a real change.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 9:52 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Will it? It'll change the landscape for UA flyers, but that's about it. VA had a similar partnership with Delta up to now, which they are breaking as a part of this. From the perspective of most Australian travelers, this (at least initially) is simply a change in carrier for the US segments, and possibly for the AU->US segment (but VA used to fly that themselves too). Of course, if this proceeds to more (eg, VA joining Star Alliance) then yes, that's a real change.
I would say “will change the landscape for Oz… if you want United part of your landscape”

For your typical Australian flyer who is not UA loyal, this just means a few more connection options.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 4:53 pm
  #24  
 
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Keep in mind the new agreement is just a codeshare and FF reciprocation deal. It's not a JBA like the outgoing DL/VA deal.

Chances are that the new UA/VA partnership will likely remain as a codeshare and FF deal past the initial intro period, unless if the QF/NZ codeshare partnership dissolves to enable a 3-way JBA with NZ.
The chances of the QF/NZ codeshare partnership dissolving is likely to remain low for the foreseeable future considering reports that NZ's codeshare partnership with QF was bringing more revenue than NZ's former JBA partnership with VA pre-pandemic.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 5:41 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
That is GREAT news! But really surprising given Delta's tie-in with VS. VA will be great for extra US-OZ options but more importantly for onward flights from MEL and SYD! Great award ops as well with NZ and VA

Read that VA no longer flies to the US.

Too bad.

But yeah, one of the flights I took was SYD-AKL and they served the most perfect salmon filet anywhere. Certainly on any plane but maybe in the restaurants I've been to as well.

Before their bankruptcy, presumably.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 8:46 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Will it? It'll change the landscape for UA flyers, but that's about it. VA had a similar partnership with Delta up to now, which they are breaking as a part of this. From the perspective of most Australian travelers, this (at least initially) is simply a change in carrier for the US segments, and possibly for the AU->US segment (but VA used to fly that themselves too). Of course, if this proceeds to more (eg, VA joining Star Alliance) then yes, that's a real change.
Yes, it has the potential to change travel between the US and OA since VA has dropped all long haul flying. As a result VA is now reliant on their US partner for all connectivity to/from the US. DL is only flying one flight, LAX-SYD. DL onward connections from LAX are limited unless you add two connections involving an additional DL hub. UA will first give VA pax more flight choices from SYD and MEL and much better connectivity within the US, especially from SFO or IAH. UA historically flies far more people into OZ than DL, if VA coordinates well they should pick up the lion's share of onwards domestic connections on the OZ side.

VA is emerging from bankruptcy and needs to focus on their core business. From their side I can see why they are looking for a partner who will deliver the most passengers into their domestic system. DL with one flight a day is of limited benefit.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 11:09 pm
  #27  
 
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Apart from DL being the biggest loser, the other loser would have to be BNE/Queensland, leaving BNE-USA as a QF monopoly.

No immediate plans by UA to fly to BNE for the short term, and will rely on VA codeshares for the foreseeable future.

Only chance of UA entering BNE in the short term is if the Queensland State Premier offers taxpayer money UA's way to start BNE to LAX or SFO under the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, which would effectively make the UA flight from BNE a (Queensland) taxpayer funded lease/charter.
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Old Dec 14, 21, 11:33 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by autobahnal View Post
Fantastic news for onward connections from SYD. In the past I connected to VA anyway to go to Perth.
From USA to PER via Asia (SIN) can be a good option. And non of that SYD Inter to Dom transfer
Originally Posted by FLYMSY View Post
That’s good news. One of the best meals that I’ve had on a plane in recent years was on a Virgin Australia flight, SYD-AYQ, in First. Wines were pretty good, also. Much better than what is served on UA & LH in J.
In AU no domestic first class flights. Business is a good as it gets (better than many USA "first"?)
Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Well, not "always". But certainly for the past 20 years, 3 months and 1 day. But who's counting...
RIP Ansett (thanks to Air NZ)
Originally Posted by uanj View Post
Holy Moly. That will change the air travel landscape in Oz....
IMHO will make no difference at all. Just different airline for tag on flights for some pax from USA or folks wanting to earn/burn ff miles in AU. UA would sell QF & JQ as tags ons, and have seen reference to VA tags on's. Just UA being a travel agent to get long haul pax. Those on DL now will or may fly a different airline for AU domestic flights, but limited choice: QF JQ & VA and REX trying to be a bigger airline. And as a guess no ff miles for DL freq flyers or lounge access. For VA just a simple swap DL<--->UA.
VA long haul to USA now even further in the future, if at all.

Originally Posted by exp View Post
Read that VA no longer flies to the US.
Too bad.
But yeah, one of the flights I took was SYD-AKL and they served the most perfect salmon filet anywhere. Certainly on any plane but maybe in the restaurants I've been to as well.
Before their bankruptcy, presumably.
All the VA B777's (5 off) went in the administration process (not bankruptcy).
VA2 have stated are planning to resume flying trans Tasman to NZ. SYD-AKL is closer than SYD-PER

From VA Newsroom (14 Dec 21)--->Virgin Australia takes flight with United Airlines
  • Virgin Australia Group will partner with United Airlines from April 2022, tripling the number of U.S. cities Virgin Australia customers can reach, while providing United customers seamless connectivity to Australia’s most popular destinations.
  • United Airlines will offer Virgin Australia customers more non-stop flights from Australia, and 92 seamless one-stop connections to points across the USA.
  • Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program will have the ability to earn Points, Status Credits and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s extensive services.
  • Virgin Australia and United Airlines to offer reciprocal lounge access.
Tuesday 14 December 2021: Virgin Australia Group has today announced a new partnership with United Airlines that will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, with customers to access more destinations and more benefits when travelling to cities across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

Commencing in April 2022, the partnership will establish codeshare co-operation, as well as 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, connecting from the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways.

The partnership will also extend United’s large Australian presence, as the airline 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. Under this new partnership United’s customers will now have seamless access to top Australian cities right across the country through Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network.
<snip>
Velocity and Mileage-Plus tier benefits
Eligible Velocity and MileagePlus members will receive the following benefits when travelling on Virgin Australia and United services worldwide:
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
  • Priority security clearance
  • Lounge access
<snip>
From VA Newsroom (14 Dec 21) --->Virgin Australia thanks Delta Air Lines

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Australia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Australia_Holdings

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Dec 14, 21 at 11:54 pm
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Old Dec 15, 21, 1:28 pm
  #29  
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But I'd like to see VA fly to LA and SFO, so there would be more competition, maybe more awards supply.

Tough to do though. If travel ever returns to pre-pandemic levels, maybe that will change.

My sense was American tourists to Oz and NZ were increasing.
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Old Dec 15, 21, 1:55 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by exp View Post
But I'd like to see VA fly to LA and SFO, so there would be more competition, maybe more awards supply.
Tough to do though. If travel ever returns to pre-pandemic levels, maybe that will change.
My sense was American tourists to Oz and NZ were increasing.
The 5 off VA B777's have been returned to the lessors/financial institutions. The crew that flew them will have been sacked. Will be years before VA start long haul flights again, if ever.
A lot of competition USA<---->AU
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