After a long dalliance with Delta Air Lines, a delta has occurred and Virgin Australia is re-united with United Airlines. Frequent flyers on both sides of the Pacific can look forward to new benefits when flying United and Virgin Australia.
Blast From The Past: United Airlines – Virgin Australia Partnership
Virgin Australia was born as Virgin Blue and offered a limited partnership with United for many years. In fact, Star Alliance aggressively courted Virgin Blue in part to give United and other Star Alliance carriers access to domestic flights within Australia.
Australia remains a two airline nation, with Virgin Australia and Qantas competing fiercely for domestic traffic (there are a few minor players as well).
Under the new partnership, set to commence in April 2022, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members will receive the following benefits when flying on United and Virgin Australia worldwide:
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
- Lounge access
- Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
- Priority security clearance
More importantly, members will be able to earn and redeem miles on the respective carriers, allowing Virgin Australia members to once again reach the United States and United members to reach many cities in Australia beyond Melbourne and Sydney.
With this move, Virgin Australia announced it would terminate its partnership with Delta Air Lines in early 2022. Delta has scaled back its Australia service during the pandemic and even post-pandemic will likely only offer service from Los Angeles. United plans to resume multiple flights from San Francisco and Los Angels as well as its Houston service.
Virgin Australia is also an Aeroplan partner. While Virgin Australia once had a robust transpacific flight schedule, it currently is focusing on domestic travel within Australia.
> Read More: Virgin Australia 777-300ER Business Class
United Airlines will once again partner with Virgin in Australia, now trading as Virgin Australia instead of Virgin Blue. The move will be a boon to MileagePlus and Velocity members, though it will mean more competition for transpacific award seats on United.
Will you take advantage of the new Virgin Australia – United Airlines partnership?
I’m hopeful that they harmonize the fares. It got very expensive interlining from the US to cities other than SYD/MEL.
Didn’t Delta and Virgin Australia have an antitrust immunized joint venture agreement? Why are they leaving Delta for United anyhow?
Delta has one flight to Sydney, United has (or plans) three flights to Sydney and two to Melbourne.
Matthew – off topic but why did you take down your article from earlier today where you claimed you were not going to take advantage of the SimplyMiles promotion? Did you have a change of heart?
Not sure why it disappeared from the home page, but it is still here–
I have the Boarding Area folks looking into it.
Gives me 404. I was wondering the same thing.
I’ll look forward to visiting Australia again in 2031 when they finally open to 7x vaccinated passengers with a negative covid test 24 hours before and after flying and only a 5 day quarantine in a lovely government camp.
Seriously though, I love Australia and a partnership with UA is way better than DL since a business-class ticket to Australia will cost something like 800k SkyPesos with DL.
It’s Back to the Future in a way – VA was allied with UA in the past.
There are some speculating that this is a step toward VA seeking to join Star Alliance (citing their other partners to support their thinking), with others stating that NZ will stop that from happening (citing the awful way the NZ-VA relationship ended).
Velocity Platinum status is potentially about to become much more useful when travelling to and from the US!
Technically VA never alled with Virgin Blue.
VB on the other hand was partners with UA right up until the set up of V Australia (and the subsequent termination of the codeshare by former VB CEO Godfrey) and the eventual start of their own TransPac flights on the then-‘new’ V Australia in partnership with DL.
Technically VA never alled with *United Airlines.
VB of course did previously ally with UA.
Good ol’ autocorrect.
“In fact, Star Alliance aggressively courted Virgin Blue in part to give United and other Star Alliance carriers access to domestic flights within Australia.”
Any chance Star Alliance may be interested with them again in the future?
I hope so! But I don’t have any further insight right now.
Perhaps Virgin Australia will finally join *A and stop being the constant tease that its Atlantic cousin remains to this day – even with the partnership with Delta.
Nice partnership…with an airline no US-based flyer will actually be able to use until maybe 2030.
Every morning, I get out of bed , make myself a nice, hot cup of tea and log on to my computer. And the first thing I do, is log onto “Live and Let’s Fly” and read the goings on in the travel industry. I live in Sydney and worked for Ansett Australia for a number of years, so I still like to keep abreast with what’s happening within the airline industry. So I’m hoping that this alliance between Virgin Australia and United will result in lots of articles. It’s a particularly time for airlines, especially for Virgin Australia as it tries to work out exactly what kind of carrier it wishes to become, be it a competitor with Qantas/Jetstar Australia or a middle market airline that is above being a LCC, but not quite a full service carrier any longer. I look forward to reading articles in the future about this interesting set of dynamics….
Whatever it becomes it will never be as good as Ansett and the amazing people who worked there.