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Virgin Australia Dumps Delta For New United Airlines Partnership

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Tom Goward | 14/12/2021

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It’s out with the old and in with the new as Virgin Australia overhauls its US cooperative, ending its long-standing relationship with Delta Air Lines to make way for a new partnership with United Airlines. The agreement is set to triple the Virgin’s reach into the Americas and give customers access to more destinations and benefits when travelling to cities across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

The new partnership is due to be formalised in April 2022, with codeshare flights and shared frequent flyer perks for Virgin’s Velocity and United’s MileagePlus members on the table. United operates more flights to Australia than any other US carrier, including daily direct flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the partnership was an exciting opportunity for its customers.

“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,” she said

Meanwhile, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said The US and Australia share a special bond.

“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.

Velocity and MileagePlus shared tier benefits

Eligible Velocity and MileagePlus members are set to 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

Will I be able to earn and redeem Velocity Points on United?

Yes, but for now the partnership between Virgin Australia and United is only an announcement. Guests are not able to book codeshare flights or receive reciprocal frequent flyer benefits until sometime in 2022.

United Airlines codeshare flights to the US

Virgin Australia will enter a codeshare agreement with United Airlines for flights departing Sydney and Melbourne to the states. That means you’ll be able to book a VA flight number onboard United-operated services.
While some of United’s Australian flights are on hold due to COVID-19, all flights are set to resume in 2022. From Sydney, the airline operates direct services to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. From Melbourne, it’s Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Virgin Australia also plans to offer codeshare flights beyond these three US hubs, saying customers will be able to fly one-stop from Australia to 92 cities across the United States.

United Virgin Codeshare Routes
What aircraft does United operate?

United Aircraft

  • Airbus A319
  • Airbus A320
  • Boeing 737 (700/800/900/900ER/MAX8/MAX9)
  • Boeing 757 (200/300)
  • Boeing 767 (300ER/400ER)
  • Boeing 777 (200/200ER/300ER)
  • Boeing 787 (7/8/9)

United Express aircraft

  • Canadair CRJ (200/550/700)
  • Embraer 145
  • Embraer (170/175)

What about Delta?

For now, we know that the codeshare agreement between Delta and Virgin Australia is due to end sometime in 2022. Anything further to this is up in the air. It is possible for Delta to remain as an interline partner, with only status and codeshare benefits dropped, or might be goodbye forever.

In the meantime, Velocity members will continue to earn points and enjoy their current frequent flyer benefits when flying on Delta operated flights. You can still make Reward Seat bookings and Virgin says they will continue to honour reward bookings.

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Tom Goward

Senior Editor and Chief AvGeek at Flight Hacks

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