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Virgin Australia’s Game-Changing Booking Policy

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Tom Goward | 11/09/2020

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Virgin Australia is ramping up incentives to reassure travellers in these turbulent times by allowing unlimited booking changes with no fees until 2021. The airline today announced their ‘Passenger Promise’ which includes increased booking flexibility. The new policy allows customers to make unlimited booking changes without incurring any change fees for travel reservations between now and 31 January 2021. Of course, fare differences may apply if you move to a more expensive flight.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said that today’s announcement is aimed at giving customers more confidence and booking flexibility.

“Whilst there is still uncertainty around border restrictions, we know that Australians want to start booking their travel and our Passenger Promise will give travellers the peace of mind they need to make a booking now.”

Virgin Australia’s Passenger Promise

As well as generous booking flexibility, Virgin Australia’s Passenger Promise employs the following measures:

  • A short pre-flight health screening questionnaire for all travellers upon check-in
  • Increased social distancing measures (including staggered boarding and onboard distancing where possible)
  • Reduced onboard movement to minimise contact
  • Increased hygiene practices at all stages of the passenger journey
  • Increased cleaning practices including the use of Duropax (an antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning agent)
  • Additional and thorough cleaning between flights
  • Continued earn and redemption of Velocity Points

What if I have a travel credit?

Virgin Australia customers who had their bookings cancelled are soon to receive a ‘Future Flight Credits’. Nothing has changed in this regard, and Virgin Australia anticipates that customers will be able to use their new Future Flight Credits from 23 September 2020. These can be used to book flights operated by Virgin Australia, albeit with an entirely new rulebook that will make it harder for customers to find flights eligible for booking with Future Flight Credits.

While this new policy was a smart move from a business perspective, making things harder is an excellent way to frustrate customers.

Want to know more? Check out our article on Virgin Australia’s Future Flight Credits Policy!

Virgin Australia cuts regional routes

It appears Virgin Australia is full of announcements at the moment, with news earlier in the week that the airline would immediately withdraw services to seven regional destinations. The cuts represent poor customer demand and changes to the airline’s fleet including scrapping the ATR-72 type which previously serviced many of Virgin Australia’s regional routes.

The following flights have been axed for the foreseeable future:

  • Melbourne–Mildura
  • Brisbane–Port Macquarie
  • Brisbane–Cloncurry
  • Mount Isa–Cloncurry
  • Sydney–Albury
  • Sydney–Ayers Rock
  • Sydney–Hervey Bay
  • Sydney–Port Macquarie
  • Sydney–Tamworth

Virgin Australia mentioned they remain committed to regional Australia and plan to review their network as travel restrictions ease and demand returns.

Summing up: my take

Booking flexibility is always good news. Although, it’s important to note that Virgin Australia isn’t the first airline to do this. Back in March, Qatar Airways launched a new policy to provide customers with maximum flexibility to suit their travel plans. Currently, Qatar Airways are offering passengers unlimited changes to their travel date or destination free of charge, for travel until 31 December 2020. You can even keep your ticket to use within 2 years from the date of issue, or swap your booking for Qmiles!

In other Virgin Australia news, you can now score 30% off business class reward seats and a 20% Velocity transfer bonus.

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Tom Goward

Tom is a Hobart-based writer with a passion for aviation and travel.

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