(14 Dec 2021)
United Airlines and Virgin Australia Group
have signed an agreement designed to enhance the travel
experience between Australia and the Americas.
The partnership will have benefits for both
MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members and create more one-stop connections to cities across the United States,
Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.
Subject to government approval, the agreement is expected to
come into effect in early 2022.
United Airlines Boeing 767 reg: N676UA. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com
“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 United CEO, Scott 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
United currently offers daily direct flights from
San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, while other services
including flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne
are expected to resume later in 2022.
Under this new partnership,
United’s customers will have access to top Australian
destinations including Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
In addition to the ability to redeem and earn
points/miles, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members
will also receive the following benefits when flying on United and
Virgin Australia worldwide:
– Priority check-in;
– Priority boarding;
Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance;
– Priority security clearance; and
– Lounge access.
The partnership will also triple Virgin
Australia’s reach into the U.S., with customers accessing United’s
vast domestic and international network, connecting at United’s
multiple Australian gateways.
Virgin Australia plans to resume the sale of
codeshare flights in early 2022.
“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in
United,” said Virgin Australia Group CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka. “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. We look
forward to innovating together on behalf of our guests to ensure
they have the very best travel experiences to over 90 destinations
in the U.S.”