United Airlines has inked a new codesharing partnership with Virgin Australia Group to extend its presence to and within Australia by adding Virgin Australia’s comprehensive network. Virgin Australia is replacing its current over a decade old codeshare and frequent flyer relationship with Delta Air Lines in mid-2022 as United offers customers more destinations and more benefits.
The importance of Australia in United’s network can be seen by the fact that United was the only carrier to maintain passenger service between the U.S. and Australia throughout the pandemic. United offers more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier. This partnership is set to roll out in April 2022, subject to government approval.
Under this new partnership, United’s customers will now have access to all major Australian destinations, including Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. It currently offers direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney and expects to resume flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne in 2022.
United Airlines will also offer Virgin Australia customers more non-stop flights from Australia, and 92 seamless one-stop connections to points across the U.S.
This partnership will also add more benefits for both MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members and offer more one-stop connections to cities across the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.
Further, both MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members will have priority access to check-in, boarding, security clearance, lounge services as well as baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance.
The partnership will also triple Virgin Australia’s reach into the Americas, with customers accessing United’s vast domestic and international network, connecting at United’s multiple Australian gateways.
Virgin Australia will resume the sale of codeshare flights at virginaustralia.com, starting with United services in early 2022. The sale of codeshare flights with other international partners will also resume after that. It had paused the sale of codeshare flights on its website at the height of the pandemic.
Virgin Australia is scheduled to resume its own international services starting with Fiji from this Thursday 16 December 2021 and growing to Bali and Queenstown in the New Year.
The United and Virgin Australia partnership will be up against a stronger rival partnership between American Airlines and Qantas.
Separately, Virgin Australia thanked Delta Air Lines for their long-standing commitment and relationship and said it will work closely with Delta over the coming months to transition the Velocity partnership. It also added that all bookings will continue to be honoured when Delta customers fly on Virgin Australia.
Last week, United became the world’s first commercial passenger flight to operate using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which was a turning point in the industry’s effort to combat climate change.
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