United and Virgin Australia Group has announced a new partnership adding more benefits for both MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members. The passengers will have access to more one-stop connections to cities across the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. The agreement is subject to government approval but is expected to roll out in early 2022.
With the new codeshare agreement, Virgin Australia unexpectedly ended its longstanding association with Delta Airlines.
United offers more flights to Australia than any other US carrier. “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,” commented United CEO Scott Kirby.
United currently offers daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney. There are also services from Houston and direct services to Melbourne, which are expected to resume in 2022. Under this new partnership, United's customers will now have access to top Australian destinations including Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Passengers Will Have Multitude Benefits
In addition to the ability to redeem and earn points/miles, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members will also receive priority check-in, boarding, baggage delivery, additional baggage allowance, security clearance and lounge access.
“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,” Hrdlicka added.
Virgin Australia also thanked Delta for its longstanding services. The airline will work with Delta over the coming months to transition Velocity partnership, and all bookings will continue to be honoured when Delta customers fly on Virgin Australia.
The partnership will also triple Virgin Australia's reach into the US. The partnership is another significant customer enhancement for the relaunched Virgin Australia, which will also see the airline resume the sale of codeshare flights starting with United services in early 2022, followed by the airline's other international partners.