14 December 2021 | Customer

Virgin Australia takes flight with United Airlines

  • Virgin Australia Group will partner with United Airlines from April 2022, tripling the number of U.S. cities Virgin Australia customers can reach, while providing United customers seamless connectivity to Australia’s most popular destinations.  
  • United Airlines will offer Virgin Australia customers more non-stop flights from Australia, and 92 seamless one-stop connections to points across the USA. 
  • Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program will have the ability to earn Points, Status Credits and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s extensive services.
  • Virgin Australia and United Airlines to offer reciprocal lounge access. 

Tuesday 14 December 2021: Virgin Australia Group has today announced a new partnership with United Airlines that will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, with customers to access more destinations and more benefits when travelling to cities across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. 
Commencing in April 2022, the partnership will establish codeshare co-operation, as well as reciprocal loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn, redeem and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s vast domestic and international network, connecting from the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways.   

The partnership will also extend United’s large Australian presence, as the airline offering more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier, including daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne expected to resume later in 2022. Under this new partnership United’s customers will now have seamless access to top Australian cities right across the country through Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network. 
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the partnership was an exciting opportunity for Virgin Australia customers while tripling the airline’s reach into the United States.
“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.   

“Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three-times as many services available to them, which is great news for Australian travellers.   
“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United. 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 US. 

“Our family has just expanded and we look forward to welcoming United and their guests on board in April,” she said.   
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said: “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 Mr 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 customers,” he said. 
The new partnership will also see Virgin Australia and United work together to improve customer experience and share best practices in areas such as innovation and sustainability.   
United Airlines have been a long-term leader in sustainable aviation, and just last week operated the world’s first commercial passenger flight using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which was a turning point in the industry's effort to combat climate change.  

The partnership is another significant customer enhancement for the relaunched Virgin Australia, that will also see the airline resume the sale of codeshare flights at virginaustralia.com, starting with United services in early 2022, followed by the airline’s other international partners. Virgin Australia first paused the sale of codeshare flights on its website at the height of the pandemic, and today’s announcement will open a new gateway for travel between Australia and the United States and beyond.    

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Velocity and MileagePlus tier benefits 

Eligible Velocity and MileagePlus members will 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

Virgin Australia international network update 

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. Virgin Australia has extended its Flexible Flying policy for travel on international services operated by Virgin Australia including Reward Seat bookings made on partner airlines for travel to 31 December 2022. 


United Airlines is the world leader in the usage and support for the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), an alternative fuel made with non-petroleum feedstocks, already having agreements to purchase nearly twice as much SAF as the known agreements of all other global airlines combined. 

About Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Group is a major Australian airline operating scheduled domestic and short-haul international flights, charter and cargo services, and the award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer.   

The Group has been a competitor in the Australian aviation landscape for more than 20 years, carrying tens of millions of passengers in that time. The airline operates three seating choices on all flights; Economy, Economy X (extra leg room Economy) and Business Class.  

Virgin Australia is now embarking on an exciting new chapter. In September 2020, US private equity firm Bain Capital acquired Virgin Australia and relaunched the airline with a renewed focus on its heartland customer. Since that time the airline has simplified its fleet structure to an all-Boeing 737 fleet and has made significant investments in technology and customer experience.  

Virgin Australia is focussed on creating great experiences for guests and has won many awards over the years including Best Cabin Crew, Best Domestic Airline and Best Economy Class. Velocity Frequent Flyer has also scooped a wealth of prestigious gongs including the Freddie Awards Best Program of the Year and Best Redemption Ability for Asia/Middle East and Oceania. 

About United  

United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL”.