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Virgin trumps Qantas’ booking flexibility

written by Adam Thorn | September 11, 2020
A Virgin Australia 737-8FE, VH-VUI, is picured next to a Qantas A380 (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia has introduced significantly more generous booking flexibility than Qantas in a bid to entice travellers to fly domestically despite border uncertainty.

In its first major announcement since the sale to Bain was finalised, the airline will allow customers to change flights without incurring fees until 31 January. Qantas’ rival offer applies to journeys booked until 30 September and that fly before 30 November.

It comes a day after Qantas upped the ante in its campaign to open state borders by writing to state and federal MPs in Queensland and WA to ask them to reject “arbitrary” restrictions.

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The flag carrier also urged all its employees to sign a new petition that argues curtailing movement across states should be “risk-assessed” against a national agreed definition of a COVID-19 hotspot.

“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,” said Virgin in a statement.

“We’re hopeful that borders will reopen by Christmas and this new initiative to help get travellers on their next flight is the right step forward to rebooting the Australian tourism industry.”

Yesterday, Virgin also confirmed it was set to stop flying seven regional destinations and scrap 10 separate flight routes:

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  • Melbourne–Mildura
  • Brisbane–Port Macquarie
  • Brisbane–Cloncurry
  • Mount Isa–Cloncurry
  • Sydney–Albury
  • Sydney–Uluru
  • Sydney–Hervey Bay
  • Sydney–Port Macquarie
  • Sydney–Tamworth
  • Sydney–Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Last week, the battle for control of Virgin Australia finally ended after Bain’s proposal to purchase the business was rubber-stamped by creditors in a crucial vote on Friday.

While Bain beat out Cyrus Capital Partners in May to become the administrator’s preferred bidder, the decision needed to be waived through by parties owed money. The airline’s bondholders had threatened to table a rival bid, but pulled out late in August leaving Bain’s victory as a formality.

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2 Comments

  • Teddy

    says:

    Yeah, right…..
    Who in their right mind would be BUYING airline tickets’ anyway currently?

    There’s absolutely NO guarantee whatsoever you’ll be able to travel on selected date(s),
    for many reasons’.

  • PB

    says:

    Virgin cancelling change fees until the end of January next year? That’s ridiculous. The USA carriers claim they have cancelled them PERMANENTLY. Those fees are a blatant ripoff anyway, started by Easy Jet and Ryan Air, two of the worst bucket shop airlines who sell a cheap fare and make it up with ridiculous hidden fees that nail the customer when he gets to the airport. The bucket shop carriers in America copied the fees, and the majors could not resist since it was easy money. Then Virgin and Qantas came on — too easy.
    Scummy airlines charge scummy, dishonest fees like this, and Virgin Australia says it will cancel them until January? What an insult.

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