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.
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:
- Brisbane–Port Macquarie
- Mount Isa–Cloncurry
- Sydney–Hervey Bay
- Sydney–Port Macquarie
- 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.