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VIRGIN OUTLINES GROWTH PLANS

Virgin Australia has announced fast-tracked plans to lease new aircraft, create more frontline jobs and grow its network to further support domestic tourism.

“We’re encouraged by the growth plans being articulated by Australia’s airlines at the moment,” says Sarah Bush, Co-Founder & Director of The Travel Authority Group.

“They certainly reflect the increased client activity in our businesses as Australians plan and book their long-overdue holidays and business trips,” adds Sarah.

The creation of more roles at Virgin Australia will see more than 220 cabin crew return to the skies from the airline’s discontinued long-haul international, ATR regional and Tigerair Australia operations.

The recovery efforts include the reintroduction of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and the planned return of more than 80 per cent of the airline’s pre-pandemic domestic capacity by mid-June 2021.

After a year of rolling state-based restrictions, pent-up travel demand is driving the launch of several new and expanded services and frequencies on key holiday and business routes.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the airline was strongly focused on its domestic recovery program, which includes delivering experiences guests love while providing great value for leisure travellers, corporates and SMEs.

“We are building a strong and disciplined business, obsessed with providing our customers the very best of Virgin Australia travel experiences,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“Today, we are operating around 850 weekly return flights, and as we approach the June school holidays, we will add another 220 return flights per week to our schedule. By mid-June, we expect to be operating more than 80 per cent of our pre-COVID domestic capacity,” added Hrdlicka.

New and extended seasonal services include:

  • Melbourne – Hamilton Island (3 flights per week from 08 June to 31 October)
  • Melbourne – Darwin (daily flights from 10 June to 31 October)
  • Brisbane – Launceston (4 flights per week from 17 June to 25 July) – seasonal extension
  • Melbourne – Ballina Byron Bay (5 flights per week from 09 June to 31 October) – seasonal extension
  • Brisbane – Queenstown (4 flights per week from 18 September)
  • Sydney – Queenstown (4 flights per week from 18 September)

Expanded frequencies include:

  • Sydney – Perth (up to 4 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Melbourne – Perth (up to 6 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Sydney – Adelaide (up to 5 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Melbourne – Adelaide (Up to 9 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Adelaide (up to 5 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sydney – Gold Coast (up to 9 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Gold Coast (up to 8 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Sydney (up to 25 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Brisbane (up to 13 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Sydney (up to 15 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sunshine Coast – Melbourne (up to 3 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sunshine Coast – Sydney (up to 3 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Townsville (up to 4 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Mackay (up to 4 flights per day by 20 June)

The airline is hopeful that domestic border closures will soon be a thing of the past and continues to see positive signs of consumer recovery including multiple record-breaking sales days of half-priced fares, with more than 75 per cent of the tickets being booked for travel from May onwards.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

VIRGIN REVEALS ‘LOUNGE OF THE FUTURE’

Virgin Australia has unveiled its Lounge of the future, with the highly anticipated opening of its Adelaide Airport Lounge. The 283-seat space completes the airline’s network of seven lounges at major airports around Australia.

“Virgin’s new Adelaide lounge looks very smart indeed,” said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

“We have no doubt that frequent and corporate flyers will enjoy the fresh new look and enhanced amenities. We look forward to seeing more Virgin lounges look and feel like this in future.”
Peter Hosper

The lounge’s contemporary design includes a breeze block feature wall, canopy ceilings, large light-filled spaces, and numerous dining and seating areas. Ambient lighting and bright greenery make it a relaxed and inviting place to refresh and recharge in a way that befits the Virgin brand.

Virgin Australia Adelaide Lounge Features

The Coffee Bar: An eye-catching central café seating area that turns into a wine bar at night.

The Cellar Door Hub: With some of Australia’s most awarded wineries on its doorstep, this is a space for South Australian wineries to bring their cellar door to the Lounge for seasonal wine tasting.

Distinct dining areas: Separate dining areas with diverse functionality cater to all guest’s eating preferences, including large social tables, and banquette seating for more private dining.

The Library: A dedicated work area featuring workstations with PCs, printing facilities, power sockets, and desk lamps, offering a functional environment to work on the fly.

All future Virgin domestic Lounge refurbishments will be done in line with this fresh, new design aesthetic.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the new lounge was the first of many new and exciting products for customers following the airline’s re-launch.

“We are continuing to write a new chapter at Virgin Australia and we’re incredibly focused on creating great experiences for our guests,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“We plan to make significant investment in our lounges over the next few years. The new lounge we’ve unveiled today will be the foundation for the Virgin aesthetic and experience we will roll out across the network.”
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka

In an Australian airline first, Virgin Australia is also trialling a food ordering system, offering guests end-to-end table service. Initially available in Adelaide and Melbourne, guests will be able to order food and beverages directly to their seat or table by simply scanning a QR code and placing an order on their phone.

This will not only provide a seamless table service for guests, but it will reduce movement and further enhance the COVID-safe environment.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

VIRGIN COUNTERS WITH $49 FARES, DOUBLE POINTS & 2022 FLEXIBILITY

In response to moves from Qantas and—new player on Australia’s capital city routes—Rex, Virgin Australia has announced discounted fares between Sydney and Melbourne, and extended its booking flexibility until 31 January 2022 for bookings made prior to 30 April 2021.

They’ve also upped the ante by adding Double Velocity Points for all eligible bookings made by 17 February 2021.

SALE ENDS at 11:59pm AEST on Sunday 28 February 2021
FOR DEPARTURES during March 2021

Headline fares from Virgin include:

  • One-way Economy fares between Sydney-Melbourne from $49
  • One-way Business fares between Sydney-Melbourne from $199 including Lounge access

Extended benefits include:

  • Booking flexibility for travel until 31 January 2022
  • Double Velocity Points for all eligible bookings made by 17 February 2021

“We expected such a response from Virgin,” said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

“This is where the market is at right now. Australians are ready to travel again, and we think the over-the-horizon booking flexibility will drive bookings. The incredible prices are the icing on the cake,” he added.

Virgin’s flexible booking policy waives change and cancellation fees for travel up to 31 January 2022, for bookings made by 30 April 2021.

With the sale fares expected to sell out quickly, Virgin Australia has also launched one-way Economy fares between Sydney-Melbourne from just $79 [depart between 01 April and 15 December 2021] on sale until 11:59pm AEST on 2 March 2021.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA LOUNGES REOPENING

In yet another positive sign, Virgin Australia has announced the reopening of its lounges in Perth and the Gold Coast.

Seating capacity within both lounges will, however, be limited due to COVID-related social distancing requirements, and adjustments have been made to the placement of furniture within the lounges to ensure social distancing is maintained at all times.

Both the Perth and Gold Coast lounges will comply with all COVID-19 safe requirements as mandated by the state governments.

Guests will notice some changes including:

  • The requirement to use the QR code to complete sign in upon entry.
  • The entrance foyer will be used as an entry point only.
  • Furniture will be spaced 1.5m apart along with appropriate signage and social distancing markers.
  • Hand sanitiser stations will be placed throughout the lounges.
  • Lounges will be deep cleaned prior to opening, and cleaning undertaken throughout the day.

One of the most obvious changes will be around food and beverage, notably that self-serve food and drinks will not be available.

Pre-made food items including sweet and savoury snacks, sandwiches, fresh fruit, alcoholic beverages (including craft beers and curated wines), barista coffee, premium tea and soft drinks will still be available from the hosted food bar.

The airline’s Gold Coast lounge will be open:

8.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Friday
8.00am – 6.00pm Saturday
8.00am – 8.00pm Sunday

The Perth lounge willl be open:

4.15am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday
5.00am – 12.00pm Saturday
5.00am – 5.00pm Sunday

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

FREQUENT FLYER STATUS MATCHING – VIRGIN FIGHTS BACK

Hot on the heels of Qantas’ frequent flyer fast-track offer, Virgin Australia has hit back with an attractive counter offer.

The airline announced that its Velocity Frequent Flyer program will reward its Gold and Platinum members for their loyalty, and give eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members (and their companion) a taste of flying with a ‘fun and vibrant’ airline.

Speaking at Brisbane Airport, Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said domestic airline competition was alive and well.

“Virgin Australia was the first airline in Australia to bring genuine competition to the domestic market, and that competitive spirit is in our DNA, so we’re happy to offer a more compelling loyalty offer than what is currently in market,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“We’re pleased to welcome Qantas members to Velocity who are interested in taking advantage of cheaper fares, award-winning cabin crew, and great rewards for ongoing loyalty. We look forward to welcoming them onboard this summer season,” she added.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

By simply filling-in a short expression of interest form by 21 December 2020, Qantas Gold status and above members will receive a three month ‘Velocity Discover Gold Status’ trial membership.

That membership offers complimentary Lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, higher checked baggage allowances, and lucrative bonus points when customers book and fly with Virgin Australia.

To retain Velocity Gold status for 12-months and receive an additional Velocity Gold membership for a companion, they are only required to take one eligible flight and earn 80 status credits during their three month Discover Gold Status trial period—something previously only awarded to the most active Velocity members.

STATUS EXTENSIONS FOR EXISTING VELOCITY GOLD AND PLATINUM MEMBERS

Not to be outdone by the national carrier, Velocity Frequent Flyer is also offring eligible Gold and Platinum members a status extension of up to one year or until 31 March 2022, as long as they take one (1) eligible flight with Virgin Australia before 28 March 2021.

This is the second time Velocity has granted eligible members a Status extension this year. This will enable Gold and Platinum members to continue accessing benefits like Lounge access, priority boarding, and higher Velocity points earning ability when they return to the skies.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

EARN DOUBLE VELOCITY POINTS

ACTIVATE this offer and book by 29 September.
VALID for travel until 17 August 2021

You can earn double Velocity Points on all eligible Virgin Australia domestic flights when you book before 29 September 2020 and travel by 17 August 2021.

That’s 10 Points for every $1 you spend on domestic flights!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3

1. CLICK HERE to activate this offer.

2. BOOK an eligible Virgin Australia flight with The Travel Authority Group by 29 September 2020.

3. TRAVEL by 17 August 2021 to earn double Points!

Scroll down for terms and conditions.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

Terms and Conditions
To be eligible for the Double Points promotion you must (1) Activate this offer through the activation link contained in this flyer or via www.velocityfrequentflyer.com within the member dashboard under ‘Activated Offers’ between 12.01am AEST 21 September 2020 and 11.59pm 29 September 2020 inclusive (Promotion Period); (2) after offer activation, book and ticket an Eligible Flight during the Promotion Period and enter a valid Velocity membership number at the time of booking; and (3) complete travel on an Eligible Flight. An Eligible Flight is a Domestic flight marketed and operated by Virgin Australia (except where a Domestic flight is flown as part of an international journey), between 12.01am AEST 21 September 2020 and 11.59pm 17 August 2021 inclusive and booked and ticketed in a fare class that normally accrues Points. Points cannot be earned on Velocity Reward Seat bookings. Codeshare services marketed or operated by partner airlines are not eligible for this offer. Bonus Velocity Points will be earned in addition to base Velocity Points earned. Bonus Points will be applied to the originally purchased fare class and any upgrades (other than when you paid the full commercial fare) will not attract Bonus Points as a result of this offer. There is no limit on the amount of times this offer can be redeemed. Velocity Points offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. You should allow up to 4 weeks after completion of travel for the bonus Velocity Points to be allocated.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA Resumes Services

Virgin Australia has announced it’s opening up domestic travel options for Australians, with the airline resuming flights on 17 more routes, taking travellers to just under 30 local destinations by early August.

“We’re really encouraged by the resumption of local services by our domestic airlines—it’s a great sign. Not just for travellers, but for airline and tourism employees and our industry as a whole,”

said The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

The routes include the resumption of flights to Newcastle, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin, Alice Springs, Hamilton Island, Maroochydore, Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Proserpine, and Mount Isa.

“We’re pleased to have continued our collaborative effort with the Federal Government to re-introduce some services as we start to see confidence return, and as each State and Territory comes closer to finalising their plans for the easing of restrictions and the reopening of borders,” said Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, John MacLeod.

“Many of our aircraft have been parked and our teams are preparing them to return to the skies, and with the increase in flights we’re announcing today, we’re looking forward to serving our guests as they travel to visit family and friends, or take a well-deserved break,” he added.

The airline has also introduced additional safety and wellbeing measures to minimise risks associated with COVID-19, and to help you feel comfortable and confident when flying.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Virgin Australia’s new safety and wellbeing measures.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA Increases Services

The Virgin Australia Group doubles current capacity and introduces new safety and wellbeing measures as state travel restrictions begin to ease from early July.

“As state travel restrictions ease, demand for air travel is starting to return. We have a long way to go, but we’re thrilled to see airline schedules coming to life again. These services will be a welcome boost to the local tourism industry,”

The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

The increased services will add some 30,000 seats across 320 flights per week to the airline’s domestic schedule. CLICK HERE to view to full Virgin Australia domestic schedule.

New Safety and Wellbeing Measures

Virgin Australia will also introduce a comprehensive new set of safety and wellbeing measures including pre-departure eligibility and health screening, contactless check-in, more frequent cleaning onboard and at the airport, and expanded social distancing measures.

The measures have been developed in close collaboration with airlines and airports across Australia as part of the Australian Aviation Recovery Coalition.

Virgin Australia Group Medical Officer Dr Sara Souter said the new measures will ensure that we appropriately manage the latest advice from government and remain vigilant when it comes to hygiene and personal protection.

“We will be adopting contactless check-in, a new sequenced boarding and disembarkation process and guests will see more frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces on the aircraft and within the airport,” said Virgin Australia Group Medical Officer, Dr Sara Souter.

“In addition, a new health questionnaire will be rolled out as part of the check-in process to ensure passengers are fit to fly and to assist with contact tracing,” added Dr Souter.

The airline has confirmed that an empty seat will be kept between guests travelling alone wherever possible, but that families and travelling companions will be able to sit together on flights.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

SOCIAL Distancing at 40,000 Feet

During these times of isolation and physical distancing, it’s not unreasonable to wonder how this might work at 40,000 feet.

Even though most of the world’s commercial passenger aircraft are parked and patiently awaiting the restart of the global economy, many airlines still have a few aircraft servicing essential routes. So, if you find yourself on one, how will you ensure a safe, social distance from the other passengers?

In what might just be the best silver lining in all of this, airlines are leaving their dreaded middle-seats empty.

“Flying is going to feel different for a while yet. Fewer flights, fewer people, fewer everything. But, on the up-side, more space for everyone.” 

The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

Or as Virgin Australia describes it, “Virgin Australia has implemented new social distancing measures on all scheduled domestic flights until further notice. Guests will have the seat next to them blocked as part of the new social distancing policy.”

Similarly at Qantas, whilst acknowledging that the risk of contracting Coronavirus on board an aircraft is regarded as low, “social distancing has been put in place across all flights.”

Our friends at US carrier Delta Air Lines also recently supplied this update around its new COVID-19 practices and policies for all flights through the end of June:

  • Reducing the total number of passengers per flight.
  • Blocking middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select.
  • Modifying boarding process so customers will now be boarded by row, starting from the rear of the aircraft.

For information about how your favourite airlines are dealing with social distancing and other parts of their services, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US for a chat.

We’d love to hear from you.

VELOCITY Program Redemptions Pause

Following the announcement that Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration, the airline’s Velocity frequent flyer program—a separate business—has announced a decision to pause all redemptions for an initial period of four weeks, effective immediately.

Velocity’s media release [21 April 2020] stated,

“Although Velocity is owned by the Virgin Australia Group, it is a separate company and it is not in administration. That means we’re still operating, but we’ve made some temporary program changes in the interests of members.”

Velocity Frequent Flyer update [21 April 2020]

The decision was made, according to Velocity, because the ongoing travel restrictions have reduced flights and, therefore, opportunities for Velocity members to redeem their points for flights. As a result, members have rushed to use their points to shop online for items like gift cards, electronic goods, and wine.

“This unexpected demand has made it difficult for our suppliers to provide these offers and limits the availability for all members to redeem their Points.”

Velocity Frequent Flyer update [21 April 2020]

Velocity members have been advised that:

  • Their Points will remain in their accounts.
  • Their existing Points will not expire through this period. The expiration period for existing Points will be extended by the timeframe of the pause.
  • They will continue to earn Points with Velocity partners, even though they won’t be able to redeem them during the pause.

These changes take effect immediately. Although the initial timeframe for this restriction is four weeks, Velocity Members have been advised that this period may be extended.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.