Complimentary snacks to go, lounges will reopen and business class here to stay under Virgin Australia 2.0
After months of speculation on the future of Virgin Australia, we finally have a definitive answer. Virgin Australia has unveiled its future plans under the leadership of new CEO and Managing Director Jayne Hrdlicka, after exiting voluntary administration this morning.
Here are the key takeouts about what travellers can expect:
Under Bain Capital, Virgin Australia plans to compete as a mid-market airline. It will be pitched at guests seeking a premium experience at an affordable and competitive price. While Virgin Australia will serve all segments of the market, it will build its proposition around price-conscious corporate travellers, small to medium businesses, premium leisure travellers and holidaymakers.
No change to Velocity Frequent Flyer
With no material changes to the program, Velocity Frequent Flyer’s 10 million members will continue to earn and redeem Velocity points through a host of airline and non-airline partners.
In a commitment to members, Velocity granted a 12-month status extension earlier this year, and there has been no change to the number of points needed to redeem rewards.
Virgin Australia will announce a number of significant new partnerships in 2021, giving members more opportunity to earn points on everyday spend. We'll be watching closely to see if suspended redemption options (such as points transfer to Singapore Airlines) come back into play.
Network of Virgin Australia Lounges to be retained
The airline plans to retain ‘core' domestic Lounges. A network of Lounges will open as travel demand resumes. Confirmed Locations include:
The Brisbane Lounge will re-open today. Due to low visitation, the Darwin, Cairns and Mackay lounges will close. The Canberra lounge remains under review.
Virgin Australia’s first-to-market Premium Entry feature will remain. Lounge memberships that expired during the COVID-19 period will be extended for 12 months from the original expiry date.
The recently built Adelaide Lounge will open in the first quarter of 2021. The Lounge is a prototype of the Virgin Australia Lounge of the future and will provide customers with an experience and aesthetic more aligned to the Virgin brand. The new design will roll out to the lounge network over time. We'll be eagerly awaiting a sneak peek, after a mid 2020 opening was delayed by Covid.
Three domestic seating options to be retained
Virgin Australia will continue to be the only airline in Australia to offer three domestic seating options.
Virgin Australia will retain its Business Class seats and service provided by its cabin crew, but will complete an end-to-end review of the Business Class offering before relaunching it in 2021. The review, done in collaboration with the airline’s crew, will ensure better alignment to guests’ needs, while maintaining key elements. Virgin Australia says that more detail will be revealed next year.
Australia’s only Economy-X seating will continue to be offered. Introduced in 2017, the extra leg room seating, complete with its own dedicated overhead luggage compartment, continues to be a popular upgrade purchase for Economy customers.
A new buy onboard menu will replace the existing snack early next year, and customers will continue to be offered complimentary tea, coffee and water.
Technology investments to upgrade customer experience
New state-of-the-art self-service and assisted check-in facilities will open across major airports by December 2021, simplifying the airport experience and leveraging new technology. The Virgin Australia mobile app will be enhanced through 2021, creating a more integrated experience for travellers and Velocity Frequent Flyer members.
In-flight WiFi and Inflight Entertainment remains under review and more details will be announced in 2021.
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