Tropical dreams: Virgin Australia flights return to Vanuatu, Samoa

Plenty of reward seats, endless sun, turquoise waters and a whole lot of tropical relaxation is back on the cards for Velocity frequent flyers.

Virgin Australia’s short haul international operations are returning to their former glory, with flights to Vanuatu and Samoa to resume in March.

Services to both popular tourist destinations are now on sale, and there are ample reward seats available at the time of writing.

vanuatu bungalows
Vanuatu is home to some of the worlds best snorkeling opportunities

Is a tropical getaway tickling your fancy? Here’s what to know about Virgin Australia’s returning flights.

The flights

The resumed flights to Vanuatu and Samoa will be on Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737, offering Velocity members the ability to take advantage of recline business class redemptions for the short haul international leg.


From March 10, the short flight from Brisbane to Port Vila in Vanuatu will run five days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). 

The easy trip will depart Brisbane in the morning at 9.40am and land in Port Vila at 1.20pm local time, leaving more than enough of the afternoon to explore on your first day.

The quieter months from May to the end of June will see services drop to thrice-weekly, with weekend flights paused during this brief period.


Services to Apia, Samoa will commence from Sydney on 21 March 2023 with up to three flights per week, with Tuesday and Saturdays currently locked in to leave Sydney at 9am and touchdown in Samoa at 5.15pm – how’s that for a workday?

Another easy day flight, the return trip will depart Apia at 6.05pm and arrive in Sydney at 9.40pm, just in time to roll off the plane and into bed.

Brisbane-based travellers will also get easy access to the Polynesian destination, with flights commencing from 23 March and running every Thursday and Sunday, leaving Brisbane at 9.25pm and landing in Apria at 5.20am.

Booking a reward seat

In good news for Velocity members, there appears to be solid award availability for economy and business redemptions on Virgin Australia flights to Vanuatu and Samoa.

Locking in an award seat from Brisbane to Vanuatu will cost 11,800 Velocity Points (plus $126.02 in carrier charges) for an economy seat, or 23,500 points for a business seat (plus $126.02 in charges).

Flights to Samoa currently show reward seats in economy class from 22,300 Velocity Points (plus $150.60 in charges), or 49,500 points for a business reward (plus $185.60 charges).

Summary: The tropics are back

It’s heartening to see Virgin Australia’s short haul international services continue to take to the skies again, driving more competition across popular routes in the Pacific.

The return of Virgin Australia flights to Vanuatu and Samoa come after the airline recommenced direct services to Fiji, Bali and New Zealand last year.

Will you be taking advantage of a tropical escape this year?

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