Passengers have new options to fly the Virgin brand between the UK and Australia thanks to a codeshare partnership between Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia on sale from May 1.
The new partnership allows passengers to connect between Hong Kong or Los Angeles and gives Atlantic passengers domestic Australian connections to eight Australian cities.
It also permits a passenger to fly around the world on Virgin-branded jets on routes such as London-Hong Kong-Sydney-Los Angeles-London.
New connections on the Virgin domestic network include Adelaide-Sydney, Adelaide-Melbourne and Canberra-Melbourne.
The codeshare includes Virgin Australia’s new daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights from July 2 as well as its existing Melbourne-Hong Kong service and its 18 weekly Boeing 777-300ER flights from Australia to the US.
Until July 2, the Australian carrier will operate daily Melbourne-Hong Kong flights at which point they reduce to five a week as the carrier launches the Sydney-Hong Kong flights.
Atlantic flies up to three daily services between London Heathrow and Los Angeles with a daily service to Hong Kong. Both routes are operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
The codeshare agreement gives frequent flyer members from both airlines the ability to earn points and status credits on each other’s flights as well as access to each other’s lounges.
Virgin Australia also codeshares with part-owners Etihad and Singapore Airlines on flights to Europe.
The idea is to offer seamless travel between the UK and Australia, Virgin Australia group executive Rob Sharp said in the announcement.
“Virgin Australia is always looking for opportunities to provide more options to our customers and to improve the end-to-end travel experience,” he said.
Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Shai Weiss said the codeshare partnership meant more customers could travel around the world using only Virgin airlines.
“It will also streamline the travel experience by providing a single check-in and baggage drop for the entire journey,’’ he said. “We are thrilled to be working with Virgin Atlantic to provide travellers with our renowned Virgin service and product all the way between Australia and the UK.”
The partnership comes as the Virgin brand has disappeared in the US after the takeover of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines.
Separately, Virgin Australia has started charging for high-speed wi-fi on the 12 domestic aircraft fitted out with the technology. Slower internet remains free but those wanting to use broadband capable of supporting streaming services will pay $A8.99 per trip.