(Dec 14, 2021)
United Airlines and Virgin Australia Group have signed an agreement to improve the travel experience between Australia and the Americas.

The partnership will have benefits for MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members and will create more one-stop-shop connections to cities in the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

Subject to government approval, the deal is expected to enter into force in early 2022.

United Airlines Boeing 767 reg: N676UA. Photo by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

“The United States and Australia share a special bond and I am especially proud that United was the only airline to maintain a vital link between these two countries throughout the pandemic,” said the CEO of United, Scott Kirby. “For the future, Virgin Australia is the ideal partner for United. Our partnership offers tremendous business value to both airlines and a shared commitment to providing the best travel experience for our customers.

United currently offers daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, while other services, including flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne, are expected to resume later in 2022.

As part of the new partnership, United customers will have access to major Australian destinations, including Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

In addition to the ability to redeem and earn points / miles, eligible Premium MileagePlus and Velocity members will also receive the following benefits when traveling with United and Virgin Australia worldwide:

– priority check-in;

– Priority boarding;

– Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage allowance;

– Priority security clearance; and

– Access to the lounge.

The partnership will also triple the reach of Virgin Australia in the United States, with customers accessing United’s vast national and international network, connecting to United’s multiple Australian gateways.

Virgin Australia plans to resume sales of codeshare flights in early 2022.

“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United,” said Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO of the Virgin Australia Group. “They pride themselves on being one of Australia’s longest-standing and longest-serving airline partners and their market strength in both Australia and the United States brings great value to our customers. We look forward to innovating together on behalf of our customers to ensure they have the best travel experiences to over 90 destinations in the United States “


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