V Australia Will Get You To Seattle with Alaska, Not Virgin America

I received a note from a reader down under recently pointing out that Aussies can now book flights to Seattle on the V Australia website. Is this the long-anticipated codeshare with Virgin America finally showing its head? Nope. It’s actually a codeshare partnership with Alaska. For some reason, I don’t remember this deal being announced. Did I miss something?

If you’d like to check it out, you have to go to the V Australia site in Australia. You can’t book trips from Seattle, at least not yet, but those in Australia can fly to either LAX or beyond to Seattle. What happens if you choose Seattle? Take a look.

09_02_03 vaustraliaalaskalink

It doesn’t appear to be a codeshare, because it shows as an Alaska Airlines flight number, but you can book the entire itinerary on the V Australia site. This just seems so strange to me. V Australia’s Sydney flight gets you to LA at 430p (that shifts to 5p later on in the year). Those flying to Seattle come over to Terminal 3 at LAX, but instead of taking the 710p flight to Seattle on Virgin America, they’ll take one of several Alaska flights around the same time.

On the way home, Alaska makes you sit at LAX for almost 4 hours before the V Australia flight goes back to Sydney. On the other hand, Virgin America could get you to LA with only 1 hour 10 minute layover, something that’s just about perfect for a domestic to international connection that doesn’t require changing terminals.

I’m not sure why Virgin America isn’t carrying this traffic, but it absolutely should be doing it. Why hasn’t this codeshare happened yet?

[Updated 2/2 @ 528p to fix codeshare language]

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21 Comments on "V Australia Will Get You To Seattle with Alaska, Not Virgin America"

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Could this be a sign of concern from Virgin over the future of Virgin America?

Nick Barnard

Hmm.. Hasn’t V Australia basically given Branson et al the finger, since I think they’re not owned in any way shape or form by Branson. Maybe they want Virgin America to fail?


I am anticipating the codeshare. It makes perfect sense that there would be a partnership. I wonder if they’re keeping things in the dark for now. There could still be all that red tape that VX is trying to take care of right now…let alone be a profitable carrier on their own.


1. Perhaps V Australia went with AS because AS has better frequency to SEA and still shares T3 at LAX. AS certainly is prone to partner with other airlines liberally.

2. Perhaps V Australia went with AS to avoid antitrust problems.

eponymous coward

The quote from an AS insider on FT was that it’s a prorated fare, not a codeshare. Please note that the AS flight number is listed on that page, whereas you’d think a codeshare would read something like “Virgin Australia flight (some high four digit number) operated by Alaska Airlines” (which is how QF codeshares with AS show up, as actual QF flight numbers).

I would assume the VX-VA codeshare happens at some point.

Michael Wardlow
The AS arrangement is a Special Prorate Agreement, not a codeshare. The reason they’re not selling the 1:10 layover on the return per your suggestion: it’s not a valid connection. Minimum connect time is 90 minutes domestic to international @ LAX. Speculating here – even under ‘open skies’ bilateral agreements, some codeshares may still require regulatory approval, and that may not have happened yet – esp. considering V Australia hasn’t yet inaugurated service. Also, SPA agreements are pretty easy to set up under IATA standards; codeshares and especially FFP agreements require a great deal more negotiation, therefore time. More speculative:… Read more »
Ellis Taylor
Hmm, Michael I think the view from down here (in Australia) is that control shouldn’t be an issue. The Australian government’s long held policy on ownership is that as long as the head office is in Australia and 51 per cent is owned by Australian shareholders, there generally aren’t any other conditions. It may be an issue on the US side (especially given the DOT didn’t like the original VA chief), but when it comes to working with a foreign carrier, surely it shouldn’t pose an issue. Of course, I am happy to be proven wrong on that front. It’s… Read more »
David SF eastbay

Right now VA only has ticketing agreements with AS, CO, NW, DL so they couldn’t do anything with VX right now since they wouldn’t be able to issue tickets (paper or electronic) on them.

Someone mentioned connection time which is set at 1hr 30mins connecting from a AS domestic flight to an outgoing international flight. 2hrs is needed from VA international arrive to a domestic connection. That is from Apollo and Sabre checking LAX connection time between AS and VA.

Michael Wardlow
CF – 90 minutes is the minimum connect time distributed in the GDS for SEA-SYD via LAX. Travel agencies would see a prompt when they tried to book it, and online systems shouldn’t be able to display or close the record with a 1:10 connection. Without a valid MCT, the airline(s) would not be responsible for reaccomodating passengers. I can see some travelers saying ‘OK but 70 minutes is no problem’ – but they would also have to know that if their VX flight was slightly delayed and they missed their connection, there would be no sympathy for them at… Read more »
Michael Wardlow
MCTs for connections between flights of a single airline, yes – but even this can be incredibly complex. The governing airport authority and regulatory/security officials can and usually will be involved. And frequently, airlines won’t want to invite or create connections because they can get higher yields off of the individual segments. When it’s two different airlines – and VA and VX are definitely two different airlines – then you have a host of other issues – especially baggage – to deal with. But as Sfeastbay pointed out, VA and VX don’t even issue each others’ tickets. VX in fact… Read more »

Think this has anything to do with the Virgin America financial statements released today?

To me it looks as if the Virgin company plans on cutting Virgin America.

Henry Harteveldt

According to a Virgin executive I spoke with, the issue here is the AiRES reservations system that VX uses.

For now, it appears that VX can’t do interline ticketing in AiRES. They’re working on system improvements that will allow both interline and codeshare. I’m told there are no government issues/concerns with VX and V Australia. The US government focus has been and appears to remain on the relationship between VX and VS, since Sir Richard has a higher ownership stake in VS.

Papa Pancho

I dont think the above statement is entirely correct that VX cannot and will not do business with VA. The system integration testing has already commenced and the business will soon flourish. No worries.


hi i just want not know about the flight between america to china.