Virgins Hook Up

Alliances, V Australia, Virgin America

The long awaited day is here. Virgin America and V Australia have finally entered into an interline agreement. It’s a V Australia and Virgin America Start Interliningfairly limited set-up right now thanks to technical limitations, but eventually it will become a full-fledged interline and codeshare agreement.

So what do I mean when I say it’s fairly limited? Well, as of now, it can only be booked via V Australia’s call center or a travel agent. Starting June 8, you can also book on on the V Australia website. But nothing can be handled from the Virgin America side of the house.

There is also no frequent flier reciprocity at this point. You can only earn frequent flier points in the program of the operating carrier. That means Velocity points for the Transpacific flight and eleVAte points for the domestic US run.

So why is this so limited? It’s the same thing that prevented this whole thing from getting off the ground until now . . . technical issues on Virgin America’s side. According to Virgin America spokesperson Abby Lunardini, Virgin America and V Australia are “working towards reciprocal interline and codesharing agreements ultimately. We hope to have that functionality in our VX systems sometime in 2010.” The timeline is similar for reciprocal frequent flier earning, though that should be in early 2010.

Until then, at least you’ll be able to transfer your bags directly.

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20 comments on “Virgins Hook Up

  1. I read this yesterday and wondered if you would mention it since it was a blog not to long ago.

    It is amazing that all the Virgin products wouldn’t have been planed out from the start to all be inter linked when the time came. Assuming no government objections since it involves many different countries.

    Doesn’t it seem to be run like they were all different airlines that Virgin purchased and is now trying to link them all together? Doesn’t make sense in away since all were new products started by Virgin.

  2. Better than what you can do between Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America, which is nothing! Well, you do get junk emails from both!

  3. As I’ve alluded to in comments before, Virgin Atlantic moving into LAX T3 and codeshare between all 3 V’s would be most convenient to travelers and likely beneficial to all three carriers. This would require US customs/immigration returning to T3. TWA had flights from London and Paris to T3 until the early 90s so I suppose at least some of the infrastructure is set up.

  4. Early 2010? Will there still be a Virgin America? I had high hopes for a low coast carrier with its central hub in SFO but its financing/ownership issues and its passenger loads make me wonder…

  5. David SF – Yeah, it does seem to be odd the way they’ve gone about trying to link the airlines after the fact, but that might have been part of the play to make sure these were viewed as indepedent entities (as Nicholas said). I’m just not sure.

    ShaneLAX – I’m not sure that there ever was a customs/immigration facility there. Are you sure TWA didn’t process passengers in Bradley or T2? I don’t think the Atlantic and America link up is that big of a deal, because Virgin America doesn’t really bring Virgin Atlantic much at all. Think about it. Where can Virgin America get Virgin Atlantic passengers that Virgin Atlantic doesn’t already fly? You’ve got Seattle and Orange County. Not exactly the most important partnership to focus on, I’d think.

    Doug – By Blue, do you mean V Australia? Just trying to clarify. I bet we’ll see them in SF at some point.

  6. Yeah, I meant Australia. I get my Virgins mixed up sometimes. I doubt we’ll see them at SF at some point. The demand isn’t there. It’s Qantas, United, Air New Zealand, US Airways that are the players and Qantas and ANZ only have one flight a day (ANZ doesn’t fly direct every day of the week though apparently). If those “locals” don’t think it’s worth more than one flight a day out of SFO, I don’t see V Australia doing it. The real competition is in LA. The ticket prices are cheaper on a lot of airlines if you fly through LA. But not on United. For some reason it’s more expensive.

    But if V Australia did enter the SFO market, it would be bad news for United and US Airways.

  7. Looks like AIRes (Virgin’s Res system) is still dropping the ball, they promised my airline they’d have interline e-ticketing available last summer, that is a key component to any interline agreement. Its a snazzy res system as long as you are only dealing with online travel (same airline connections).

    Some of these new age res systems are promising the world to their clients (airlines) and failing to deliver. This is one reason that JetBlue and WestJet are migrating over to Sabre, and why it took Mokulele so long to get in all the distribution channels — its not as easy as many folks think to interline and offer e-ticketing.

  8. Being an ex TWA employee I can say TWA used the Bradley terminal for arrivals from LHR and CDG. The empty plane would then be spun around and towed right there to the T3 gate for departure. If your timing was off and you were on the TWA employee shuttle bus you’d have to stop and wait for the Intl crew to exit the Bradley terminal before heading off to the employee parking lot which would slow you down. At least the drivers won’t wait to long for them…

  9. How Many “Virgin” Airlines Are There?
    How Many Different Ones Are There?
    I Know of:
    Virgin America
    V Australia
    Virgin Atlantic
    What Other Ones Are There?

  10. US Travel….. besides the three you listed, there is also Virgin Nigeria and Virgin Blue. V Australia already is codesharing in Australia with Virgin Blue so one day Virgiin America should be next.

  11. Sorry I forgot to list also Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue which are also in the South Pacific.

  12. I thought Virgin Nigeria was basically a dead airline walking? They pulled out of Europe, didn’t they?

  13. Virgin Nigeria website just says they are suspending (for now) their two long haul flight to London and Johannesburg. Their domestic and regional flights will still operate.

  14. Sorry to dig up this old post…. does anyone think it’s weird that V Australia is now pursuing a relationship with Delta? Is Virgin Blue/V Australia becoming the “Alaska Airlines of the South Pacific” — i.e., codesharing with everyone in sight?

  15. Very timely comment, Johan. I just posted about this today, so let’s move the discussion over to the new topic.

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