A little under ten years ago, when Virgin America and what was then V Australia were in their formative years, there was much talk of the formation of a “Virgin Alliance”.
In February 2009, the then CEOs of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and V Australia gathered in Los Angeles to talk up the concept of a new fourth alliance to rival Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam.
Sir Richard Branson, who then also hoped to set up new Virgin airlines in Brazil and Russia, flew around the world to show that you could now fly around the world London Heathrow – Hong Kong – Sydney – Los Angeles – London Heathrow on Virgin branded airlines.
Much has changed since then. Virgin America has been acquired by Alaska Airlines and the brand will soon disappear. Virgin Atlantic suspended its Sydney service in 2014. What is now Virgin Australia has undergone numerous changes to its structure and is now owned by Etihad, Singapore Airlines, HNA Aviation Group and others.
After a long period of inactivity, Virgin Atlantic has launched a new codeshare arrangement with Virgin Australia from Sunday 25 March 2018.
It is now possible to book, via Virgin Atlantic, flights from London to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney via Los Angeles.
From a cursory scan of flights online, this is not the most efficient way to fly to Australia due to length of the stopover in Los Angeles which takes the flight time to at least 30 hours. It is also of course conventional to fly from London to Australia eastbound via the Middle East or Asia. However, this may be an option for those who want to earn Virgin Flying Club miles or sample Virgin Australia. Note that some trans-pacific codeshare flights are operated by Delta which has a trans-pacific joint-venture with Virgin Australia.
Also note that whilst Virgin Australia offers economy, premium economy and business class as per Virgin Atlantic, the design of the cabin and seats differs. Full details of Virgin Australia’s in-flight cabins and amenities are available on its website.
We have seen announcements online referring to Virgin Australia’s recently launched Hong Kong – Melbourne route also being included in the codeshare. However, we can’t see any flights on sale at Virgin Atlantic at present.