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    Steve Biddle

    What’s everybody’s thoughts on this split? I can see plenty of pros and cons to this move, so it’d be interesting to see how those who are frequent flyers feel about the upcoming changes.



    I always avoided Virgin flights when booking flights between New Zealand and Australia so doesn’t have much of an impact for me.


    Yeah I went out of my way to avoid virgin flights too, my first experience was awful.


    I don’t fly that route often and when I do, I usually go Air NZ so I can’t see it would make much difference to me.


    I’m pleased. Only way to get from Christchurch to Brisbane early in the day was to take Virgin, and both times we did it in the last year, they managed to mess something up!

    What really annoyed me was both AirNZ and Virgin pointed finger at each other (“It’s their fault”, “No, it’s their fault”).
    I even had a staff member at the AirNZ Koru lounge tell me “Yeah, we’ve been having trouble for a long time and the AirNZ CEO wants to end the relationship”.

    So I guess it was true.


    Yeah, I’m glad too, from Christchurch most of the return flights I had to take from Sydney or Melbourne were on Virgin. The staff seemed friendly enough, but their planes and service were so inferior. And not being able to seat select drove me nuts.

    Steve Biddle

    I can see plenty of advantages of the tie up, especially for NZ pax flying in Australia, and AU pax flying in NZ. These advantages hopefully do continue though with the interline agreement that will be signed.

    On the actual Trans Tasman routes however it was a very different story with VA pax definitely ending up being the winners from this.

    I’ve been lucky enough to only have to fly VA on the 1-2 times per year I visit Brisbane (they fly the WLG-BNE exclusively) and every experience has been a bad one. I promised myself I would never fly them again after the disaster with my last trip, so haven’t been over this year so far as my girlfriend things flying to Brisbane via Auckland is a stupid idea!




    What did they do to make your trip such a memorable disaster?!

    Steve Biddle

    What did they do to make your trip such a memorable disaster?!

    Got a NZ app notification at 3am which woke me up 30 mins before my alarm saying the 6am VA flight to BNE was delayed for 2 1/2 hours. Got out of bed at alarm time of 3:30 (need to be at the airport at 4:30 rather than my usual 5:00 on NZ for a 6:00 NZ flight due to the fact check-in is so slow on VA) to see the VA and Wellington airport websites showed no such delay.

    Rang NZ to ask why they were saying there was a delay and was told they didn’t know the exact reason but the flight was delayed. Left home at 4:00 for the drive to the airport and rang VA on the way to see if they had any more info, took 15 mins to answer and they said there were no delays and the flight was definitely on time so kept driving.

    Got to the airport at 4:30 to see 150+ people in a queue because the flight was delayed due to a sick crew member and they weren’t opening check-in until they could confirm a crew member would be available ex CHC for the service.

    Check-in opened around 5:00 with the premium check-in staff saying a new crew member would be on the 7am NZ flight from CHC. The airport screens and VA websites still showed a 6:00 departure for the flight.

    They handed out vouchers ($10 I recall) to pax but didn’t seem to offer them to those with lounge access.

    This meant a 3 hr wait in Koru until 8:00 when boarding commenced which could have been spent enjoying a sleep in at home. Even as we boarded the VA website still showed an on-time 6:00 departure for the flight!

    Then got to BNE and experienced a 45 min wait for bags due to VA staffing issues. I guess that could have easily affected a NZ flight as well, but on top of an already delayed flight it really just added to the pain.

    Yes it’s really a first first problem at the end of the day – we made it to BNE on the same day and I had a lounge to wait in, but the poor communication processes really just join the list on ongoing issues I’ve experienced on pretty much every flight with them.


    Adam Jobbins

    I fly VA a bit for work, and for the last couple of years I’ve had VA gold status. My biggest concern now is losing reciprocal lounge access with Air NZ. When we travel to NZ (usually a few times a year) I generally fly NZ because I get my status benefits, even thought it’s usually not the cheapest option. If I lose reciprocal access to NZ lounges and other FF benefits on NZ I’ll likley fly VA directly.

    VA do have a problem however – they don’t operate any international lounges – so they are going to have to partner with someone for lounge access for international pax. Currently they direct all their international passengers on VA metal to the NZ lounges in Australia, but do have a number of partners in other places.

    VA have come a long way from the old Virgin Blue days, but for a while struggled to shake all of their LCC legacy. For domestic AU travel, I really don’t find much of a difference these days between QF and VA – the only real exception being that QF do have a few more flights between MEL and SYD on A330’s, which I far prefer to the B738’s both VA and QF mostly fly this route – especially in J where the QF A330 Business Suite is awesome (if not a bit wasted on such a short route).


    The fact they’re supposedly working through things makes me hopeful there’s some reciprocal benefits left over after the divorce. Time will tell.

    I can only see a few pros.

    – if you book NZ then you fly NZ (more an issue for those unaware you could land on VA).

    – maybe some more routes and frequency from NZ although they only have so many aircraft so I wonder if this would impact other routes or if there’s enough redundancy in the fleet to accommodate these changes. I doubt the frequency and scheduling would be up to the current alliance levels though.


    The rest are all cons!!

    Have to admit I’ve become a bit fond of VAs economy X.

    Steve Biddle

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see the ultimate outcome really just being VA pulling out of most TT services but much of the current alliance benefits still remaining in more of a traditional code share agreement. There has obviously significant conflict between both airlines at a management level, but they both do still need each other at an operational level.

    The customer complaints particularly to NZ have been significant. It was a huge loss of profit when NZ had to stop selling Works fares on VA services but that happened only because they had to do something about the issue.

    NZ do still need the connecting traffic inside Australia, and VA connecting pax inside NZ would still be a reasonable sized market.

    The big question is really just whether VA will remain as a TT carrier or whether they’ll replace it with Tiger and go down the low cost route.

    I see NZs biggest issue being confusion in the marketplace with their S2S offering. There are still lots of people who don’t understand it, and more importantly think that QF for example is “better value because you don’t have to pay extra for a meal” because they don’t understand fare buckets and the fact the NZ seat only fare basis is priced under a QF economy seat at the same level.



    I actually don’t want VA to pull out TT. Some VA people will hop to QF so NZ won’t see them. But will have to wait and see.

    I saw a billboard with Qantas saying “we won’t let you fly hungry”😂 totally playing on NZs seat, seat + bag fares.

    For some people food even TT is important. I think NZs fares are clear on all this when booking though.

    Just saw this about delta potentially flying to NZ😬.

    NZ won’t be getting any feed from VA if that happens!

    QF may codeshare with CI TT and they have some brilliant fares.

    Crazy chain reactions. Although delta have probably been watching UA & AA closely on the route anyway.

    NZ have some great fares to entice Aussies to the Americas but I don’t know if that’s enough especially considering Aussie home factors eg loyalty, ground earning and other competing airlines directly out of Oz with connections to the US.

    From a frequent flyer perspective I think SQ would be the program for Aussies to earn with VA & Air NZ. Tougher from a status point of view but at least can fly both & earn.


    Actually I just remembered VA has delta and AC partners out of Oz plus their own planes which greatly reduces reliance on NZ to the America’s for VA flyers.

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