Over the past few years, as Virgin Australia underwent their transformation led from the top by John Borghetti, partnerships have been formed with new airlines to grow the network. These partnerships in many instances are meant to replicate the experience of flying with Virgin, when it comes to elite status benefits. Priority check in, lounge access and priority boarding can be expected according to the Velocity website. But it seems someone has forgotten to tell the odd partner!
Flew Virgin America from New York to Los Angeles this week and was disappointed about the lack of recognition for status pax given what VA advertises as status benefits. Boarding pass – states your velocity number but no indication of status. Boarding – says we get priority boarding. I joined the queue and got told they were not boarding my zone yet but let me through when I displayed my velocity card (thankfully on my hand luggage).
In fairness to Virgin America, their own program has only seen elite levels introduced recently. They are probably still getting used to the differences. And they also only have one lounge, located at Los Angeles, which is why lounge facilities don’t get a mention. It seems their systems don’t even recognise the status levels of Virgin Australia members, as a result, some of our members prefer other partners.
In North America, the other alternative is Delta. With a more mature program, and a plethora of lounges, things are much more likely going to be in your favour. Although sometimes, you might need to use a little persuasion.
I write this from seat 47C on what I think is a 757 Delta flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles. As VA Gold I got the priority check in, priority baggage, priority boarding, lounge access (had to explain to one lounge dragon to look at my boarding pass as she tried to fob me off with “you’re not in first class sir”) but a seat in the last row of the plane.
Closer to home, another member reports mixed results with Singapore Airlines. Smooth sailing on the flight out but troubles on the return. It seems even an airline with a long history of status benefits can get it wrong. It seems the key to getting what is advertised is to pick the right airline if you have a choice. And carry that Velocity card, keeping it handy for quick access.
Have you had issues with getting the advertised benefits when travelling as a Velocity member with status? Perhaps you have an idea on how the situation can be improved by Virgin Australia, why not join the conversation HERE.