Virgin “Fly Ahead”: A Worthwhile Benefit?

Virgin Australia offers a number of extra status benefits above those provided to Qantas frequent flyers. One of these is “Fly Ahead”. Essentially, this benefit grants Gold and Platinum members of Virgin’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program the ability to change to an earlier flight for free, should they arrive at the airport early. This benefit applies to passengers on both Flexi and Saver tickets.

In theory, this is a valuable benefit. But one Platinum Virgin flyer was recently dismayed by Virgin’s refusal to move them to an earlier flight on a Flexi ticket. In a hurry to return to Sydney, this member ended up forfeiting their original fare and buying a new ticket on an earlier service. This member is disappointed at what they perceive as Virgin failing to honour an advertised benefit of Platinum status.

Just got to the airport four hours before my 4pm flight SYD – MEL, as I had to urgently get back to SYD. I was on a flexi ticket and VA WP. Asked to service desk in the lounge to fly forward and they said no availability sorry(didn’t even look it up on his computer). I went online where seats were showing on the 2pm and 3pm both economy and business.

Looks like fly forward only applies when it’s convenient for VA.

Our members share mixed views on this issue. While some sympathise with our member, others are quick to point out that Virgin is within their rights to deny a Fly Ahead request. The Velocity program terms & conditions explicitly state that requests are not guaranteed. The T&Cs also state that Fly Ahead will only be granted if a seat in the same or a lower fare class is available at the time of the request. It is possible that all seats in the equivalent fare class were sold out. Fly Ahead is also not allowed if the passenger has checked in luggage, though this rule is rarely enforced in our members’ experience.

Some members believe that Virgin has recently become less flexible in allowing passengers to fly ahead.

Apparently fly-ahead is taken advantage of & they are cracking down (or so I heard in Bris).

Nonetheless, many members have reported positive Fly Ahead experiences. They have found Virgin staff to be, on the whole, helpful and accommodating.

Some members comment that success may depend on the lounge, as well as the staff on duty at the time.

Wow, pretty rough stories here. I’ve had exceptionally good experiences flying ahead and with Sydney premium entry.

Qantas does not allow passengers on cheaper Red-e-Deal tickets to change to an earlier flight free of charge, unless there is a “flow forward” in place. This generally only occurs during irregular operations, such as in the event of a flight cancellation or poor weather.

Discuss your Fly Ahead experiences HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]