Virgin vs Qantas: Apples and Oranges?

Virgin Australia has gone to great lengths to compete with Qantas since it was rebranded from Virgin Blue. But according to one member, there are two reasons that Virgin and its Velocity Frequent Flyer program cannot be compared to Qantas and its frequent flyer program.

The first reason is Virgin’s underwhelming on-board catering. Virgin creates high expectations by advertising free food and drinks on all flights. But the airline consistently under-delivers by providing snacks such as a single biscuit or half-size muesli bar during meal times. By comparison, Qantas serves a full hot meal on many domestic flights.

This member is also unimpressed that passengers must pay for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on the vast majority of flights. Our members believe Virgin would be better off either improving their catering or removing the free snack altogether.

The second grievance relates to Virgin’s international partner airline network. This member has flown with many of Virgin’s partners. They’ve found that Velocity status is not always recognised.

As Virgin is not in an alliance, there are also many gaps in lounge access for Velocity members flying partner airlines. For example, lounge access is not available when flying South African Airways from Perth, Singapore Airlines out of Wellington or almost any Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Our member acknowledges that Virgin has some great employees. The airline is also more reliable than Australia’s low-cost carriers. But they have decided to switch back to Qantas for these two reasons.

Many of our members agree with the analysis. Some members avoid flying Virgin because of these issues. But others continue to use the airline for other reasons. One Platinum Velocity member says they still prefer Virgin as they are treated well, can choose seats with extra legroom and can change to an earlier flight for free. Another member maintains status with Virgin because the lower status credit thresholds, family pooling and the ability to earn Velocity status credits at Coles make this easier than with Qantas.

Do you agree with our member’s conclusions? Share your thoughts 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]