Why ‘Fly Ahead’ is one of Virgin Australia’s best Velocity perks

Open to Gold and Platinum flyers, the ability to change to an earlier flight for free is a key difference from Virgin rivals.

By Staff Writers, December 8 2023
Why ‘Fly Ahead’ is one of Virgin Australia’s best Velocity perks

It’s a common scenario, booking flights around specific events or meetings, only for plans to change at the last minute, suddenly leaving you with a lot more time on your hands.

Rather than lingering in the lounge, you may be eligible to hop on an earlier Virgin Australia flight – for free. 

The ability to ‘Fly Ahead’ is exclusive to Velocity Gold and Velocity Platinum members and up to three guests travelling on certain fare types. It’s also a key difference between Virgin Australia and Qantas, with the Red Roo not offering it as a published perk, even to its top-tier Platinum One members.

Flying ahead is of course subject to seats being available on that earlier flight, but if they are, the perk could see you arriving at your destination several hours ahead of schedule.

Eligible Fly Ahead fares vary between Velocity Platinum and Gold members.
Eligible Fly Ahead fares vary between Velocity Platinum and Gold members.

 

Fly Ahead for Velocity Gold: eligible fares

Gold-plated jetsetters can request Fly Ahead for themselves and up to three guests on the same booking, as long as they are travelling on one of the following fares:

  • Economy Flex
  • Economy Reward
  • Business Class
  • Business Class Reward
  • Business Class Upgrade

Note that Economy Choice and Lite fares are not eligible for Fly Ahead if you hold Velocity Gold status; passengers on a group booking are also not able to request Fly Ahead.

Fly Ahead for Velocity Platinum: eligible fares

The list of eligible Fly Ahead fares for Velocity Platinum members is slightly more generous:

  • Economy Choice
  • Economy Flex
  • Economy Reward
  • Business Class
  • Business Class Reward
  • Business Class Upgrade

As with Velocity Golds, the Fly Ahead option remains off the table for Economy Lite fares and group bookings.

One unique Platinum Fly Ahead perk is that you can move onto a flight up to two hours before your previously booked departure on the ‘golden triangle’ routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; for all other destinations, you can only move to the flight immediately prior.

Fly Ahead can be requested for you and up to three others travelling on the same booking.
Fly Ahead can be requested for you and up to three others travelling on the same booking.

How to request Fly Ahead on Virgin Australia

You can request to Fly Ahead in person at the airport check-in counter or at the Virgin Australia lounge, with the added option for phoning the call centre if you hold Platinum status.

Moving onto an earlier flight is of course not guaranteed, and you need to request at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time (while the flight is still open for check-in).

Platinum frequent flyers can also call the Virgin Guest Contact Centre up to one hour prior to the scheduled departure of the flight they wish to move to.

Things to note about Virgin Australia Fly Ahead

Fly Ahead requests made in the lounge will only be accepted if you are travelling solely with carry-on bags. However, checked luggage is allowed on Fly Aheads if you’re requesting a change at the check-in counter.

If you’re flying in Virgin Australia business class, meals are not always guaranteed if you move to an earlier flight.

But if you’ve eaten at the lounge or are heading home early for dinner, that may be of little consequence – especially on shorter flights.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 689

Qantas offer a 'fly ahead' option?  Over the last 2 weeks, when catching up with business colleagues for drinks prior to the Christmas break, they've all shared a common complaint about Qantas' frequency of 'forced fly behind' - turning up for their scheduled flight to find it has been cancelled and they've been shifted back 1, 2 or 3 flights instead (on both domestic and international flights.  None were offered of a refund, simply told you will now fly on this flight number at this materially later time.    

Kudos to Virgin (and Ms Hrdlicka) for 'Fly Ahead', which I've used twice in C23 (albeit moving from Business into Economy seating due to there being only 8 business seats/plane).  

05 Aug 2023

Total posts 4

I regularly use VA Fly Ahead, as a platinum.  Which is very good and advantageous on transcontinentals, where the flight prior may get you 4 hours earlier home...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

They've had that policy for years, however good to see it pop up again as a news item. VAmk1 used to have a below-the-line "show and go" policy as well for quiet times before peak on the triangle - they were happy to fling you off earlier if they had a hunch the rest of the day was going to be a shambles. Not sure if they have it now. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2016

Total posts 58

Being a QFF Platinum never understood why Qantas have never done this and have asked several times in their lounge.  

Have always been able to get it with SQ, Malaysian Airlines and Cathay.  You never know what happens later in the day, i.e., storms, so isn't it easier to get people home if there are vacant seats.  The downside for the airline is putting you up in a hotel overnight.  Just don't understand the Qantas thinking or is it that they try and earn the change fee!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Feb 2014

Total posts 14

Great work Virgin and I have used this a number of times.  Just this week I used it at the check-in counter as I had luggage and it was really easy.  Thank you VA as you make it more enjoyable to fly with you.   PS.  I am Platinum with QF and VA and never had any luck with QF getting moved onto earlier flights unless you are in Syd and the weather has changed.  

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jun 2020

Total posts 10

Sounds great in theory most virgin flights are booked solid and recent cancelations mean you likely to fly at all , fly ahead was a great addition to service  5 years ago , not today it like winning the lotto. That’s of the flight leave and not cancelled 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 561

@Robertk767

Agreed. It appears that VA is overbooking more than usual in their network particularly this weekend which meant a cancellation of flight even when more than 24 hours advanced notice, can create a lot of havoc and issues to fit the affected pax on later flights 

Nevertheless the QF management needs to take a leaf out of whatever VA marketing is do (or maybe porch some of their senior staff) since whether VA is doing (or rather not doing) it seems to the VA fans they can do no wrong despite their fares coming close to QF’s on the golden triangle routes nowadays, so much so I had to try out REx’s year 12-work-experience student quality website to check the “real alternative” fares (no dice, unusable flight times). Also has experienced various cancellation/rebooking at the gate (together with the rest of the pax) over the last couple of months (while QF and JQ wasn’t affected by whatever excuses - weather or air traffic controller shortage - is giving).

And come this week onwards VA flyers will need to lookout for industrial action by VA staff so this Xmas New Year  period will be an interesting one.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 561

I don’t usually check in until 4-6 hours before my QF flights, and sometimes the website or the kiosks (if I have been really disorganised) offers 1 or 2 earlier flight options, probably in anticipation of late plane arrival of departing flights or weather/network issues causing system wide delays, or just a lot of spare seats available on some earlier flights; don’t think my Gold status have anything to do with it, although I am happy to be proven wrong.

Of course, it is not a regular or published privilege of QF Gold or higher tier, but for VA Gold you need to be on a flex ticket for Y class tickets anyway. And J class spare capacity on most VA metal is limited to accommodate flyer ahead requests 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 66

I am QF Plat. several time a year I go to Sydney for a shareholders meeting.. some don't last too long. Twice (in the past 3 years) I have rocked up to the Qantas business lounge counter and got an early flight home. I don't have baggage on that flight.  Good service.

?? Will Virgin still be flying. talk of strikes etc. Branson  isn't a happy chappy ( a few days ago)

05 Aug 2023

Total posts 4

Talk of strikes? Cabin crew have one a generous offer, it seems.


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