Coronavirus: free Virgin Australia domestic, overseas flight changes

All passengers flying before June 30 can change their flights, or even their destination, at no charge.

By Chris Chamberlin , March 16 2020
Coronavirus: free Virgin Australia domestic, overseas flight changes

Virgin Australia passengers with domestic and international flight bookings for travel until June 30 2020 can now change their travel dates – or even their destination – without paying the airline’s usual change fees.

Those with tickets on international flights who don’t wish to travel, such as because they’ll be subjected to 14 days of self-isolation when they return home, or even upon arrival overseas in places like New Zealand – can also cancel their journey and have the value retained in credit, to be used towards a future booking.

Here’s what you need to know.

Free changes for Virgin Australia domestic flights

All passengers with existing bookings for domestic travel between March 15 and June 30 2020 – as well as those who make new bookings to fly before June 30 2020 – can make one free change to their ticket, even if the fare type booked doesn't normally permit changes.

Travellers can change their flight dates and/or their destination as part of that one free change, for which the airline’s usual change fees will be waived.

For example, a passenger booked to fly from Sydney to Melbourne could simply move those flights to a new date, or could choose to visit a different destination instead: whether on the same date as originally booked, or a different date.

However, any fare difference versus the journey originally purchased remains payable – ditto any change in taxes, fees and charges as can vary when changing a journey to a different airport.

These free changes cannot be made online. Travellers should instead call Virgin Australia’s Guest Contact Centre on 13 67 89 to make their request. If your travel dates aren’t imminent, consider calling later in the week as the airline is currently reporting very high call volumes.

Passengers who booked their flight via a travel agent should instead contact their travel agent to request the change.

Free changes, cancellations for Virgin Australia international flights

Complimentary flight changes are also available for Virgin Australia passengers travelling internationally before June 30 2020.

As with domestic flights, passengers with an international booking can change their departure dates, destination, or both, without paying the usual change fees, including on fare types that aren’t otherwise flexible.

Any fare difference remains payable, along with any increase to taxes, fees and charges. However, international passengers get two free changes – just in case the flights you’ve rebooked onto are again unsuitable, or you’d still rather not travel at that time.

Passengers who booked their Virgin Australia international flight on or after March 12 (for travel before June 30) can make these changes via the Manage Booking section of the Virgin Australia website.

Bookings made before March 12 for international travel until June 30 can instead be changed via the Virgin Australia Guest Contact Centre (call 13 67 89).

Alternatively, international passengers can cancel their journey entirely and receive the value of their ticket as a ‘Travel Bank’ flight voucher, which can be applied towards a new booking down the track. This option is not available to domestic-only passengers, unless permitted under normal fare rules.

Bookings made a travel agent, however, can only be changed or cancelled by contacting that travel agent.

Virgin Australia had already begun cutting domestic and international flights late last week in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with further reductions flagged for New Zealand flights after the NZ Government announced new self-isolation restrictions on all international arriving passengers.

With Australia now implementing those same restrictions on all international arrivals – including returning citizens – a further reduction of international flights is to be expected across all airlines.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 May 2017

Total posts 10

what is the current commercial VA policy for pre booked travel to Mainland China on a SQ flight with a VA flight number.

Given the level 4 restriction for china specifically, are they allowing full refunds?

Hi jefflu88, have a look at our 'How to change or cancel travel to China due to the coronavirus' article, which covers VA codeshare flights operated by partners to Chinese destinations. However, best for you to contact Virgin Australia (or your travel agent, if you used one) to discuss your options.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 34

I had a flight from MEL-CAN via SIN on SQ booked as a VA ticket for late April, cancelled last Friday with no questions asked. I used Travel Bank to pay half and the other half on credit card, the Travel Bank half went back in there (with the original expiry date) and the credit card half went back on my CC.

16 Mar 2020

Total posts 2

I have paid for a business saver booking for Adelaide to Sydney on 26th Feb for a reunion. I won't be able to go because of th Covid19 virus. I am trying to get someone in Virgin Australia. Wish to cancel it but we don't know the new date for the reunion. Can I get a refund

16 Mar 2020

Total posts 2

I meant 26th march,

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Yes, if you are booked in Business Saver you can get a Travel Credit or a Refund to the way that you paid (at agents discursion, if you mention COVID-19 shouldn't be a problem). If you do know the dates for your next flight you could change it to then once free of charge. (Remeber: if you cancel and get a refund you will be on the hock for the full fare if there is a higher price when you choose to travel.) Safe travels.

16 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Hi, We have flights booked to Kununurra in April but not looking likely to go (for a bday celebration) We dont have any further dates at this stage when we would need to travel - can we have our tickets on hold and select another date/destination in the future? Thanks

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Yes your tickets are still good for KNX unless it is cancelled due to reduced demand (check your emails over the next week or two to make shore).

Your option are: 1) cancel and get a refund (Travel Credit or a Refund to the way that you paid); or 2) change to a later date (Kimberley are beautiful and defiantly worth a visit in dry season and wet seasons too); or 3) change to another destination, you are on the hock for any fare differences but fees to rebook are waived (i.e. in practical terms: a travel credit that you can use for another destination).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Mar 2020

Total posts 3

I finally got through to Velocity tonight to change a FF booking and was told there would be a $35 change fee, I indicated that I read all changes were free if related to the virus - as soon as I mentioned the virus, the change fee was waived. The customer service officer said that the caller had to mention the virus for the fee to be waived...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Same for me, but the lady I was speaking to was also nudging me to say Covid-19. She was very helpful and friendly considering the amount of calls that they were receiving. Wait time about 35 Min for me as Platinum at 6PM ish. Also I booked another reward flight for this weekend and was able to cancel reward booking with no fees, points back in account soon (I think she said it might take 24 hours to show in account).

Thank you to any Virgin team members reading this, great job with current circumstances.

Expedia Group (expedia au, Wotif, Hotels.com) also waived fees for all three hotel booking over next 30 days. Even for non-refundable rooms (they call hotel and if hotel is ok with fee wave get money back in card in up to 7 working days). They said to contact your hotel first to make shore that they are waiving fees. Wait time was around 2 Hours before speaking to agent. Hopefully this can help someone else too.

Stay safe everyone.

Quantas

27 Jul 2015

Total posts 1

Hi Chris

I had a return flight booked for my wife from Perth to Sydney on Virgin travelling on 29/3/20 and returning on 4/4/20. Will I be able to hold the booking for a later date (date not fixed yet)? I am unable to contact Virgin on 136789 as they are currently only dealing with enquiries for flights within 24-48 hours. Also the Virgin website doesn't mention free changes on domestic flights, only international flights. Virgin US does clearly mention both domestic and international sectors. Could you please assist with my query.

Cheers

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Yes, you can change your dates once without a fee to change, but you may still need to pay any fare differences. Don't call till you know the dates that you wish to change to or cancel online and get a travel credit online (only works if you booked direct with Virgin Australia, otherwise contact your travel agent) and you can make a new booking and redeem your travel credit.

It is on Virgin Australia (.com.au) website for both domestic and International travel: https://travel.virginaustralia.com/au/coronavirus-update

17 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

We have flights booked, to fly from Mcy to Syd. Traveling between 3rd April to 6th April for a wedding, which now sadly has been postponed because of the Covid-19. No future date has been set for the Wedding, as yet. Can we get a full refund of our tickets?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Yes, refund back to the way that you paid (credit card, debit card etc.) or travel credit.

Remember if you cancel and get a refund, if you wish to travel at a later date (when you know the updated dates) then you might need to pay any fare differences.

17 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

US citizen traveling from New Zeland to Sydney then on to USA the following day. Should I anticipate any problems. Can't throw to airlines.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

What to expect: Long lines are immigration plus self-isolation during your transit if you leave the airport.

You have two options per new Australian Government regulations: 1) Stay at the Airport or 2) Self contain during your layover (in more practical terms go straight to your hotel from the airport and then go back to the airport on the day of departure, no sightseeing or business activities).

Direct quote: “If you have a layover, you must remain in the airport or self-isolate in your accommodation for the transit period.” from Australian Department of Health Advice for Foreign Travelers: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-international-travellers_0.pdf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

What to expect: Long lines are immigration plus self-isolation during your transit if you leave the airport.

You have two options per new Australian Government regulations: 1) Stay at the Airport or 2) Self contain during your layover (in more practical terms go straight to your hotel from the airport and then go back to the airport on the day of departure, no sightseeing or business activities).

Direct quote: “If you have a layover, you must remain in the airport or self-isolate in your accommodation for the transit period.” from Australian Department of Health Advice for Foreign Travelers: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-international-travellers_0.pdf

17 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

We had travel to the United States booked for travel on Sunday the 15th of March. With the growing fear of having to self isolate when we returned we chose to cancel on Friday 13th of March as we feel we didn't have much of a choice with California going into lock down and all of the theme parks & NBA closing.

When we called we were given the option to change or cancel. However to change was going to cost us quite a lot of money in the fare difference. We cancelled our flights and paid a lot in cancellation fees, only re-couping minimal money from our flights.

Is there anyway we can have the charge of the flights still put into credit instead? As we still wish to travel in the future and would happily put into new flights when this is all over and it's safe to travel.

Our flight money has not been refunded as yet and I have not received anything to say it has been processed.

Please advise of our options before I call the number and clog up the system.

Thank you kindly.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 30

Unfortunate as you cancelled before the policy change on Monday 16th March 2020 (even for travel during the included period for the updated policy) you probably won't get any more money back (even as a travel bank credit). Your departure flight wouldn't have been included in this updated policy as if you were scheduled to depart on Sunday 15th March 2020 before these changes came into effect.

You agreed to the terms and condition as per the conduct of carriage of the airline, they outline their policies that they have to follow for “Event Beyond Our Control” and when you get a full refund or not. (I know that this is not helpful for you as you have lost a good amount of money).

What I would recommend is as followed (long shot but possible): 1) try claiming on your travel insurance (your policy might offer cover for cancellation charges by airline), 2) Contact the airline by Post their address is: {Attention Guest Services - International Flights, Virgin Australia, P.O. Box 1034, Spring Hill Qld 4004, Australia}. and say something along the words of: due to changing government advice for Coronavirus (in Australia and United States) and with your policy update on 16th March 2020, as a good will gesture, could you kindly refund the cancelation fee for Booking XX due to be taken on XX to XX, which I cancelled on XX, I would be happy accepting a travel credit for my future travels. (plus give any more information in support of your case) Thank you. 3) Use the online general enquiry contact on Virgins website (https://www.virginaustralia.com/au/en/help/contact-us/reservation-enquiries/) and say same or similar to letter above.

Hold off calling as priority should be for immediate issues only, if you really want to call try in a week or two so that things can cool off.

(Credit Card refunds in Australia take normally 5 to 7 full business days to be in your account for Australian issued cards and up to 90 days for foreign issued cards)

AC
AC

03 Apr 2013

Total posts 2

It looks like that the free cancellation for travel credit also applies to domestic flights.

https://apps.virginaustralia.com/booking-cancellation/

Guests travelling within four weeks can request a cancellation of any domestic or international booking. The cost of your fare will be credited to a Virgin Australia Travel Bank. This will allow you to rebook your itinerary at your leisure within 12 months from cancellation of your original booking.

18 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Hi there,

Is there a cut off date to rebook/cancel flights? We booked in November 2019 to travel to Fiji in June 2020.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

I have a return booking from Gold Coast to Canberra on 23/03/20 and returning on 30/03/20 because I made my booking before March I am unable to cancel my booking on line, I have phoned Virgin a the message says that if you didn't intend to travel within the next 24 hours that I have to keep trying, I am an aged pensioner and want to cancel because of the Covid 19 virus but I want to make sure that I either get a refund or maybe the money to go into Travel bank as I'm not sure when I will be able to travel again as it will depend on the virus, will I be able to get a refund etc.

I have Virgin domestic flights booked for May 18th to Cairns return 24th May Due to Coronavirus holidays have been cancelled can I get a full refund.

AC
AC

03 Apr 2013

Total posts 2

From https://travel.virginaustralia.com/au/coronavirus-update

"we're providing flexibility on new and existing bookings for travel between 15 March and 30 June 2020. " [emphasis added]

"If your departure is not within 24 hours and you no longer wish to travel you may request a credit of your fare to Travel Bank with no cancellation fee. A Virgin Australia Travel Bank is valid for 12 months."

"To cancel, guests can request a Travel Bank credit online."

Link to request the booking cancellation online is https://apps.virginaustralia.com/booking-cancellation/

31 Dec 2014

Total posts 13

The more of these refunds that they can automate the better. I have a busines reward trip booking for early April and need to cancel (it was part of an onward international journey). I would like the points back and taxes paid. It doesn't look like the travel bank form will handle that. Is there any alternative or do I need to call the call centre?


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