Holding onto a Future Flight Credit note from Virgin Australia? Then you’d better move fast, as these flight credits expire on 31 December, 2023.
And that’s not just the deadline for booking a flight – you’ll actually need for that flight to take place no later than 31 December.
So what’s the difference?
Covid Credits – also known as Standard Credits – cover Virgin Australia bookings and cancellations between from 21 April 2020 through 31 July 2022, and their expiry date has been extended to June 2025.
That includes the early days of the pandemic shut-down, beginning with the grounding of Virgin’s international flights and, later, almost all domestic flights.
All flights before 20 April 2020 were converted into what Virgin later categorised as Future Flight Credits during the company’s administration process prior to its sale to US private investment firm Bain Capital in June 2020.
“The new Virgin Australia does not hold any of the funds customers paid for these bookings,” a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller, as those passengers fell into the legion of ‘unsecured creditors’ when the airline collapsed.
“Future Flight Credits were issued to customers who had purchased flights with Virgin Australia before the company entered Administration on 20 April 2020, where those flights were cancelled.”
Bain’s decision to convert the value of their bookings into Future Flight Credits was made as an act of ‘goodwill’, although it came with a fixed expiry of 31 December 2023.
“Approximately 3.5 million seats have been made available on VA-operated flights for Future Flight Credit holders, and approximately 1.5 million of those seats have been used,” the Virgin spokesperson adds.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has acknowledged Virgin Australia’s Future Flight Credits are different to Covid Credits, and so the clock’s ticking towards the ‘use it or lose it’ date.
Of course, the challenge is not only that you have to book and fly by 31 December, but airfares are now much higher than they were in the early days of 2020, so your credit will likely only go part of the way towards your freshly-issued ticket.
As previously reported, while Qantas has scrapped the expiry date on refunds from flights cancelled during the pandemic, bookings under Covid credit must be made by 31 December 2023, although they can be for flights through to December 2024.