V Australia emergency in Los Angeles: knock-on delays and cancellations?

By John Walton, April 15 2011
V Australia emergency in Los Angeles: knock-on delays and cancellations?

Update: V Australia has chartered an Air New Zealand Boeing 747 to ferry passengers home and to minimise subsequent impact to the airline's schedule, according to FlightGlobal's Will Horton.

Air New Zealand has a couple of 747s spare after the delivery of replacement Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this year.

Previously: V Australia passengers are likely to suffer changes to their flight schedules after the airline's Los Angeles-Sydney flight VA02 made an emergency aborted takeoff at LAX airport last night. One of the Boeing 777-300ER's engines failed, with passengers reporting a loud bang and flames shooting from the engine.

The Virgin Blue subsidiary played down the emergency, saying "VA02 from Los Angeles to Sydney last night made a ground return to the terminal as a precautionary measure as the pilot had an issue with the performance of the left engine."

Passengers were stuck in Los Angeles overnight, with visitors put up in hotels and local residents promised compensation for transport costs for trip home from LAX.

"V Australia is working to minimise delays to all guests with a chartered Boeing 747 to operate today to maintain scheduled services from Australia," the airline said.

Impact across the network

Clearly, the 777-300ER will need some repairs before it can leave Los Angeles, which means that the airline's schedules to LA and Abu Dhabi may well be affected by delays. V Australia only has five planes, so may not have enough backup to avoid last-minute changes to flights.

Passengers with bookings over the next few days should contact V Australia to find out whether their flight is likely to be affected. 

From Australia, the number is 13 82 87, while in the US it's 1-800 444-0260. From elsewhere in the world, or if using an online VOIP service like Skype (which often doesn't recognise Australian short numbers) it's +61 7 3333 6888.

Your options

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, first ask V Australia to transfer you to direct flights on partners Delta (from LA) or Etihad (from Abu Dhabi). Airlines are generally more likely to transfer you to their partners rather than other airlines.

If there's no room on Delta from LA, try connecting through Auckland on Air New Zealand, which is a Virgin Blue/V Australia partner. Rerouting onto Air NZ should be easier than onto airlines like United and Qantas, which are in direct competition. This is a decent option for passengers who were planning to connect through Sydney to other Australian cities.

If there's no space on those flights, then push to be put on other airlines' flights. United and Qantas fly direct from LA to Australia, while from Abu Dhabi you can connect through Dubai on Emirates to Australian destinations.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 1

"The Virgin Blue subsidiary played down the emergency"  Emergency? Really? An aborted takeoff is an aborted takeoff. So, humour me... just what was the emergency?

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Well, I'm pretty sure that it counts as an emergency when an engine is on fire (airline crew quoted in FG: "fireball out of your number one engine"). Aborted takeoffs, while reasonably common, are by definition not routine events.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Thanks for pointing that out -- we've included that as an update at the top of the story.

(Our readers and Twitter followers are awesome: three people had tweeted us/commented here about the NZ 747 before FlightGlobal's Will Horton had even posted about it on Twitter!)

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