Virgin Australia drops seat selection fee for Velocity Platinum, Gold frequent flyers

By David Flynn, August 23 2016

EXCLUSIVE | Virgin Australia will no longer require Velocity Platinum and Gold frequent flyers to pay a seat selection fee when travelling in economy under the airline's new fare system which takes effect from September 7.

The decision to impose that fee for bookings on the least-expensive economy 'Getaway' ticket incurred the wrath of the airline's top-tier frequent flyers, who made their feelings felt through social media, communications with Virgin Australia and also through comments here on Australian Business Traveller.

However, a Virgin Australia spokesperson has today confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that Platinum and Gold members of the airline's Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme will now be exempt from all seat selection fees under the new fare structure, in response to feedback from those top-tier travellers.

In fact, due to the need to make changes to the airline's booking system "to make Platinum and Gold Velocity members exempt from the fee", the advance seat selection fee will be temporarily waived for all passengers.

Once that frequent flyer-friendly fix is done, the advance seat selection fee will kick back in for all travellers booked on the lowest fares – except for Velocity Platinum and Gold members, of course.

Read moreVirgin Australia overhauls fares, Fly Ahead; introduces seat selection fees  

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 52

LOL. Winning!

28 May 2016

Total posts 128

For many of my colleagues (myself included) this is too little too late. The damage has already been done. VA has lost my trust and I'm sure many other loyall FF'ers as well. 

09 Aug 2011

Total posts 4

I agree with Marauder's comments... At least VA have listened to their loyal customers and acted accordingly. 

Well I am happy at least!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Nov 2012

Total posts 23

Good to see some common sense shining through at last.

I was downvoted in the previous article for saying that it was a system limitation, turns out I was correct!

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 293

Good on them for listening and admitting they were wrong

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 92

Management have listened and respected their loyal base . It reflects positively on management unlike Cathay Pacific management which  did not listen when it reduced the Marco Polo club benefits which has seen a dramatic reduction in loyalty and front end support resulting in a recently  reported profit reduction of 82% and historically low share value.Listening and taking positive action is a win win .Glad VA listened.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Aug 2013

Total posts 8

Hey David, 

Great update, any news about Fly Ahead that is one major benefit that I use as sometimes when I travel for work I finish off early!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2343

No change to Fly Ahead policy.

Zac
Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Good move - thanks VA. Company policy dictates lowest fare which sometimes will be the "Getaway" - no other option (except equiv QF Red eDeal) and pre-selecting a a seat is really important.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2015

Total posts 30

That's great news.

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

What a complete stuff up.

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 10

Great new VA.   The charge was a complete rip off, however I have to repect a company that has taken the feedback recevied seriously, and removed the charge before it was enforced.  I wish more companies would do the same......

23 Aug 2016

Total posts 6

Common sense prevails; for now.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Aug 2016

Total posts 2

Thanks for the updates here. I believe that the Fly Ahead benefit was the only thing worthwhile in the program and being able to get home to the family early. The accountants have obviously got ahead of the accountants but are not doing their sums correctly. If, like me, you only get a few family status credits but you qualify for double platinum - you fly a lot. A far fairer mechanism to measure the value of the traveller would have been nett annual value (number of flights times total spend) and/or number of segments flown by the individual member and not trheir family. That way Virginb actually acknowledges who the true FFs are - no matter what fare they travel on.

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

VA do have a minumum sector requirement which doesnt include pooled sectors but they are quite low. Gold has the 500 status credit requirement and 4 sectors on VA. 

Yaf
Yaf

02 Nov 2012

Total posts 35

Wonder where Virgin get IT advice from? How long would it take to put 1 extra if statement in the code? If passenger staus is gold or platinum then no advance seat fee.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jul 2013

Total posts 4

Probabaly form the same place the rest of the Virgin Group gets their websites done. They are all tragic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 May 2015

Total posts 3

Hey Patricka340, They took on the feedback and reversed the decision. Considering that the change hasnt even been implemented then surely the damage is minimal. But I am sure QF will welcome you

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 26

good to see that common sense held out and they seemed to have actually paid attention to the people most likely to champion their brand - now if only they'd backtrack on the FlyAhead changes the program would be worthwhile maintaining loyalty with (shameless self-interest, but retaining the old rules  as a Platinum benefit would be a worthwhile reason to maintain platinum, the domestic J upgrades are barely used with the way flexi pricing went)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Sep 2015

Total posts 1

rightio,

now we have got that sorted lets start working on them removing the bonus points for us platinum (and our gold friends) frequent flyers. i believe it's just abhorrent that we will earn the same velocity points as a red flyer on the 'getaway' fare, where is the reward in being loyal?

as a loyal weekly coast to coast flyer I can see Virgin are certainly reigning in the services offered on board and now on the ground, where as Qantas (as much as i prefer the virgin brand) are not.

I think we need to pressure them into altering their fare system but leaving our Platinum and Gold benifits untouched.

Yaf
Yaf

02 Nov 2012

Total posts 35

Plat member, tried booking a seat on a cheap fare. System did not let me do so.

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