Velocity Platinum frequent flyers can now take advantage of Virgin Australia’s ‘Fly Ahead’ feature over the phone: allowing them dial-in and switch to an earlier flight on the same day at no charge, rather than waiting until at the airport to make their request.
As Fly Ahead requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to seating availability on the desired flight, being able to call before visiting the lounge or check-in desk could improve the chance of success, or avoid spending more time at the terminal than necessary if the move can’t be accommodated.
Velocity Platinum members can still make use of Fly Ahead at the airport – as can Velocity Gold members, in line with existing rules – although the ability to Fly Ahead over the phone is a new perk reserved for Velocity Platinum guests, and also covers up to three other travellers on the same booking as their Platinum colleague.
Caveats before you call
Similar rules apply when Flying Ahead over the phone as opposed to the airport, with a few extra restrictions.
For instance, telephone agents can only process Fly Ahead requests on Virgin Australia domestic flights booked on a VA flight number and with a 795 ‘ticket number’ attached to the booking.
That means if you’re travelling on a codeshare flight, or have booked your journey through a different airline – such as by using Etihad Guest or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to book your ticket – you may need to make your request at the airport instead.
Requests for Fly Ahead over the phone must also be finalised at least 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time of the desired flight – as opposed to 30 minutes when asking at the airport.
On flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – the popular 'triangle' routes – Platinum members can be moved over the phone to a flight departing up to two hours earlier than originally booked. On all other routes, they can be moved only to the service departing immediately prior to the original flight.
For example, if a Velocity Platinum member books a flight departing at 5pm on a ‘non-Triangle’ route and there are earlier flights at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on the same route, Fly Ahead would only be possible onto the 4pm departure, subject to availability.
As when Flying Ahead in-person, doing so over the phone isn’t possible when travelling on group bookings or Getaway fares (corresponding to the S, M and T fare categories), as has been the case since September 2016.