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Monday 19 October 2020

Aviation industry insider slams Virgin Australia changes

The Australian Frequent Flyer Gazette has attacked new-look Virgin Australia and its owners as "untrustworthy".

It says Virgin is in crisis, having just switched CEOs. It is fighting with unions, who are refusing to accept cuts to worker pay and conditions proposed by new owners Bain Capital.

Business class passengers are being served two-minute noodles and staff are taking sick leave to avoid dealing with all the customer complaints, writes editor Matt Graham.

Virgin has also announced cuts to some Velocity partner airline benefits - which Velocity announced a month after implementing. Among the changes, Velocity members will no longer earn any points or status on codeshare flights.

"Virgin appears to be abandoning any serious attempt to cater to international travellers into the future," the website says. Qantas and the Oneworld alliance suddenly look more attractive than ever to Virgin’s once-loyal frequent flyers."

The website - which bills itself as Australia's leading Frequent Flyer Community and Travel Website - also points out that Qantas has now reopened many of its domestic airport lounges, while Virgin Australia's remain closed.

"The American private equity firm that bought Virgin is trashing the brand and taking the airline downmarket," says Graham. 

"Things at Virgin have gotten so dire – and appear only to be getting worse – that former Virgin frequent flyers have already cleared out their Velocity points and started flying with Qantas instead.

"Given the events of the past week, the reputation of Virgin’s new owner Bain Capital is now at rock bottom. Bain has proven to Virgin’s staff, suppliers, unions and - most damagingly - its loyal customers, that it cannot be trusted.

"Virgin’s frequent flyers already feel let down after the airline refused to refund their money for cancelled flights. Some are still owed thousands of dollars for international flights that Virgin has no intention of ever operating." 

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