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You can now ‘fly Virgin’ all the way from Australia to London – but beware scheduling and lounge issues

Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic have put flights on sale under their codeshare partnership, which will allow guests to travel between Australia and the United Kingdom under the one booking.

Both Hong Kong and Los Angeles are hubs under the arrangement, with Virgin Australia providing domestic connections in Australia.

Virgin Atlantic offers up to three daily services between London Heathrow and Los Angeles, with a daily service to Hong Kong.

Both routes are operated on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the newest aircraft in its fleet.

Virgin Australia operates up to 18 flights per week between Australia and Los Angeles on its Boeing 777-300ER fleet.

It also offers daily services between Melbourne and Hong Kong and will be launching daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong on 2 July 2018 using its A330-200 aircraft.

Eligible travellers will enjoy reciprocal lounge access and the ability to earn points and status credits with either airline – but there are a few issues to be aware of before booking flights.

In Hong Kong, only business class passengers travelling to London (and not Velocity gold and platinum members) will have lounge access, as Virgin Atlantic doesn’t operate a lounge there, relying instead on the third party Plaza Premium lounge.

This won’t be an issue at LAX, where Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse will be accessible to elite Velocity members, and they’ll also have lounge access at LAX and Hong Kong on the return trips.

You should also know that there will be a long layover in Hong Kong when travelling to the UK, with Virgin Australia’s Melbourne flight landing at 8.10 am and the Sydney flight at 5.40 pm. Virgin Atlantic’s London flight takes off at 11.55pm. Melbourne travellers may wish to use the day to explore Hong Kong.

There’s no such issue to contend with on the return trip from the UK to Australia via Hong Kong. Virgin Atlantic’s flight lands in Hong Kong at 4.55pm, with Virgin Australia’s Melbourne flight departing at 6.10 pm or 7.15 pm depending on the day, and the Sydney flight taking off at 7.50pm.

In relation to LA, travellers from Australia will have layovers of 6-9 hours, while on the return leg it will be a more manageable (but still lengthy) 3-5 hours.

Flights are now available to be booked on www.virginaustralia.com and www.virginatlantic.com, though my quick search on Virgin Australia’s site threw up some odd results – possibly a few bugs to sort out there.

If you want to use Velocity Points to book, you can’t do so on the Velocity website unfortunately.

Your best bet is to search for seats from Australia to Hong Kong/LA on the Velocity website and then do a separate search for seats from Hong Kong / LA to London on the Virgin Atlantic website (easy to do directly on the homepage).

Note down the dates and flight numbers with seats available, and call Velocity to book on 13 18 75.

You can also use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book (Virgin Atlantic being a transfer partner for some American Express cards issued in Australia).

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