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Virgin Blue To Keep The Air Fair….Again

27/02/2004

"You Should Get What You Paid For & Not A Qantas 'Lite' Product"

Virgin Blue today announced it will continue championing the cause for the Australian travelling public by honouring fares for passengers who were previously booked on Qantas but now find themselves travelling on Jetstar. The airline has said that it will guarantee the same fare paid to Qantas if a passenger chooses to cancel their original booking on Qantas and contacts Virgin Blue with details of their trip. The passenger is responsible for obtaining a refund from Qantas and once the fare paid is verified, Virgin Blue will (subject to seat availability) book the passenger a fare at the same level that they had originally paid on Qantas.


Virgin Blue Head of Commercial Tim Jordan said, “We’ve always been about keeping the air fair and we don’t believe that it’s fair for travellers to have purchased a Qantas flight with more seat pitch, seat allocation, baggage connections and other expectations only to find out that they have been transferred to a Qantas ‘Lite’ type product without all of these offerings.”


He continued, “Our experience in the Australian domestic market over the past 3 ½ years tells us that people want low fares but they also want, and deserve, a high quality product. Passengers should get what they paid for and, as such, we would encourage travellers who booked on Qantas to look closely at the alternative they are now being asked to accept.”


Virgin Blue, offers a much more generous and traditional seat pitch which is on average 2”-3” more than the new competitors seat pitch. In addition, Australia’s established low fare leader also offers onboard seat allocations and through passenger and baggage check for connecting flights – both of these products won’t be offered by Qantas’ new no frills offshoot.


“It’s incredible to think that connecting passengers who booked on Qantas are probably going to have to collect their bags and stand in line again to check-in with Jetstar or Qantas for both their outbound and inbound trips. On top of that, the same passengers will have to encounter less onboard space and a footie like ‘scrum’ boarding process. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t explained when people bought their seats from Qantas over the past weeks & months.”


Tim Jordan concluded, “We are well established in the region as an award winning low cost airline and while we wish Jetstar the best of luck, we think that the Australian public have come to expect not only a low fare but a product that is of high quality. Ultimately the Australian travelling public will decide, but at Virgin Blue we like to think that a high quality, ontime, low cost product that gets you to where you really want to go is what is important.”


The offer is available from today until the 15th March 2004 and will require the passenger to validate to Virgin Blue the fare originally paid to Qantas. Virgin Blue will then (subject to seat availability) endeavour to transfer the passenger to the same itinerary either on the same day or on a day either side of their original booking. This offer will only apply to Qantas bookings made prior to the 25 February 2004 on routes that Jetstar will be operating for travel dates on or after the 25th May 2004.