Qantas vs Virgin Australia: Comparing the Best Aussie Airlines
Whether you're a seasoned traveller or planning your first journey down under, choosing the right airline can significantly impact your travel experience. In this article, we dive into the key aspects of both airlines, comparing destinations, routes, hubs, baggage allowances, loyalty programs, service quality, and customer opinions.
Hubs & Destinations
Both airlines have the same primary hubs: Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The difference comes then you compare destinations. Qantas stands as Australia's premier domestic airline, connecting passengers to 67 destinations across all states and mainland territories. On the international front, reaching 75 destinations in 32 countries.
On the other hand, Virgin Australia effectively caters to the adventurous spirit with its network, covering over 35 destinations across Australia, Asia, and the Pacific regions.
Qantas maintains specific regulations for carry-on baggage. On every Qantas domestic flight, passengers are allowed to bring a total of 14 kilograms of carry-on luggage. This can include one carry-on bag with a maximum weight of 10 kilograms.
Moreover, the checked baggage allowance on your flight is determined by several factors including your route, ticket class, Qantas Frequent Flyer status, and Qantas Club membership. Generally, on domestic flights within Australia, Economy class travelers are permitted one piece of baggage with a maximum weight of 23kg (50lbs), while Business class travelers can bring two pieces, each up to 32kg (70lbs). On international flights heading to the Americas, Economy class passengers are usually allowed two pieces of luggage, with each piece weighing no more than 23kg (50lbs).
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia permits the following carry-on options: passengers may bring one bag weighing up to 7kg, with maximum dimensions of 56 x 36 x 23 cm, or opt for two smaller bags with a combined weight of up to 7kg and dimensions not exceeding 48 x 34 x 23 cm each. For checked baggage, both Premium and Economy classes allow a maximum of 23kg per bag. Exceeding this weight will incur an overweight baggage fee at the airport. In Upper Class, each bag can weigh up to 32kg.
Therefore, if you're traveling with multiple pieces of luggage and need a higher carry-on allowance, opting for Qantas might suit your needs better.
Choosing between Qantas and Virgin Australia's frequent flyer programs can be tricky, as both offer great benefits. Here's a simplified breakdown to help you decide:
- Joining: Qantas usually charges $99.50 to join their Qantas Frequent Flyer program, but keep an eye out for free sign-up promotions. Virgin Australia's Velocity program is free to join, no catches.
- Earning Points: With Virgin Australia, you'll get five points for every dollar spent on most flights, with the number of points varying for longer international flights based on how far you're flying and what you paid for your ticket. Silver, Gold, and Platinum members get bonus points on top of the regular points. Qantas gives you points based on the distance flown and the type of fare you purchase, with more points for more expensive tickets. They also offer bonus points for higher-tier members on flights.
- Bonus Points: If you're a frequent flyer, both programs offer extra points the more you fly – the higher your membership level, the more bonus points you earn.
- Points Expiry: Your Qantas points will stay safe as long as you earn or redeem points every 18 months. For Velocity, you have a bit longer at 36 months.
- Redeem Points: With Qantas points, you can book flights or upgrade your seats on Qantas and its partner airlines. You can also use points to buy items from the Qantas online store, book hotels, rent cars, or get Qantas Club lounge access. If needed, you can even use points for travel insurance. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia's Velocity points can be used to book or upgrade flights with Virgin and its partner airlines. You can also shop with your points in the Velocity Rewards Store, book hotels, rent cars, or use points for fuel at certain service stations. Both programs offer a range of options to use your points for travel and more.
Both programs have their perks, so the best choice depends on your travel style and preferences. Do you fly often? Are you looking for free membership? Consider these points to make the best choice for your travels.
Qantas is widely known for delivering high service standards both in the air and on the ground. Customers often speak highly of their travel experiences with Qantas, citing comfort, entertainment, and overall service quality as significant positives. However, while it's frequently praised for its reliable network and premium services, some find it pricier. On the other hand, Virgin Australia is also recognized for its strong service quality, particularly noted for its friendly staff and comfortable seating, making it a favored choice for many.
Regarding customer opinions, Qantas generally enjoys positive reviews, but Virgin Australia has recently seen a surge in customer trust, overtaking Qantas as Australia's most trusted travel brand. This shift highlights Virgin Australia's commitment to value for money and quality customer service despite some feedback about its limited international flight options. Both airlines continue to compete closely, adapting and improving to meet the needs and preferences of travelers.