Virgin Australia announced that it will temporarily eliminate the booking change fee and allow for unlimited booking changes until January 31, 2021. 

In the press release published on September 11, 2020, the airline explains its decision as an attempt to revitalize the tourism industry and capitalize on the coming holiday season.

“We’re hopeful that borders will reopen by Christmas and this new initiative to help get travellers on their next flight is the right step forward to rebooting the Australian tourism industry,” press release states.

The removal of the fee is a part of the “Passenger promise” package, which also includes a list of sanitary measures, such as complimentary face masks, reduced contact with the crew, and a pre-flight health screening questionnaire for all passengers.

Virgin Australia claims that it is the first Australian airline to allow for such a booking flexibility. In late August and early September 2020, three largest U.S. carriers – American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) , Delta Airlines (DAL)  and United Airlines – one after another announced that they are eliminating ticket change fees. A controversial and much-criticized practice, change fee is applied by some carriers, while others never had it in the first place.

Virgin Australia was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as revenues fell and losses soared. The company went into voluntary administration in late April and announced a reorganization in early August, complete with mass lay-offs and refocusing on short-haul flights.

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Creditors of Virgin Australia have accepted the terms of purchase previously proposed by Bain Capital (BC), the company reports.