Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia are poised to part ways next month after more than a decade of being partners. The move would leave Delta without a partner in Australia, so the Atlanta-based airline has indicated that it will now enter a partnership with regional Australian carrier Rex, which is set to begin in the third quarter of 2022.
Here’s everything you need to know about this new airline partnership.
A Delta/Rex Partnership
Delta is the only major legacy U.S. carrier that would not have a partner in Australia once the relationship with Virgin Australia is terminated next month.
Alaska Airlines and American Airlines partner with fellow Oneworld airline and Australian flag carrier Qantas, while United is set to take over the Virgin Australia partnership. Nearby Air New Zealand is also a United partner and Star Alliance carrier.
If Delta and the SkyTeam alliance were to have no partner in Australia, customers traveling on Delta’s 1 route to the continent — Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) — would be forced to end their journey in Sydney and purchase an entirely new ticket on a different carrier to reach their final destination, making for a very poor customer experience and a very valid reason to not choose Delta for trips to Australia.
Hot Tip: Planning a trip Down Under? Read up on the best ways to get to Australia with points and miles.
However, Delta will team up with Rex, a small regional Australian airline that’s been increasing its profile as it seeks to go up against bigger players Qantas and Virgin Australia on several big-name routes, including Sydney (SYD) to Melbourne (MEL), one of the busiest commercial airline routes in the world.
With the new partnership, Delta and Rex are anticipated to honor:
- Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, which could include priority check-in, priority security, or even special seat assignments on board. This also includes earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles on either airline.
- Interline ticketing and bag services, meaning a customer can check their bag from New York (JFK), for example, all the way to their final destination within Australia if they connect to a Rex route in Sydney.
While Rex is a relatively unknown name, this is a big win for both Rex and Delta. Rex, up to this point, only could serve local traffic within Australia. Any would-be Rex customers that were looking to fly to the United States would be stuck purchasing a ticket on a carrier that provides a more robust network of flights. With the Delta partnership, however, customers will be able to book tickets that will take them all the way to the U.S., potentially boosting sales for Rex.
For Delta, the partnership provides a way for the airline to move passengers beyond Sydney to destinations throughout Australia. Rex has an impressive network of flights within the continent that includes smaller towns that are otherwise difficult to access.
This new partnership between Delta and Rex provides more flight opportunities, both for those visiting Australia and for those trying to head to the U.S.
Australian customers will be able to connect to Delta’s massive domestic network in Los Angeles, and Delta flyers will be able to visit a huge range of cities and towns throughout Australia on 1 ticket — without the need to book separate flights on another airline to reach destinations beyond Sydney.
If this partnership is successful, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rex potentially join an alliance or forge further partnerships.
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