Virgin Australia offering free burgers, Wi-Fi to lure Kiwi travellers

Virgin Australia has doubled down on its push to take more of the trans-Tasman travel market with a series of announcements made in Auckland today.

The airline will offer a "substantial" meal and drink to all passengers flying between Australia and New Zealand, along with Wi-Fi access and "at least" 23kg of baggage - unlike Air New Zealand, which offers lower airfare options with no baggage, food or entertainment included.

In Auckland, Virgin Australia handed out free burgers at the famous White Lady pie cart, while a banner towed by a plane flew across the city saying "Virgin Australia Loves NZ Meat".

The move marks a step up in the airline's rivalry with Air NZ, which has escalated since the companies announced the end of their partnership earlier this year.

"Last year, more than 1.3 million New Zealanders flew to Australia and we're looking forward to making their journey even more enjoyable," Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive Rob Sharp said in Auckland today.

"New Zealand guests can travel direct with Virgin Australia to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and the Gold Coast."

Virgin Australia offering free burgers, Wi-Fi to lure Kiwi travellers.
Virgin Australia staff hand out free burgers at the White Lady in Auckland Photo credit: Newshub.

Virgin Australia will offer the first 15 minutes of Wi-Fi access free on trans-Tasman flights, but has not said what it will cost thereafter.

The airline also announced a new codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines on flights between Wellington and Melbourne, meaning faster connection times and the ability to earn Virgin status points on these flights.

Virgin Australia's future in the New Zealand travel market was unclear after Air NZ made the surprise announcement to ditch its alliance with Virgin and align itself with former rival, Qantas.

The Air NZ-Qantas deal means Qantas will codeshare on 30 routes in New Zealand and Air NZ will piggy back on 85 routes in Australia.

At the time of that announcement, Virgin Australia said the Qantas-Air NZ deal was bad news for consumers, and were surprised the two major competitors are allowed to control 70 percent of the market.