Free flights and air miles: Virgin Australia launches competition to encourage travellers to get vaccinated

The national contest aims to encourage people in Australia to get their jabs as Sydney grapples with the Delta variant

Virgin Australia is the latest airline to offer travellers perks in a bid to get more people vaccinated against Covid-19.

With the aim to encourage people in Australia to be inoculated against the coronavirus, the airline has teamed up with Velocity Frequent Flyer to give away dozens of business class flights and frequent flyer miles.

One winner will also become a Velocity Frequent Flyer Points millionaire.

More details on what's up for grabs in the competition, which will be called VA-X & Win, will be announced when it officially opens. That will happen once all Australians are eligible for the vaccine, which is scheduled to happen later this year.

Currently, only those aged 40 and above, or those classed as priority, are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines in Australia.

To enter the contest, travellers must be over 18 and have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccination. Registration is open on the airline's website.

"For simply rolling up your sleeve and getting a Covid-19 vaccination, you could walk away with a share in tens of thousands of dollars of Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer prizes or be the lucky one to become a Velocity Points millionaire," said a spokesperson for Virgin Australia.

“What the latest lockdown in Melbourne and the evolving situation in Sydney has taught us, is the sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner we can get on with our lives, without the constant fear and uncertainty that come with lockdowns, restrictions and closed borders."

Sydney reported a double-digit rise in new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 for the third day in a row on Thursday, as officials battled an outbreak of the Delta variant.

Air travel and Covid-19

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 28: Passengers board the plane as Avelo Airlines takes off with first flight between Burbank and Santa Rosa at Hollywood Burbank Airport on April 28, 2021 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Avelo Air)

Virgin Australia is not the first airline trying to entice travellers to get vaccinated in order to speed up the return of air travel.

Qantas has also announced a vaccination competition. Last month, the Australian airline launched a contest in which vaccinated travellers could win a year's worth of free flights, flight discounts, frequent flyer points and vouchers for future travel.

In the US, United Airlines is giving away free flights for an entire year to vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. New US airline Avelo, meanwhile, is celebrating the return of travel this summer by offering round-trip tickets to 252 new graduates to any destination in the low-cost airline's network.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been detrimental on the aviation industry, with 2020 dubbed the worst year in the industry's history.

Now, as vaccinations roll out around the globe and some countries begin to ease travel restrictions, airlines are on a mission to help travellers return to the air.