More Virgin Atlantic Flights To The United States

I’m not a huge fan of the Virgin “brand” as such, but I do love Virgin Atlantic. While their hard product is only okay, I love just about every aspect of their experience.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Their Clubhouse Lounges are probably my favorite business class lounges in the world (though Qatar Airways’ new Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha serves Krug and is definitely in the running for title of the world’s best business class lounge), and among the only lounges I’ve visited that are actively fun to be in.

Virgin-Atlantic-Clubhouse-JFK
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK

In late 2012, Delta and Virgin Atlantic announced their transatlantic joint venture, which was great news for SkyMiles members, whether you were looking to earn or redeem miles. One of the most exciting new options was to be able to redeem SkyMiles for transatlantic travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class without fuel surcharges.

Initially SkyMiles members only seemed to have access to a small subset of Virgin Atlantic’s award space. However, lately Delta SkyMiles seems to have access to almost all of Virgin Atlantic’s award space, which is great news and makes SkyMiles more valuable, in my book.

This brings me to the major network changes which Virgin Atlantic has just announced.

Virgin Atlantic will be launching the following new transatlantic flights:

  • A fifth daily service from London Heathrow to New York JFK
  • A new daily service from London Heathrow to Detroit offering new connections across North and Central USA such as Cincinnati, New Orleans, Memphis and Indianapolis*
  • An additional daily service from London Heathrow to Los Angeles
  • A second daily service during the summer season from London Heathrow to Atlanta
  • An additional summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to San Francisco flying five times a week
  • A second daily service during the winter season from London Heathrow to Miami
  • A daily service from Manchester to Atlanta.+

Beyond that, Delta will also be adding the following transatlantic flights:

  • Delta will operate one of our existing London Heathrow to Newark services**
  • Delta will launch a new daily service from Manchester to New York JFK in summer 2015.

Not surprisingly, the planes for these new Virgin Atlantic flights have to come from somewhere, so the following flights will be discontinued:

  • A withdrawal of operations to Tokyo Narita with the final flight from London to Narita on 31 January 2015 and the final flight from Narita to London on 01 February 2015.
  • A withdrawal of operations to Mumbai with the final flight from London to Mumbai on 31 January 2015 and the final flight from Mumbai to London on 01 February 2015.
  • The summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Vancouver will not return after this season’s flying programme is completed on 11 October 2014.
  • The winter seasonal service to Cape Town will operate as planned in winter 2014/15 but will not be renewed the following winter. The final flight from London to Cape Town will be on 26 April 2015 and the final flight from Cape Town to London on 27 April 2015.

Why does this matter? Because these new flights haven’t yet been loaded into the GDS, though should be in the coming days. Once they do, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new flights have a fair amount of award space, which you can potentially redeem Delta SkyMiles for.

I’ll post an update in case I see anything major, but in the meantime I figured their new transatlantic focus is quite interesting. I’m guessing the transatlantic joint venture is working quite well for them based on the amount of expansion and route swapping we’re seeing.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure I see this as positively as you. Cutting NRT for DTW? well there’s a city that going places!! Losing BOM in favor of ATL Hmmm? DL flying MAN – JFK… well they did that back in the day and pulled it as it wasn’t profitable. I fail to see how they’ll manage to do it this time, given that AA have 16 biz seats on their aircraft and seldom fill more than 60% even with awards and upgrades. Also MAN – ATL has been operated by DL for eons is there really the capacity for a second daily? British Leisure travelers favor VS anyway, as they fly direct to MCO, LAS, BGI etc. While award space might be available I’m not convinced that the routes will be operated very long.

    Just my 2 cents…

  2. @Ben, re: the Virgin “brand,” have you flown Virgin America or Virgin Australia? I know you’re not a fan of the brand, but why? VX is sensational.

  3. I got an e-mail from them today only mentioning the discontinuation of the YVR service. I guess I got it because I live in Canada, even though YVR is over 2,000 miles in the wrong direction for me to get to LHR. (I only had a VS account as a conduit for HHonors points until Hilton removed the fixed miles option, though I did actually fly them last year from BOS but on a DL award.).

  4. Reducing the outrageous charges on award tickets is the news I am waiting from Richard. Until then I am dissuaded from flying Virgin Atlantic or signing up for their card.

  5. I am also curious why you are not a fan of the Virgin “brand”? They have a refreshing flair and attitude towards air travel – somehow the whole experience just seems to have that “fun” factor. I have never flown VX or VS, but loved our flights on Virgin Australia a few months ago. Yes, the loyalty programs across the Virgin airlines might not be great, but neither is SkyPesos. I think their in-flight experience is definitely better than many of their peers, regardless of booking class.

  6. @ Erik @ Nick — I don’t dislike the brand, just generally don’t relate much to them. Much like W properties, I find a lot of it to be style over substance.

  7. Quick, someone tell Richard Branson to start serving Krug in VS’s lounges so Lucky will bump them up in the ratings 😉

    How does the Turkish lounge in Istanbul compare? With a movie theater, golf simulator, billiards table, video games, and their very extensive buffet, it does seem like a good place to kill time.

  8. Do you know how to avid the extra taxes when using Virgin Atlantic to London using Delta Skymiles? While I was not charged fuel surcharges I still paid $390 for the pleasure of connecting through London. Any way to avoid that?

  9. @David

    Not that I live in pittsburgh any more but when I did DTW was by far and away my favourite international gateway. Easier to navigate and much less delay prone than the alternatives (JFK, EWR, IAD, CLT, ATL, ORD, PHL etc.). I assume the VS flight adds another frequency and more connecting opportunities for DL customers across the midwest, upstate new york and even parts of the south.

    VS has always struggled with not having partners to bring it feed and all these destinations that are loosing VS service have no partners to speak of at either end of the route.

  10. @ed

    I appreciate your comments. You’re absolutely right about feeder traffic for vs. DTW still seems an odd choice to me.

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