Virgin Atlantic Launching Flights Between Seattle And London

Seattle has experienced an incredible amount of international growth the past several years, primarily from Delta, but also from several other international airlines.

Seattle-Skyline-Market

Well, next year it looks like Virgin Atlantic will be launching daily flights between Seattle and London Heathrow. The new flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 as of May 1, 2017, with the following schedule:

VS105 London to Seattle departing 11:00AM arriving 1:20PM
VS106 Seattle to London departing 7:10PM arriving 1:00PM (+1 day)

The schedule for the flight has just been filed preliminarily, so the flight isn’t yet open for booking.

Keep in mind that Delta also operates flights between Seattle and London Heathrow using a Boeing 767-300. While the service hasn’t been canceled yet, I highly suspect that Virgin Atlantic will essentially be taking over this route for Delta. We’ve seen some route swaps between Delta and Virgin Atlantic on transatlantic flights, and this would be a pretty logical one.

Ultimately I assume Delta is doing a lot better out of Seattle on their flights to Paris and Amsterdam, given the connection opportunities on Air France and KLM. They don’t have the ability to feed the same amount of shorthaul traffic within Europe through London Heathrow, given that Virgin Atlantic only operates longhaul flights.

Overall I quite like Virgin Atlantic’s business class, significantly more than Delta’s 767 business class. So for those paying, I think this represents a very nice upgrade.

Delta-One-London - 3
Delta 767 business class

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class
Virgin Atlantic A330 business class

However, even though Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic and they have a joint venture, there isn’t true metal neutrality. That’s to say that you can’t redeem your Delta Global Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic, and that Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have a Comfort+ cabin.

Delta-One-London - 10
Delta Comfort+ cabin

Bottom line

It’s exciting to see Virgin Atlantic expand to Seattle, though I suspect it will come at the expense of Delta’s existing flight in the market. This is sort of bad news for Delta flyers looking to upgrade, and it’s also bad news for Alaska Mileage Plan members who were flying Delta and crediting their miles to Alaska, given that Alaska doesn’t partner with Virgin Atlantic.

However, Alaska does partner with British Airways, which offers up to 2x daily flights between Seattle and London Heathrow.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic expanding to Seattle?

Comments

  1. “Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have Comfort+”…

    No it has Premium Economy which is actually a better product as it isn’t just regular economy seats & service with more legroom ala Comfort+

  2. So VA still have the tired all front cabin, I think I would take D1 over the old and tired product that VA is offering. It’s about time that VA do something new.

  3. Interesting. Virgin’s hard product, at least on aircraft other than the 787 (have never flown it), isn’t as good as Delta’s hard product in business-class. Where Virgin excels is the soft product — the marketing and premium, on-the-ground services (chauffeur, lounges). The problem is you don’t really receive these ground services when flying Virgin from the US outside of New York. Look at Atlanta-Manchester. That’s Virgin. They offer almost no services in Manchester, not even a lounge!

  4. According to the press release: Virgin Atlantic’s new service will replace the existing service offered by its joint venture partner Delta Air Lines beginning March 26, 2017.

    Delta will do seasonal LHR service to Portland instead.

    I’ll take a 787 over a 767 any day!

  5. Just realized VS cancelled DTW as part of this… Kind of sad as that route regularly had 4 award seats per flight

  6. Excited to try out the 787 and either book through delta and credit miles to Alaska (until that ends) or book through VA and credit to virgin America (to transfer to Alaska). Either way, win win.

  7. you mentioned that VA will be flying the 787-9 out of seattle starting 1 may 2017? um, excuse me, but your dates are a little off. my wife and I will be flying one out of seattle in 3 days, 31 March 2017 to London.

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