Virgin Atlantic to relaunch London Heathrow- Mumbai service

Virgin Atlantic has recently announced plans to relaunch its flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai, India, with flights on sale starting tomorrow, May 28.

The daily service will be operated year-round with the first service commencing on October 27, 2019. The new service is in addition to the airline’s long established route between London and Delhi.

Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President, Commercial, at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re continuing to expand our route network once more, by returning to Mumbai. Until recently we’ve been able to serve this important market through our partnership with Jet Airways, however, since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.’

The Mumbai flights will be operated on Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, offering customers Upper Class (31), Premium (35) and Economy Light, Classic and Delight cabins (192).

Virgin Atlantic offers a full on board service in each of its cabins, featuring complimentary food, drink and over 300 hours of entertainment across films, TV and music channels. All of the airline’s 787-9 are fully Wi-Fi enabled, allowing customers to stay connected throughout their flight.

The new Mumbai flight is Virgin Atlantic’s 27th daily service from London Heathrow and its third new route announcement this year. Flights to Tel Aviv, Israel are set to commence in September 2019, with flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil starting in 2020, the airline said in a release.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service to Sao Paulo from Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2020.

The daily service – the 11 hr 55 min flight – between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is Virgin Atlantic’s first to the South American continent. Sao Paulo is the commercial capital of Brazil and one of the largest cities in the Americas for multinational companies to have offices, and will enable Virgin Atlantic to expand its offering to existing corporate customers.

The airline will operate a Boeing 787 aircraft boasting Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offerings.

Flights to Sao Paulo are on sale later this year.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – Commercial, commented, ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. Sao Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time. There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.’

‘But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. Sao Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history, and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, $13bn transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, Manchester to Los Angeles and London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to commence a new service between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv, Israel with the first flight offered on September 25, 2019.

The airline will fly daily between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport, and the five hour flight will operate on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Flights to Tel Aviv are on sale from February 25, 2019.

Offering over 180,000 seats each year, the new service will offer connections for customers connecting from Tel Aviv via London Heathrow to destinations throughout North America across both the Virgin Atlantic and Delta networks including New York, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic CEO, commented: ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to achieve our ambition to become the most loved travel company. Tel Aviv represents a fantastic opportunity for us – Israel’s economy is booming and as one of the world’s leading tech hubs we’re anticipating many business travellers and entrepreneurs flying between Tel Aviv and the UK. We also see a significant opportunity to increase competition in the US – Tel Aviv market, using the strength of our trans-Atlantic Joint Venture with Delta to offer customers from Tel Aviv a wide range of US destinations connecting through London Heathrow including New York and San Francisco.’

‘I’m also thrilled to introduce this new destination to our leisure customers and I know it’s somewhere they’ll love to visit. Renowned for its cultural sites and with UNESCO recognised architecture, Tel Aviv also boasts beautiful beaches, a buzzing artistic and nightlife scene, incredible food and is a great base to explore the tourist destinations of the region including the iconic historical city of Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the Dead Sea’.

Sharon E. Bershadsky, Director, IGTO for the UK and Ireland, added: ‘We’re thrilled with the launch of the new flights and Virgin Atlantic’s confidence in the Israeli product. The ‘Two Sunny Cities, One Break’ campaign has been very successful in showcasing Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and we’re proud of our continued commitment to working with the travel trade industry. We are looking forward to working together with the Virgin Group in order to promote Israel as a leading tourist destination.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, USD13 billion transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop destinations, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas and Manchester to Los Angeles.

Flybe partners with Virgin Atlantic to offer new destinations for Scottish travellers

Leading European regional airline Flybe has announced a partnership with Virgin Atlantic to offer Scottish travellers new flight services to international destinations including Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai.

Under the partnership, new Flybe flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh will connect customers onto Virgin Atlantic flights to the US, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In this connection, the two airlines have extended their codeshare agreement to include London Heathrow. The new Flybe codeshare flights to London Heathrow will operate starting March 26, offering four services per day from Edinburgh Airport, and up to three services per day from Aberdeen Airport.

Passengers will be able to book tickets to travel from Edinburgh and Aberdeen with Flybe, and connect onto Virgin Atlantic flights at London Heathrow. The agreement will allow passengers to connect between Flybe and Virgin Atlantic with a single check in and bag drop.

The new flights are now on sale at www.virginatlantic.com.

Erik Varwijk, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Virgin Atlantic commented: ‘Our partnership with Flybe will bring the world a little closer to Scotland with exciting new Virgin Atlantic destinations available across the US, Asia, and Africa. The extended codeshare agreement builds on the partnership we announced last year which has proved popular with customers across the UK.

‘We look forward to offering easy connections to some of our most popular destinations such as the US cities of San Francisco and Boston, as well as helping to boost business and investment with access to major hubs such as Hong Kong and Dubai.’

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer, added: ‘Flybe is especially delighted that this extension of our valued codeshare partnership with Virgin will enable us to better serve Scottish travellers and global visitors, further realising our ambition of being a ‘One Stop to the World’ for the UK regions.

‘We greatly look forward to cementing our commitment to Scotland and welcoming even more Virgin passengers on board our new Heathrow flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh when they start at the end of March.’

The new destinations on offer from Aberdeen and Edinburgh via London Heathrow include Los Angeles with fares starting from £498 return, San Francisco from £498 return, Boston from £398 return, Washington from £418 return and Hong Kong from £445 return, Flybe said.

Delta, Virgin Atlantic revise Summer 2017 schedule, offer new Portland- London service

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic have announced changes to their respective summer 2017 schedules to optimise their joint network between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The move seeks to offer customers more travel choices and flexibility. In 2015, the JV connected almost 400,000 customers to over 200 destinations in the U.S., on around 550 routes.

As per the revised plan, Delta will commence a new four times a week service from Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow on May 26, 2017, the first between this U.S. West Coast city and London. 

Beginning March 26, 2017, the US-based airline will add a second Detroit to London Heathrow service, replacing Virgin Atlantic’s daily Detroit to London Heathrow service. The airline will also operate a third Atlanta to London Heathrow service, replacing the second daily service currently operated by Virgin Atlantic, beginning May 25, 2017. Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate one daily Atlanta to London Heathrow service.

Beginning March 26, 2017, Virgin Atlantic will start flying between Seattle and London Heathrow, replacing the daily service currently operated by Delta. In addition, the UK-based airline will launch a daily nonstop service between New York-JFK and Manchester on May 25, 201, replacing the service currently operated by Delta. Delta will resume service for winter 2017.

Erik Varwijk, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Virgin Atlantic said: ‘We are delighted to further optimize our joint services between the U.K. and the U.S. Our most fuel efficient Boeing 787-9 aircraft will add additional capacity to the successful Seattle route, enabling more customers to enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this brand new aircraft. In Manchester, deploying our Airbus A330-300 aircraft on this route will allow us to further meet the growing demand from the Manchester market, now offering a total of six direct flights to the U.S. after the recently announced new services to Boston and San Francisco. The network changes highlight the strength and flexibility of our joint venture, allowing us to make smart decisions that ensure the right aircraft are on the right routes for our customers.’

Commenting on the changes, Dwight James, Delta’s Senior Vice President Trans-Atlantic said: ‘Adding a brand new service to Portland while increasing the scale of Delta’s reach across our Atlanta and Detroit hubs provides a comprehensive network of nonstop and connecting destinations for both Delta and Virgin customers. The flexibility to adjust our operations on routes between the U.K. and the U.S. is a solid reflection of the cohesive strategy we have across the trans-Atlantic. Since 2014, we have been building a partnership that is centered around the needs of our customers while providing network synergies for our airlines.’

With the changes, starting March 26, 2017, the airlines’ joint summer 2017 schedule will feature a total of 42 peak daily nonstop flights between the U.S. and the U.K. Of these, 28 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington and 14 flights will operate between Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, London Gatwick and Edinburgh to popular U.S. cities, Delta said in a release.

Virgin Atlantic extends Glasgow-Orlando winter service

Leading British airline Virgin Atlantic will extend its Glasgow – Orlando service to meet high demand, according to a report by the Daily Record.

The airline said that it will add a new Friday flight to its winter 2016 schedule, which will offer more than 7,000 seats in the November 2016 to March 2017 winter season. Virgin Atlantic added that the new winter flights will serve alongside its three times a week summer service between Glasgow and Florida.

Commenting on the plan, Erik Varwijk, executive vice president of commercial at Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘We’re delighted to be offering our customers more choice when flying to some of their favourite destinations.

‘Florida is enduringly popular with our customers, so it makes perfect sense to increase this service during the most popular months.’

Steven Marshall, marketing manager at Glasgow Airport, added: ‘This is fantastic news for Scottish travellers looking to get away to America’s sunshine state next winter from Scotland’s largest city.

‘It demonstrates the popularity of Virgin Atlantic’s existing Orlando summer service which has grown every year since it launched at Glasgow Airport in 2007. Indeed – a great announcement to start off the airport’s 50 anniversary year.’

The new service is part of Virgin Atlantic’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines, which seeks to expand the trans-Atlantic route network between the UK and North America.

Separately, the Mirror reported that Virgin Atlantic has cut its fuel surcharge by £20 following the drop in oil prices. The saving, on return flights, will apply to future bookings, it said.

The move comes after complaints that airlines have not been passing the drop in oil costs on to customers.

‘Although we buy our fuel months and years in advance – meaning that recent falls in the price of oil do not immediately impact costs – we have decided to, again, lower our fuel charge by £20 per return journey for customers. Overall, our prices have reduced by £70 per trip per person since fuel prices began to fall.’ Virgin.

Virgin Atlantic introduces 787-9 Dreamliner on Delhi-London route

British airline Virgin Atlantic is operating its 787-9 Dreamliner on the Delhi-London route – the first European carrier to operate the larger Boeing aircraft on this flight.

Virgin Atlantic operates seven daily flights every week from Delhi to London with many onward connections, including New York.

Passengers travelling on the maiden 787-9 Dreamliner flight to London from Delhi on March 31 were offered the chance to take a ‘First Flight Selfie’ whilst checking-in and boarding the flight from Delhi IGI airport. Virgin Atlantic has recently introduced the ultimate #SkyhighSelfie on its 787 aircraft, offering customers the opportunity to check in on Facebook and share their photos from 35,000 feet.

‘We’ve been serving and delighting our customers for 15 years from Delhi and the launch of the Dreamliner, with our latest cabin interiors, further demonstrates our commitment to India and enables us to build on the success of our Delhi route,’ Nick Parker, Head of India and Middle East for Virgin Atlantic said.

‘We know our Indian customers are going to love flying our Dreamliner. Every aspect has been meticulously designed to enhance their experience; not only seats and social spaces, inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi, but we’ve also invested in other areas that are so important to customers, including the onboard meal services. I’m delighted to confirm that we’ve increased the number of our fantastic local Indian crew on each flight, who along with our exceptional airport team, will deliver the personalised Virgin Atlantic service that our customers so love,’ he added.

The 787-9 Dreamliners are configured with 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 198 Economy seats. Features offered onboard include access to Wi-Fi connectivity, the latest in-flight entertainment, dynamic mood lighting and cabin windows 65 percent larger than the industry standard.

 

Virgin Atlantic to offer 70Mb broadband services in -flight

Passengers travelling with Virgin Atlantic will soon be able to enjoy ultra-fast broadband services in-flight.

Global aero communications service provider Gogo has announced a partnership with Virgin Atlantic, owned by Sir Richard Branson, to offer in-flight connectivity services on Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of aircraft. With the agreement, the airline will become the first European carrier to offer Gogo’s 2Ku in-flight broadband solution, which offers download speeds of up to 70Mb over a local Wi-Fi network – from mid-2015.

‘Virgin Atlantic is on the cutting edge when it comes to delivering technology solutions to their passengers and we’re extremely excited to deliver the best connectivity solutions to keep their passengers connected anywhere they fly around the world,’ said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. ‘Virgin Atlantic’s relationship with Delta Air Lines will also allow us to build a seamless experience for passengers who fly both airlines.’

Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Engagement Director at Virgin Atlantic said: ‘We’re always looking at ways to enhance the on board experience for our customers and expanding in-flight connectivity across our fleet is just one of the ways in which we are doing this. We were impressed with Gogo’s connectivity solution and look forward to all of our customers being able to enjoy this service whilst they fly.’

The in-flight ultra-fast Wi-Fi is being launched as part of a £300 million fleet upgrade undertaken by Virgin Atlantic to improve customer experience.

Virgin Atlantic had earlier this month announced plans to update its network and make significant investment into the Virgin Atlantic customer experience. Under the plan, the airline has identified opportunities for investment into its transatlantic schedule, increasing its presence in the key UK – US travel market to maximise the benefits of its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines. The network changes will deliver up to five new daily transatlantic flights and see over 500 more Virgin Atlantic flights operate in summer 2015 compared to summer 2014.

Virgin Atlantic to resume daily direct flight from London to Cape Town

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic will resume its seasonal service to Cape Town, with daily flights connecting to London, on October 27.

Virgin Atlantic operates flights from Johannesburg to London throughout the year, and from Cape Town to London from October to March, when British holidaymakers plan to visit Cape Town’s warm beaches.

The airline has also improved its service schedule with the introduction of larger Airbus A340-600 equipment for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday flights from Cape Town. With the new service, Virgin Atlantic will offer almost 5,000 more seats on the Cape Town-Heathrow route than last year, and over 8,000 seats more than originally planned.

Simon Newton-Smith, the Virgin Atlantic general manager for South Africa, said that Virgin Atlantic is delighted to return to Cape Town with daily flights from the very start of the season. ‘We are returning with a larger ‘peak day’ aircraft than originally planned. The extra seats will provide a welcome boost to the Western Cape economy with the incremental income from international visitors expected to reach nearly R50m,’ he said.

Last October when Virgin Atlantic resumed its direct flights from Cape Town to London, Newton-Smith said, ‘Cape Town is one of the key tourist destinations in South Africa, with its beautiful beaches and surrounding wine estates. We want to make it easier for international travellers to visit the city. By introducing the direct flight for summer, we believe this will drive additional tourism to both London and Cape Town by offering convenience along with the unique Virgin experience our passengers love. The direct route also cuts down costs, whichever way you’re flying.’

Thulani Nzima, South African tourism chief executive officer, said that an additional airlift into South Africa is always great news. He added, ‘Tourist arrivals growth to South Africa has been consistently strong and European markets are recovering well after the global recession. Virgin Atlantic’s increased capacity directly from London into Cape Town is a boost for Cape Town Tourism and is an indication of consumer confidence in our destination.’

 

Virgin offers Upper Class ground service to all

Virgin Atlantic has decided to offer its Upper Class ground service to all passengers.

The company has introduced its new ‘Guest List’ product designed to offer a VIP travel experience for passengers in Economy and Premium Economy cabins before boarding the aircraft. Starting at £240 per person or from £340 per couple, passengers can enjoy ground-service benefits including limousine transfer to the airport, fast-track security and entry to Virgin’s Clubhouse lounges, services that are regularly offered to Upper Class passengers.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow Terminal-3 was voted the world’s best airline lounge in the recent Ultratravel 100 awards. The facilities there include a spa that offers complimentary treatments and haircuts, a complimentary bar and full catering facilities.

The Upper Class ground service also includes ‘whisked through check-in’, use of the Upper Class Wing drop-off at London Heathrow or Curbside drop-off at London Gatwick, and to have passenger baggage tagged as Upper Class.

The service is available at London Gatwick, London Heathrow, New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington and San Francisco.

As cited by Telegraph Travel, for a November flight from Heathrow to New York, a one-way economy-class fare costs from £814.15; a premium economy-class fare costs £1,601.15. Upper Class fares for the same flight cost £4,751.15. Meanwhile, the outbound cost of a return journey between London and New York over the same period would cost from £278.65 in economy; £536.65 in premium economy; and £1,343.15 in Upper Class.

Last month, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines unveiled a code-share agreement across 108 routes across North America and the UK.