Virgin Atlantic and WestJet announce codeshare expansion enhancing global connectivity

Virgin Atlantic and WestJet have announced a significant expansion of their codeshare agreement.

This winter, WestJet guests will have access to numerous global destinations through Virgin Atlantic’s network from London Heathrow (LHR). Starting in Summer 2025, WestJet will also offer domestic connectivity to Virgin Atlantic’s new route between Toronto-Pearson and London Heathrow.

Key Highlights:

* Expanded access: Beginning this winter, WestJet guests can book itineraries that include Virgin Atlantic-operated flights from LHR to a range of international destinations.

* New Route: By summer 2025, WestJet will connect domestic flights to Virgin Atlantic’s newly announced route between Toronto-Pearson and London Heathrow.

* Enhanced partnership: This marks the first time WestJet’s network will extend beyond Europe via a codeshare through London Heathrow, offering unprecedented access to India, Africa, and the Middle East.

‘Through the expansion of our existing partnership with Virgin Atlantic, we are unlocking amazing opportunities for our guests to access an extensive list of new destinations and to experience Virgin Atlantic’s innovative products and services beyond London,’ said John Weatherill, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer of WestJet. ‘With daily flights from our global hub in Calgary to London, Canadians have never had better international access from across Western Canada to the United Kingdom and beyond.’

In 2025, WestJet Rewards and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will establish a reciprocal frequent flyer partnership, allowing customers to earn and redeem points across both networks.

The agreement was officially signed last week at the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Dubai by WestJet’s John Weatherill and Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Jarvinen. The partnership between WestJet and Virgin Atlantic has been in place since 2019.

Virgin Atlantic expands services with EL AL, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Saudia

Virgin Atlantic has announced the expansion of its codeshare partnerships with EL AL, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Saudia.

These collaborations signify a significant advancement in strengthening Virgin Atlantic’s global network.

In collaboration with EL AL, Israel’s national carrier, Virgin Atlantic introduces enhanced connectivity between the UK, US, and Israel, starting June 10, 2024. This will provide increased flexibility and choice with Virgin Atlantic’s code on EL AL’s London Heathrow – Tel Aviv route and reciprocal benefits, enhanced earning and redemption opportunities. Virgin Atlantic also resumes its Tel Aviv operations from September 5, 2024.

As the first and only UK member airline of the SkyTeam alliance, Virgin Atlantic welcomed SAS Scandinavian Airlines into the SkyTeam Global Alliance, promising enhanced connectivity and access to Scandinavian key hubs. This strategic partnership offers passengers an expanded range of destinations, accompanied by instant earning and redemption opportunities for Flying Club members.

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic launches a new codeshare agreement with SkyTeam member Saudia, for added connectivity between Saudi Arabia and Virgin Atlantic destinations. Effective immediately, passengers can enjoy smooth connections from the US to Jeddah and Riyadh via London Heathrow and Manchester.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this month, we know that giving our customers more choice and award-winning service in the skies is what fuels our success, alongside working with the best partners. We’re delighted to launch codeshares with our SkyTeam partners at SAS and Saudia today, enhancing our connectivity and offering greater customer benefits to our frequent flyers, who will be able to achieve rewards faster.

‘Our return to Tel Aviv on 5 September will be welcome news for customers who have enjoyed our service since 2019, and this time round it’ll be strengthened by our new codeshare partnership with EL AL.’

Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways launch codeshare partnership

Virgin Atlantic and Kenya Airways have announced a new codeshare partnership agreement, enhancing travel options for passengers flying between London Heathrow and Nairobi, as well as providing connections to popular destinations in the Caribbean.

Effective immediately, customers booking through Virgin Atlantic can now directly purchase flights on Kenya Airways’ Heathrow to Nairobi service.

Conversely, Kenya Airways passengers will soon have the opportunity to connect via London Heathrow to Virgin Atlantic’s Caribbean destinations, including Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘We’re delighted to launch our partnership with Kenya Airways. As a fellow member of the SkyTeam alliance, we know our customers will enjoy a seamless travel experience, with more opportunities to earn and spend their miles with increased benefits for our SkyPriority members.

‘We’re committed to enhancing connectivity and as the only UK airline to codeshare on the Heathrow to Nairobi route, we’ll be providing more choice and flexibility for customers booking with Virgin Atlantic.’

Julius Thairu, Chief Commercial and Customer Officer of Kenya Airways, commented; ‘We are excited to embark on this transformative partnership with Virgin Atlantic. By leveraging our complementary strengths and networks, we aim to enrich the travel experience for our valued customers, offering them greater choice, convenience and connectivity to key destinations in the world.’

The partnership extends benefits to members of both airlines’ frequent flyer programmes. Virgin Atlantic’s Gold and Silver Flying Club members, along with Kenya Airways Asante Rewards Platinum and Gold members, can avail SkyPriority services at London Heathrow and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, such as priority check-in, baggage handling, and boarding.

In addition to the convenience of the codeshare partnership, visitors from the United Kingdom and other regions outside of Africa now enjoy simplified travel to Kenya, requiring only online authorization instead of a full visa as of January this year.

Virgin Atlantic announces first ever South American service to Sao Paulo

Virgin Atlantic has announced its entry into South America with the launch of a new route to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Flights on this route will be available for booking from September 6, 2023, and the inaugural flight is scheduled to take off on May 13, 2024. Travelers can look forward to daily flights connecting London to Sao Paulo. The flight itself will be approximately 11 hours and 55 minutes long, using the modern Boeing 787 aircraft. The return Economy fares start from £686 per person.

Sao Paulo, one of the world’s most populous cities, is a thriving hub for multinational businesses. This route caters to both corporate travellers and leisure seekers. In addition, Sao Paulo is celebrated as Brazil’s culinary capital, and offers a rich tapestry of arts and cultural experiences that will captivate leisure travellers.

Sao Paulo serves as the gateway to South America and is a pivotal hub for Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare partner, LATAM, South America’s largest airline. This partnership opens up access to over 50 South American destinations, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Florianopolis, along with loyalty rewards and redemption options for Flying Club members. Additionally, Virgin Atlantic’s SkyTeam alliance partner, Aerolineas Argentinas, facilitates connections from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘The countdown has officially begun to our much-anticipated arrival in Sao Paulo. It’s fitting that our 40th year brings our entry to a brand new continent in South America, symbolising a continued period of network growth for Virgin Atlantic. Sao Paulo is the perfect fit for us, a buzzing metropolis of culture and adventure that suits the differing needs of our rich customer base.

‘Our partnership with LATAM will also unlock further destinations in Brazil and beyond into South America with Skyteam partner Aerolineas Argentinas, opening up a wealth of exciting opportunities for those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic.’

Virgin Atlantic and IndiGo to offer seamless connections between UK and India with new codeshare

British carrier Virgin Atlantic and Indian airline IndiGo have entered into a new codeshare between the UK and India, offering seamless connections and enabling frequent flyers to earn more points.

Subject to approval, the codeshare flights will be available this week for booking for travel beyond September 27, 2022.

With the new codeshare, customers booking a Virgin Atlantic ticket will be able to fly on the airline’s London Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai flights and connect to and from seven additional cities in India. Later this year the agreement will be expanded to cover a total of 16 destinations throughout India, as well as connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s extensive US network operated via London Heathrow.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We’re thrilled to launch a new codeshare partnership with IndiGo. This summer marks our largest ever flying programme from India with three daily direct services to London and our new partnership takes our commitment to even greater heights. IndiGo is India’s largest airline and its extensive network will offer Virgin Atlantic customers even more choice when travelling between the UK and India, as well as offering seamless connections for the onward travel across our extensive US route network.’

The codeshare will allow Virgin Atlantic to sell seats to passengers connecting onto IndiGo flights. The initial codeshare destinations in India include Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Delhi and Mumbai. The additional destinations will include Kochi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Vadodara, Indore and Visakhapatnam.

‘It’s great news for our Flying Club too, by providing more opportunities for members to earn valuable points. This new partnership aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for visiting friends & relatives, leisure as well as business travellers looking for more choice between UK and India.’

Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer and Wholetime Director, IndiGo said: ‘We are pleased to announce our codeshare with Virgin Atlantic to provide enhanced connectivity to the passengers. This will not only help offer a seamless travel experience from London to as many as 16 destinations in India, but also open up international trade opportunities throughout the country via enhanced accessibility. We look forward to having Virgin Atlantic’s customers on our lean clean flying machine, as we extend our on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free travel experience.’

The codeshare will also allow Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club members to earn rewards faster, with opportunities to earn both Virgin Points and Tier Points available on every codeshare with IndiGo.

Virgin Atlantic announces new daily service to Tampa, Florida

Virgin Atlantic has announced its transatlantic expansion with a new direct route from London Heathrow to Tampa, launching on November 3, 2022.

The new year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from November 28. This latest addition follows the airline’s launch of direct flights between London and Austin, Texas in May 2022.

Tampa is known for its rich history and culture as well as being the home of the Superbowl winners, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ice hockey legends, Tampa Bay Lightning. With year-round beautiful weather and stunning Gulf Coast beaches, Tampa is a perfect gateway to Florida’s top attractions with the popular theme parks of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens all within easy reach.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We are delighted to continue our expansion in the US with this new daily service to Tampa, Florida offering even more choice for customers on both sides of the Atlantic to connect between the US and the UK.

‘Florida is very much a firm favourite for our customers ever since our first flight to Miami back in 1986. With the popular theme parks and the stunning beaches of St Pete and Clearwater within easy reach, we know it’s an area our customers will love to explore.’

‘The region has a booming economy with high profile businesses moving to the area and many budding entrepreneurs registering start-ups in the city. We very much look forward to forging new relationships within the Tampa Bay community and cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this exciting region.’

Joe Lopano, Chief Executive Officer at Tampa International Airport commented: ‘We at Tampa International Airport are thrilled to offer our first-ever nonstop route to Heathrow and launch this new partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Not only does this create another Tampa-London option for our leisure travellers, but there’s a huge upside for our thriving business community to now have a direct connection to the world’s premier business airport. We expect this to be a popular route during what we know will be a very busy winter travel season at TPA.’

Offering more than 190,000 seats each year, Virgin Atlantic will be the only airline to directly connect the Tampa Bay region with London’s hub airport, London Heathrow.

Flights are on sale from Wednesday July 13th at www.virginatlantic.com with return Economy fares starting from £436 per person, Premium from £937 per person and Upper Class from £2,256 per person.

Jennifer Lopez and Virgin Voyages giving away 1,000 cabins

Entertainment icon Jennifer Lopez and Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages are giving away 1,000 cabins, according to a press release.

As part of her new role as the company’s chief entertainment & lifestyle officer, Lopez is giving 1,000 guests the opportunity of a free cabin from Miami or Barcelona.

Starting today until June 21, 2022, guests can enter to win a voyage on Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady in a Sea Terrace cabin.

To enter, visit www.VirginVoyages.com and complete the short questionnaire. Winners will receive an email the following month with details on how to book their vacation.

Virgin Voyages has recently brought the entire JLo Beauty collection onboard the Scarlet Lady, making her skincare range available on the high seas for the first time.

The cruise line’s recently-launched second ship, Valiant Lady, is homeported in Port de Barcelona, where she will continue to sail around the Mediterranean this season; while her Miami-based sister ship, Scarlet Lady, explores locations in the Caribbean. Both vessels have 1,330 cabins and 78 RockStar Quarters suites, as well as feature two 2,147-square-foot Massive Suites for VIPs.

Virgin Atlantic announces return of services to Cape Town from London

Virgin Atlantic has announced the return of services to Cape Town from London Heathrow starting November 5, 2022 with a new daily service.

The new winter service runs until March 24, 2023 and will complement the existing year-round daily service to Johannesburg. The service will operate on a Boeing 787-9 with fares starting from £711 economy return. The aircraft boasts three classes, Upper Class, Premium and Economy.

Known for its natural beauty, as well as its rich culture and heritage, Cape Town has something for everyone to enjoy. Home to Robben Island, travellers can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held, which is now a living museum. The more adventurous can ride the cable cars to Table Mountain’s flat top for sweeping views of the city, and the more laid-back may consider the Cape Winelands, the country’s top region for wine tasting tours.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: ‘We’re incredibly excited to return to the fabulous city of Cape Town with daily services from November.

‘Although a little later than we we’d have liked due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the move reflects the fact that travel is recovering and global demand for holidays to sunny, premium destinations is returning at pace.

‘We’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route who will rightly be taking advantage of the winter sun, exploring the world-renowned wine regions and soaking up the rich culture this incredible country has to offer.’

The Cape Town flights are on sale now, return Economy fares start from £711 per person, Premium from £1,318 per person and Upper Class from £3,454 per person.

Virgin Atlantic resumes full US portfolio and expands capacity

Virgin Atlantic has said that it is reinstating its full portfolio of US destinations for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, as travel bookings rise 50 percent year on year.

Starting from April, Virgin Atlantic will add frequencies and reintroduce services to key US gateways. Flights to Seattle and Washington DC will take off next week, with services to New York, San Francisco and Atlanta also increasing. In April, a third daily service to Los Angeles will commence, serving the Californian city more than any other airline.

Virgin Atlantic will operate Orlando flights from its four UK gateways of Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast, resulting in more flights from the UK to the theme park capital of the world than any other carrier. Seattle flights will depart five times weekly from London Heathrow on the March 2. The airline will operate its 787-9, with its on-board bar.

From March 5, London Heathrow to Washington DC services will operate five times a week on an Airbus A330, re-establishing links for both business and leisure travellers alike. Last month, Virgin Atlantic announced its first new US route since 2015, to Austin, Texas which will operate four times weekly from 25 May.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘Following the relaxation of travel restrictions, we’ve seen demand increase to many of our global destinations, but particularly to our heartland in the USA. Our customers can’t wait to return.

‘The restart of our Seattle and Washington DC services mark an important milestone, as we move into recovery and welcome our customers back on board to all the destinations they’ve missed. We’re simply not Virgin without the Atlantic and our growing transatlantic portfolio demonstrates why we’re the airline of choice to the USA.’

Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving further flexibility to customers to support future travel plans. The updated flexible booking policy enables Virgin Atlantic customers making a new holiday or flight-only booking for travel up to December 31, 2022, to make as many changes as necessary to their travel dates, origin or destination, with the change fees waived, as well as one free name change.

Virgin Atlantic to restart services to Tobago from London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced the expansion of its portfolio of flights to the Caribbean as it relaunches its twice weekly services to Tobago.

From January 29, the route will resume from London Heathrow to the island of Tobago, departing every Tuesday and Saturday. The route will be operated on an Airbus A330-300, offering a selection of experiences across three cabins; Upper Class, Premium alongside the airline’s three classes of Economy, Delight, Classic and Light. The flights are on sale now – return Economy fares start from £389 per person, Premium from £985 per person and Upper Class from £2,023 per person.

Tobago is popular for its pleasant climate, vibrant scenery and the world’s oldest protected rainforest. The island is also known for the famous Nylon Pool, a swimming pool in the middle of the ocean. The in-sea shallow white ground coral pool is located off Pigeon Point and accessible by boat. With a wide array of activities on offer, Tobago’s warm climate provides the perfect escape for holidaymakers looking for some winter sun.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We are thrilled to be able to restart our much-loved services between London Heathrow and Tobago. With delicious food, amazing music and stunning views, we know our customers will love exploring this unique island destination.

‘The Caribbean is the linchpin of Virgin Atlantic’s leisure portfolio and we’ve recently introduced a number of new destinations to our flying programme, including The Bahamas, St Lucia and St Vincent and The Grenadines. We can’t wait to fly our customers safely to our amazing Caribbean destinations throughout 2022.’

Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings. The updated flexible booking policy enables Virgin Atlantic customers making a new holiday or flight-only booking for travel up to December 31, 2022, to make as many changes as necessary to their travel dates, origin or destination, with the change fees waived, as well as one free name change.