Category Archives: Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic withdraws its support for Heathrow’s third runway

Viegin Atlantic Airways has withdrawn its support for a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The airline is upset that the airport is preparing to raise landing fees by 120%.

The airline also wants its own terminal at LHR and wants the airport to return to full capacity by next summer.

Dive deeper:

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-1041 G-VPOP (msn 298) LHR (Robbie Shaw). Image: 949253.

Virgin Atlantic Airways aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic touches down in Tampa with its new Airbus A330-900

Virgin Atlantic Airways made this announcement:

Above Copyright Photo: Eurospot.

Sir Richard Branson has touched down in Tampa Bay for the first time on November 2 on Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural Airbius A330neo flight. The flight was also welcomed by the Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor and CEO of Tampa Airport Joe Lopano, alongside representatives from Visit Tampa Bay and Visit St Pete Clearwater, marking the regions first ever direct services to London Heathrow.

The new Airbus A330neo, named Billie Holiday, flew over a delegation of VIPs, including the airline’s CEO Shai Weiss. On board, guests were treated to an array of the region’s famous cuisine including Cuban sandwiches, key lime pies and Two Tribes Floridian beers. In a nod to the city’s world class sports teams, Sir Richard Branson and Shai Weiss donned the sports jerseys of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they posed for photographs alongside the airline’s world-famous cabin crew.

The new year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from 28th November, complementing the airline’s flights to Miami and Orlando. This latest addition follows the airline’s launch of direct flights between London and Austin, Texas in May 2022, cementing the USA as Virgin Atlantic’s heartland. The airline’s expanded joint venture with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM means customers across the US and Europe will be able to connect seamlessly onto the new service via Heathrow.

Tampa Bay will be one of the first destinations to experience Virgin Atlantic’s brand-new Airbus A330neo which is designed to provide a premium, personalised experience for every single customer. The airline’s Upper Class cabin boasts a brand new seat, evolution of its iconic social space and the unveiling of The Retreat Suite, the most spacious suite in Virgin Atlantic’s history.

Route facts

Aircraft type 

Airbus A330neo, 30 Upper Class suites, 2 Retreat Suites, 46 Premium seats, 28 Economy Delight 156 Economy classic  

Current route frequency 

Daily from 28 November

Flight timings and flight number 

LHR – TPA – VS129 – 13.25 / 19:35 

TPA – LHR – VS130– 21:50 / 10:15 (next day arrival) 

First flight 

2 November 2022


 Return fares in Economy are from £440 per person

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic introduces its new autumn/winter menu

Virgin Atlantic Airways ahs made this announcementL

  • Virgin Atlantic has introduced a brand-new Autumn/Winter menu across its network from 5th October
  • New 330ml cans of Cobra beer will feature in Upper Class on eastbound routes, Brooklyn Pilsner beer in Upper Class on US and Caribbean routes, and other new additions to the carrier’s beverage offering
  • A new range of wellness super blends Twinings teas are also now available in our premium cabin

Virgin Atlantic has launched its new Autumn/Winter menu across all cabins from October 5, 2022, with a focus on seasonal comfort and destination inspired dishes.

Upper Class customers will be welcomed onboard with a refreshing glass of Hambledon English sparkling wine paired with British raspberries and sweet rhubarb tonic, or Champagne and rosemary truffle artisan crisps. New additions to the Upper Class menu include delicious dishes such as; thyme and garlic roasted chicken with dauphinoise potatoes, baby carrots, tender stem broccoli and peppercorn sauce; miso and sesame crusted salmon with sweet potato purée, bok choi and a honey and ginger sauce and mushroom, red wine & tarragon pie with mashed potatoes, garden vegetables and herb gravy. Virgin Atlantic has also added to its pre-order menu, where Upper Class and Premium customers can pre-select their inflight meals between 72-24 hours of departure. New additions include Lamb hotpot with vermicelli rice and seasonal vegetables and Vegetable korma with Gujarati green beans, jeera pilau rice and paratha.

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Extra Bites menu also has some brand-new additions, including cream tea with fudge scones and clotted cream, salted caramel spread and strawberry jam. Customers can also choose from a gourmet fish goujon hot sandwich served with tartare sauce, and a chicken Caesar club sandwich served with salted crisps. Customers will also savouring our brand new British Northern Bloc ice creams in chocolate chip and vegan lemon sorbet flavours.

To wash these flavourful foods down, Virgin Atlantic has also introduced new beverages to its onboard menu, including Brooklyn Pilsner, Cobra lager, and Lucky Saint non-alcoholic beer. Joining the line-up is people-pleaser Brook Ridge Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Diemersdal Pinotage from South Africa, and Soave and Pinot Noir from the family-owned Gianni Tessari estate.

Premium customers will enjoy a vibrant and fresh seasonal menu, with highlights including hearty chicken casserole with mustard mash and buttered savoy cabbage; classic shepherd’s pie, vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes or Thai green vegetable curry with steamed jasmine rice. Followed by Virgin Atlantic’s iconic Mile High Tea featuring delicate finger sandwiches, warm scones and a mini patisserie selection of lemon posset choux and walnut carrot cake. Premium customers will also enjoy a brand-new range of wellness super blends Twinings teas to support their every need from catching forty winks with the ‘Sleep’ apple, vanilla and chamomile blend, to feeling refreshed with the after-dinner ‘Digest’ blend. For breakfast, Premium customers will enjoy a new enhanced selection of hot cooked breakfasts, served with fresh seasonal fruit, yoghurt, and breakfast pastries.

Last but never least, Economy features tasty options to please the whole family, such as chicken tikka masala with saffron rice, red quinoa and green peas and creamy macaroni cheese with a panko and cheese crumb. Customers can also enjoy an on-demand pantry offering sweet and savoury snacks, whenever they’re peckish in between main meal services.

The above are just a handful of options available to Virgin Atlantic customers travelling with the airline over the colder months. There is something for everyone to enjoy, with these tasty new dishes sure to kickstart customers’ holidays in the best way.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic said:

“We’re pleased to announce an enhanced food and drinks service on board. By creating new dishes and working with new partners, we’re bringing a more personal, unique Virgin Atlantic experience for all our customers during the Autumn/Winter season.

“Creating magical moments for our customers is what we do best; delighting them from the moment they step on board to when they land into their destination. We will continue to develop our inflight offering, as our customers do business, visit family, or seek winter sun for that much needed holiday.”

Virgin Atlantic slide show:


Virgin Atlantic takes delivery of its first Airbus A330neo

Virgin Atlantic Airways has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330neo (G-VJAZ).

Above Copyright Photo: Eurospot.

Virgin Atlantic quits on Hong Kong, cites Russian airspace closures

Virgin Atlantic Airways has come to the conclusion that its long-range route from London (Heathrow) to Hong Kong is not econonically viable due to the overflight restrictions imposed by Russia.

The restrictions create longer flight times to avoid the closed airspace.

This move will end 30 years of operations to HKG. It is closing its Hong Kong office.

Previously the airline stated it would resume HKG service in March 2023.

The airline suspended service to HKG in December 2021.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350-1041 G-VPRD (msn 319) BRU (Ton Jochems). Image: 957134.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic updates its gender identity policy

Virgin Atlantic Airways has issued this revision to its new gender identity policy:

  • Virgin Atlantic announces an update to its gender identity policy and removes requirement for its people to wear gendered uniform options
  • The policy, effective today, champions the individuality of Virgin Atlantic’s people by enabling them to wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves. This follows previous changes including optional make up and allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its front line people
  • In addition to the policy, wider updates include the introduction of optional pronoun badges, ticketing system amends to allow for passport holders with gender neutral gender markers to use their gender codes and titles, mandatory inclusivity training for staff and training in destination with tourism and hotel partners
  • It comes as research* finds that allowing staff to embrace their individuality at work increases mental wellbeing (49%), feelings of happiness (65%) and creates a better experience for staff and customers (24%)

Virgin Atlantic has launched its updated gender identity policy, giving its crew, pilots, and ground team the option to choose which of the iconic uniforms, designed by Vivienne Westwood, best represents them – no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.

Crew members (left to right) Jamie Forsstroem, Tania Wiks, Alison Porte, Leigh Dixon, Gary Ogden join TV personality, Michelle Visage, to showcase Virgin Atlantic's gender identity uniform policy and pronoun badges, rolled out across the airline for colleagues from today.
Crew members (left to right) Jamie Forsstroem, Tania Wiks, Alison Porte, Leigh Dixon, Gary Ogden join TV personality, Michelle Visage, to showcase Virgin Atlantic’s gender identity uniform policy and pronoun badges, rolled out across the airline for colleagues from today.

Reflecting the diversity of the workforce and in a move that cements its position as the most inclusive airline in the skies, Virgin Atlantic will offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms, meaning LGBTQ+ colleagues will be able to choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.

The announcement is part of an ongoing drive to champion the individuality of its people and customers and is complemented by the roll out of optional pronoun badges for all its people and those traveling with the airline. This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns. The badges will be available to teams and customers from today and customers simply need to ask for their preferred badge at the check in desk or in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

Virgin Atlantic has also updated its ticketing systems to allow for those who hold passports with gender neutral gender markers to select ‘U’ or ‘X’ gender codes on their booking as well as the gender-neutral title, ‘Mx.’ In lieu of passports with gender neutral gender markers being available for all, Virgin Atlantic is implementing a longer-term plan to amend communication preferences to ensure customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns across all touchpoints.

Mandatory inclusivity training will also be rolled out for its people at all levels across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays as well as a series of inclusivity learning initiatives for tourism partners and hotels within destinations such as the Caribbean to ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality. 

Launched as part of its ‘Be Yourself’ agenda, the airline has already unveiled a series of industry-leading inclusivity initiatives for its people to ensure they can truly be themselves at work and feel comfortable in their roles. This latest addition follows a decision in 2019 to offer cabin crew the choice whether to wear make-up as well as the option to wear trousers and flat shoes. More recently the airline lifted restrictions around allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its front line people.

The announcement comes as research finds that enabling employees to express their true selves at work boosts happiness (65%), increases mental wellbeing (49%), creates a more positive workplace culture (36%) and provides a better experience for customers (24%). Employees also reported feeling more accepted and comfortable when able to be their true selves at work (26%) and an increased sense of loyalty to their employer (21%).

The airline’s initiatives also include an update of its existing trans inclusion policies, which already allows time off for medical treatments related to gender transition, personal choice of changing & shower facilities that align with the gender a person identifies as and co-creation of a personalised transitioning plan.

*Data conducted by 3Gem on behalf of Virgin Atlantic between September 5-6, 2022, polling 2,000 adults aged 18+ across the UK.

Virgin Atlantic Airways aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Atlantic to join the SkyTeam Alliance

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement:

  • The airline will join the alliance early 2023, enhancing SkyTeam’s offering at both London Heathrow and Manchester Airport
  • Customers will benefit from more opportunities to earn and redeem miles, with access to an extensive global route network
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver and Gold members will receive a raft of Elite and Elite Plus member benefits delivered under the SkyPriority brand
  • Virgin Atlantic is already a founding partner of a Joint Venture partnership with SkyTeam members Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM

SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, and Virgin Atlantic have today announced that the UK airline will join as SkyTeam’s newest member in early 2023. Virgin Atlantic will become SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester Airport.

Virgin Atlantic customers will benefit from a consistent, seamless customer experience, across 1,000+ global destinations. They’ll also have more opportunities to earn and redeem points across member airlines and access to a network of 750+ airport lounges, spanning six continents.

The airline’s Flying Club members will enjoy significant benefits from the day of joining, with a global expansion of its loyalty offering. Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders will be recognized as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members will become Elite Plus.  This recognition provides a raft of benefits, including priority check in, baggage handling and boarding. Flying Club members will be able to take advantage of the benefits as soon as Virgin Atlantic officially enrolls in SkyTeam, which is expected in early 2023.

Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the alliance builds upon the success of its transatlantic joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, each already long established SkyTeam members. The four partners are co-located at London Heathrow’s Terminal Three, alongside existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connection times possible.

Codeshare agreements are already in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines with options for more codeshares to follow.  Interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.

Virgin Atlantic flies to 12 destinations throughout the USA in partnership with Delta and Air France-KLM including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco.  In May the airline launched a brand-new service to Austin, Texas and will start daily flights to Tampa, Florida from November. Virgin Atlantic also operates an extensive Caribbean portfolio including Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, and The Bahamas.  Virgin Atlantic also operates services to Greater China, India, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa.

SkyTeam members, Delta, Air France and KLM are already collocated at Virgin Atlantic’s home base at London Heathrow Terminal 3. Virgin Atlantic operates long-haul services from UK regional airports including Edinburgh and Manchester. The airline offers a comprehensive network to North America and the Caribbean in partnership with Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM, and also operates services to Greater China, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

Virgin Atlantic’s first Airbus A330neo is named “Billie Holiday”

Virgin Atlantic Airways has released photos of its first Airbus A330neo names “Billie Holiday”.

The pictured A330-941 will be delivered as G-VJAZ (msn 2018).

The airline has 14 copies on order.

The airline describes its new addition:

The A330neo is the latest addition to our aircraft family. Its slender 64 metre wingspan is nearly 4 metres more than our A330-300 and helps make it one of the most efficient aircraft in the sky and able to fly further and faster.

Innovative cabins

You’ll enjoy more ways to stay connected than ever before, with Bluetooth enabled entertainment systems, our fastest ever Wi-Fi, a greater number of USB connections and wireless charging in Premium and Upper Class.

The Retreat Suite

At the front of the Upper Class cabin you’ll find two of our most spacious suites yet. Each Retreat Suite boasts an ottoman that doubles up as an extra seat so up to four people can enjoy an intimate dinner together in their own private social space, or settle in comfort to watch a film on the 27″ touchscreen.

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:


Virgin Atlantic and IndiGo announce a new codeshare agreement

Virgin Atlantic and IndiGo have announced a new codeshare between the UK and India, offering seamless connections and increased opportunities for frequent flyers to earn more points than ever before.

The codeshare partnership will mean 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 7 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.


The agreement 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.

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

The codeshare flights will be available this week for booking for travel beyond 27th September, subject to government approval.


Codeshare destinations

Phase one Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Delhi, Mumbai
Phase two Kochi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Vadodara, Indore and Vishakhapatnam. Connect on IndiGo to and from London Heathrow via Delhi / Mumbai

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:


Kenya Airways and Virgin Atlantic sign an interline agreement

Kenya Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways have signed an interline agreement:

Kenya Airways (KQ), and Virgin Atlantic (VS) announced an interline agreement that will provide greater convenience to customers.

Under the interline agreement, Kenya Airways will extend its reach in the US, the Caribbean, and Israel via London. Kenya Airways customers flying to London will be able to connect with Virgin Atlantic-operated flights to Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Austin, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Antigua, Barbados, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, and Tel Aviv among others.

The agreement further enables Virgin Atlantic passengers to book a through ticket to Nairobi and enjoy seamless connections to Kenya Airways destinations across Africa including Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles, Mauritius, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar among others.

Previously, Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA) have signed a codeshare agreement that opens more destinations for seamless travel opportunities. As demand for air travel rebounds, the code-sharing agreement will see each airline sell, under its own code, flights operated by each other; South African Airways or Kenya Airways. SAA’s customers will continue to have the ability to earn Voyager Miles on these new codeshare flights. The deal enables travelers to combine flight segments and baggage on a single ticket.

Passengers travelling out of South Africa will have more options to travel to African destinations including Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Mombasa, and Kisumu while KQ passengers will have more choices for travel into Southern Africa including Cape Town, Durban, and Harare immediately. The growth of the partnership will see the addition of Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Juba, Douala, Lusaka Ghana and Nigeria subject to government approval as the airlines seek to offer more options for travelers within Africa.

Kenya Airways aircraft photo gallery: