Delta Launching Seasonal Portland To London Flight

Filed Under: Delta

As I wrote about on Sunday, Virgin Atlantic will be launching daily Boeing 787-9 flights between Seattle and London Heathrow in 2017. While it wasn’t initially explicitly stated, my assumption was that Virgin Atlantic will be replacing Delta on the route, given Delta’s large international presence in Seattle, and the fact that the two airlines have a joint venture.

Based on what I’ve heard, while Delta’s flights from Seattle to Amsterdam and Paris have been doing well, the same isn’t true for their flight to London, given the limited connecting traffic they have out of there.

Well, it’s now official — Delta will be discontinuing their Seattle to London Heathrow flight and giving the route to Virgin Atlantic. The inauguration date has also moved up — Virgin Atlantic will start flying between Seattle and London as of March 26, 2017.

But what’s cool is what Delta will be doing with the slot which is now freed from the Seattle to London Heathrow route.


Delta will be introducing seasonal 4x weekly flights between Portland and London Heathrow, which will last from May 26, 2017, through October 29, 2017. This complements Delta’s existing longhaul flights out of Portland, including service to Amsterdam and Tokyo Narita.

The new seasonal Delta service will operate with the following schedule:

DL36 Portland to London departing 5:00PM arriving 11:05AM (+1 day)
DL37 London to Portland departing 12:30PM arriving 3:15PM

That seems like great aircraft utilization, as Delta can do that rotation in just under a day.

Delta-One-London - 3
Delta’s 767 business class cabin

Bottom line

These are some interesting changes we’re seeing from Delta in both Seattle and Portland.

The new Portland flight has some potential given that it’s only seasonal and 4x weekly, so it’ll likely be mostly a leisure route. That being said, given Delta’s limited partners out of London, I can’t imagine the route will have all that much connecting traffic.

Virgin Atlantic expanding to Seattle is awesome, given that they have a superior product to Delta. The downside is that Delta elites aren’t getting metal reciprocity, in the sense that they can’t use their Global Upgrades, get Comfort+ seating, etc.

Virgin Atlantic A330 business class

What do you make of these swaps and expansion to Portland?

  1. Delta & Virgin Atlantic are making some other route changes, with Delta taking over a DTW route and ATL route from Virgin and Virgin launching a flight from Manchester to JFK

  2. Interesting what this might imply about the Delta-Alaska partnership because I feel it will be critical to the success of this route. Although a few low costs had success in PDX (Iceland, Condor) and LHR is PDX biggest European O&D so I might be wrong.

  3. I looked on the virgin app this am while my kid was at swim lessons. 3/26 still shows sea>Lhr being a delta flight.

  4. @ Adam

    Virgin’s ending DTW? I’m supposed to fly that route in two weeks in J!

  5. I don’t see how PDX will be more successful than SEA. Looks like just a slot holding move.

  6. @Nolan Snoeyink Don’t worry. LHR – DTW on Virgin will not end until May, 2017

    Happy traveling!

  7. I am just excited for the next Delta fare war and the possibility of cheap biz seats to Europe from the Pacific NW. 🙂

  8. You would be surprised how many passengers fly AC PDX-YVR/YYC/YYZ-Europe. This should be interesting to see at what price point Delta will sell the tickets at.

  9. Nonstop to London sounds appealing . Probably expensive in miles or cash . We’ll find out .

  10. You show a picture of Delta’s 767 Business Class but do not explicitly give the aircraft type in the article. Is it a 767 or something newer and more interesting?

  11. Damn. Wished it was BA or VA instead. Think BA would do much better, but could be wrong.

  12. I don’t know how Lucky can say Virgin’s product is superior to Delta. That’s just not factual. Sure, Virgin Atlantic’s soft product is great–the marketing, the mystique–and is generally premium. But let’s not forget that unless you’re flying New York-London it doesn’t really live up to expectations. Virgin Atlantic has zero premium services in its far-flung U.S. stations. The same is true in the U.K.; fly Atlanta-Manchester. There isn’t a Virgin lounge in Manchester. Chauffeur service is limited or not available.

    As for Portland, I think this makes sense and could see it expanding eventually to daily flights because of Nike and other business interests in Oregon. I actually enjoy flying out of Portland. I’ve done the Amsterdam flight a couple of times and have always had good luck redeeming a global upgrade certificate. The only issue I see is the rather horrible 5 p.m. departure time from Portland. Unless your body is on Eastern time, it will be difficult to get any sleep at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

  13. any sense of what arrival terminal at LHR the pdx flights will use? Location of Delta sky club (and virgin!) locations have moved somewhat, I understand.

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