Official: Virgin Atlantic Launching Austin Flights

Official: Virgin Atlantic Launching Austin Flights

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Yesterday I wrote about how it was rumored that Virgin Atlantic would launch a new route between London and Austin. There’s an update — this route has now been confirmed.

Virgin Atlantic launching new US route

In early December 2021, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer revealed that the airline was finalizing plans to launch a new route to the United States. The intent was for the route to launch in the summer of 2022, and it’s a destination that was described as serving both “leisure and business travellers” (then again, which route doesn’t?).

There has been a lot of speculation about what Virgin Atlantic’s next destination could be. People threw around all kinds of potential cities, from Austin, to Houston, to Minneapolis, to Portland, to Salt Lake City, to San Diego, to Tampa.

Well, it’s now official. As of May 25, 2022, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new 4x weekly flight between London (LHR) and Austin (AUS). The flight will operate with the following schedule:

VS231 London to Austin departing 11:35AM arriving 4:05PM
VS232 Austin to London departing 6:05PM arriving 9:00AM (+1 day)

The flight will operate in both directions on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The 4,915 mile flight is blocked at 10hr30min westbound and 8hr55min eastbound.

Virgin Atlantic will be launching flights to Austin

Virgin Atlantic will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, featuring 258 seats. This includes 31 Upper Class business class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 192 economy class seats. Unfortunately the Boeing 787-9 doesn’t feature Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class product, which is only found on the Airbus A350-1000.

Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 Upper Class

My take on Virgin Atlantic’s Austin flight

Austin has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States for several years now. Many people are moving to Texas for the tax benefits, and if you’ve gotta move to Texas, Austin is as good as it gets (or something like that).

Virgin Atlantic will be facing some stiff competition on this route. In 2014, British Airways launched flights between London and Austin, and the airline has had great success on the route. Capacity on this route has increased significantly over the years, and at times British Airways has even scheduled Boeing 747s to Austin. This coming summer, the airline is planning daily service with its flagship Airbus A350-1000.

British Airways already flies to Austin

What does Virgin Atlantic bring to the table? There’s a transatlantic joint venture between Virgin Atlantic, Delta, and Air France-KLM, as the airlines share revenue and coordinate schedules across the Atlantic. So this would give that joint venture service between the UK and Austin, as an alternative to British Airways’ service.

That being said, it seems to me that Virgin Atlantic will be facing major challenges on this route, at least compared to British Airways:

  • Virgin Atlantic can’t compete on frequencies, as British Airways will operate the route daily, while Virgin Atlantic will operate the route 4x weekly
  • While I’d usually fly Virgin Atlantic over British Airways, in this case the airline has an inferior inflight product — British Airways’ new business class is better than Virgin Atlantic’s old business class
  • Virgin Atlantic will have limited short haul connectivity for this route in London, as the airline doesn’t have any short haul routes, while British Airways has tons of feed for these flights from all over Europe
  • Virgin Atlantic will have limited short haul connectivity for this route in Austin, as Delta has more or less given up on Austin, while British Airways benefits from American having made Austin a focus city
  • Virgin Atlantic won’t even get the consolidated joint venture traffic between Europe and Austin, as KLM is launching an Amsterdam to Austin route this spring, which will offer lots more connectivity

I’m by no means suggesting that Virgin Atlantic will fail here, but the airline will definitely have a tougher time in Austin than British Airways did. Virgin Atlantic is heavily reliant on the market between London and Austin, rather than the consolidated Europe to Austin market.

KLM is also launching flights to Austin

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic will be launching flights to Austin as of May 2022. The airline will operate 4x weekly flights using Boeing 787-9s. It’s great to see Virgin Atlantic launch a new route to the United States, though this route seems particularly challenging to me. I’m curious to see how this market evolves over time, and whether Virgin Atlantic adds or cuts frequencies to Austin over time.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic flying to Austin?

Conversations (47)
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  1. Matt Guest

    I flew into Austin from Cancun late last year on AA. The arrival experience wasn't the best and we were the only arriving flight. Only one baggage belt BEFORE immigration and customs. (Thats the only place I have seen the baggage collect before immigration.) So if your bag comes off last you will be at the back of the immigration queue. There aren't that many desks available either. If they get more and more international...

    I flew into Austin from Cancun late last year on AA. The arrival experience wasn't the best and we were the only arriving flight. Only one baggage belt BEFORE immigration and customs. (Thats the only place I have seen the baggage collect before immigration.) So if your bag comes off last you will be at the back of the immigration queue. There aren't that many desks available either. If they get more and more international flights especially big planes from Europe they are going to struggle. I think there is only 6 international gates and there will be AM (MEX), BA (LHR) AA (CUN, LIR, PVR, PUJ and SJD) B6 (CUN), LH (FRA), WN (CUN, CZM, PVR, PUJ), NK (CUN) VS (LHR) and VB (MEX and MTY)

    How are they going to handle that traffic with 6 gates, 1 baggage belt and a handful of border desks? Or is there another international arrivals hall?

  2. evansc Guest

    DL atleast is trying to increase service to AUS via partners. AA has succeeded in adding service to AUS, but UA has given up and it is heavily relying on nearby IAH. And UA has not grown much in IAH either.

    Still IAH and DFW have the other "foreign" carriers, EK, QR, TK etc which drives the VFR and ethnic traffic. Perhaps one of these 3 might start one to AUS. Even now many...

    DL atleast is trying to increase service to AUS via partners. AA has succeeded in adding service to AUS, but UA has given up and it is heavily relying on nearby IAH. And UA has not grown much in IAH either.

    Still IAH and DFW have the other "foreign" carriers, EK, QR, TK etc which drives the VFR and ethnic traffic. Perhaps one of these 3 might start one to AUS. Even now many drive to IAH (and some to DFW) to catch flights to one of these carriers.

    However I often see AUS discounted when compared to Houston, so now some of us are going to AUS to catch flights, especially international.

  3. Jack Guest

    So the business class product is superior on BA's 35X, gotcha. However, left out was the fact that the majority of the pax will fly in Y and Y+ instead. How do these products compare?

  4. Justin Jordan Guest

    Remember, pre pandemic Norwegian also operated this route to LGW so the capacity was there with both BA and Norwegian. This just fills that void. Additionally Lufthansa flies or will fly again to FRA so you have good coverage from the large European alliances now.

  5. Brianair Guest

    It’s interesting how both Hawaiian and now Virgin Atlantic have chosen Austin as their first destination in Texas. I guess DFW and IAH being legacy mega hubs, for AA and UA respectively, may have played a significant role. By the way, there is an Airliners.net thread on this topic that grew to 9 pages of discussion before this announcement finally came.

  6. Scott Guest

    Was hoping for SLC. Thankfully there is still hope. The SLC Air Service Development Manager confirmed that they are in talks about service to SLC.

  7. Pete S Guest

    I am curious about your statement that Delta has all but given up on Austin. What leads you to conclude that?

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta has increased capacity at as fast of a rate as AA and WN and has surprised UA as the 3rd largest carrier at AUS. DL's network from AUS is still entirely to its hubs and other focus cities- but that is still 10 cities.
      DL never said that it intended to overtake AA or WN in the AUS market; it did say AUS would remain a focus city after it trimmed the list...

      Delta has increased capacity at as fast of a rate as AA and WN and has surprised UA as the 3rd largest carrier at AUS. DL's network from AUS is still entirely to its hubs and other focus cities- but that is still 10 cities.
      DL never said that it intended to overtake AA or WN in the AUS market; it did say AUS would remain a focus city after it trimmed the list of focus cities. And DL's strategy in focus cities has been to add international service which is something low cost and ultra low cost carriers cannot do. For now, AUS is getting only DL partner international flights which is unique from DL focus cities. If the point of sale for AUS is stronger from Europe than the US, that choice makes plenty of sense.

    2. Leigh Guest

      Overall, I like your comments and wisdom…maybe have disagreed at times…but generally agreed.

      Two things about Austin:

      1) How has UA so completely failed? With their nearby IAH hub, they should have countered the AA DFW hub,

      2) AUS needs to factor their available gates given the fast growing flights by AA/WN. There’s already litigation about AUS replacing the LCC south terminal, though I’ve never experienced that terminal. I know that AUS is planning a...

      Overall, I like your comments and wisdom…maybe have disagreed at times…but generally agreed.

      Two things about Austin:

      1) How has UA so completely failed? With their nearby IAH hub, they should have countered the AA DFW hub,

      2) AUS needs to factor their available gates given the fast growing flights by AA/WN. There’s already litigation about AUS replacing the LCC south terminal, though I’ve never experienced that terminal. I know that AUS is planning a satellite terminal, but it needs to be expedited.

  8. Michael Guest

    Does anyone know when they will load the schedule? I want to book this flight asap.

  9. Ian L Guest

    Did a Twitter thread on this:

    https://twitter.com/iansltx/status/1479836281270157319

    tl;dr: due to lack of feed on both sides and a full-service (vs. long haul low-cost), this is gonna be tough. Norwegian was able to fill a denser 789 4x/wk, but that was at low fares, and folks could connect onward on EasyJet or Norwegian itself.

    So I expect DL to add some routes (likely on top of AA, WN, or both) to feed this service, and the...

    Did a Twitter thread on this:

    https://twitter.com/iansltx/status/1479836281270157319

    tl;dr: due to lack of feed on both sides and a full-service (vs. long haul low-cost), this is gonna be tough. Norwegian was able to fill a denser 789 4x/wk, but that was at low fares, and folks could connect onward on EasyJet or Norwegian itself.

    So I expect DL to add some routes (likely on top of AA, WN, or both) to feed this service, and the route to switch to LGW once WS reopens their base there.

    I will say that BA's 35K (and their 789 for that matter) is much more premium-heavy than VS's 789, so maybe BA's fare mix provides an opportunity for VS, but the BA 35K still has more seats in every class than the VS 789, and since that's the matchup, the relative %s may not matter.

    1. Jason Guest

      Again, Virgin Atlantic has an interline agreement at LHR and gets a ton of feed to/from BA. There’s no need to worry about lack of feed at lhr being cause for concern. It’s not

    2. KS Guest

      Just an interline agreement does not mean anything. You can connect full fare codes and get $7000 economy fares; but that means nothing. For VS to be able to offer reasonable fares on connecting itineraries through LHR, they should have an SPR (special prorate agreement) on the route. BA was required to offer SPR to competitors on certain routes (that overlapped with AA) as part of the TATL JV approval. That is why you will...

      Just an interline agreement does not mean anything. You can connect full fare codes and get $7000 economy fares; but that means nothing. For VS to be able to offer reasonable fares on connecting itineraries through LHR, they should have an SPR (special prorate agreement) on the route. BA was required to offer SPR to competitors on certain routes (that overlapped with AA) as part of the TATL JV approval. That is why you will find reasonably priced VS/BA connections on certain routes (e.g. MIA/BOS-LHR) but not others. There is no reason why BA would offer it on AUS-LHR (nor should they have to). So, yes, VS will not have much connectivity at LHR.

    3. Me Guest

      Sounds like we have similar experience.

      Managed the interline for VS/BA…and many other airlines.

      Revenue is revenue.

      BA never had an issue with the interline agreement. As said…revenue is revenue.

      Yes, grumpy with each other on the surface, but behind the scene it worked for both of us, and were tight.

      Interline agreements are misunderstood.

  10. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Delta/Virgin/AirFrance/KLM have significant advantages as part of the same unified joint venture, something AA/oneworld and UA/Star cannot duplicate - as evidenced by the fact that DL and its partners - all of which Delta has invested in as well - will operate two routes on up to two/flights/day from AUS.
    While AA and WN duke it out to be the largest and duplicate each other on domestic flights from AUS, DL is giving AUS...

    Delta/Virgin/AirFrance/KLM have significant advantages as part of the same unified joint venture, something AA/oneworld and UA/Star cannot duplicate - as evidenced by the fact that DL and its partners - all of which Delta has invested in as well - will operate two routes on up to two/flights/day from AUS.
    While AA and WN duke it out to be the largest and duplicate each other on domestic flights from AUS, DL is giving AUS what it and any city wants and which is much harder to provide- robust international service.
    As Gary (VFTW) notes, AUS has been rumored for service to Seoul as part of the DL-KE joint venture; given that access to Tokyo Haneda, like China, is restricted by treaty and average fares will fall to Tokyo Narita as high yield local traffic shifts to HND. Seoul provides the best and perhaps only option to add service to an Asian hub for cities that do not have it.
    DL said pre-pandemic that it was focused on building its international network - which was already the most profitable of the big 3 (AA, DL and UA). We could be seeing alot more announcements like this over the next few years

    1. KS Guest

      Wrong. VS is only 4x weekly (seasonal) and KL is only 3x weekly (planned to be year round). And their services overlap on Monday, which means they don’t have any TATL service on Tues. That is in no way competitive against BA’s daily service year round.

      Basically, the fact is that DL/VS are running put of good routes to make use of their LHR slots.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      if you think that having more capacity on the same route is more valuable than on two different routes, I can't stop you - but actual data shows that two routes - even at lower capacity - almost always deliver higher revenue.
      BA is operating far fewer LHR flights than it has slots for and won't return to its pre-pandemic levels this year- so it is more than a bit of a stretch to say that DL/VS can't find places to profitably use its slots.

    3. KS Guest

      It is not just capacity. VS is not even going to be daily (not even when KL’s flights are taken into account) and is seasonal, and not even better product wise. If you think that is better, OK I am not going to stop you either.

  11. Brit in the Bay Guest

    Virgin's biggest issue is going to be maintaining a decent schedule. It would appear with the routes launched to non US destinations to keep the airline operating when the US borders were effectively shut they don't have enough aircraft to be able to the non US destinations plus their traditional US routes with any real frequency.

    LHR-SFO is a great example of the issue. In the run up to Christmas, VS were merging flights across...

    Virgin's biggest issue is going to be maintaining a decent schedule. It would appear with the routes launched to non US destinations to keep the airline operating when the US borders were effectively shut they don't have enough aircraft to be able to the non US destinations plus their traditional US routes with any real frequency.

    LHR-SFO is a great example of the issue. In the run up to Christmas, VS were merging flights across multiple days due to lack of aircraft. That resulted in the flights that ran being hugely overbooked and VS having to offer decent incentives to get passengers to delay their trip or fly via LAX or ATL. We were offered a free return trip from London to any VS destination if we would be rebooked onto SF0-LAX-LHR that was after our original flight was merged with another two days earlier (meaning further PTO being used up).

    Our experience wasn't a one off. The result has been that VS's reputation has taken a hammering amongst the British ex pat community in the Bay Area. Loyal VS customers rebooking onto BA because they cannot be sure their flight won't be changed by VS in the days leading up to departure.

  12. glenn t Diamond

    I'm sure we will hear some personal insights into why this route would be great from Gary over at VFTW pretty soon!

  13. LAXLonghorn Guest

    First, this would be an exciting and logical development.

    Second, while many good comments here, @Jason actually nailed the little known but very big fact...the VS/BA interline at LHR is substantial, and VS feeds more paxs to BA at LHR than any other airline (other than AA, of course). VS also has a huge book of other interline agreements with other airlines at LHR, especially long-haul, though that's where the KLM alliance partnership really gets...

    First, this would be an exciting and logical development.

    Second, while many good comments here, @Jason actually nailed the little known but very big fact...the VS/BA interline at LHR is substantial, and VS feeds more paxs to BA at LHR than any other airline (other than AA, of course). VS also has a huge book of other interline agreements with other airlines at LHR, especially long-haul, though that's where the KLM alliance partnership really gets into the mix out of AUS (and also LH from a competitive perspective).

    At the end of the day, this appears to be substantially an O/D route, and there's plenty of reason to think it would succeed.

    AUS is already fast growing, will only get much bigger, and while tech heavy it has other industries. And many of those tech (and other) jobs come with salaries that can pay for many leisure trips across the pond:)

  14. Dhiren Guest

    Sorry I don't see it; however, I do believe an LHR-DFW route would be the better option. Austin is great, but the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the fastest growing regions in the entire US alongside the entire North Texas region and one of the most diverse in the country. For instance, there's a huge south Asian population across the Metroplex including being home to the only Sri Lanan restaurant in the entire Southwest...

    Sorry I don't see it; however, I do believe an LHR-DFW route would be the better option. Austin is great, but the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the fastest growing regions in the entire US alongside the entire North Texas region and one of the most diverse in the country. For instance, there's a huge south Asian population across the Metroplex including being home to the only Sri Lanan restaurant in the entire Southwest of the US. There will be more connecting opportunities from LHR to points in Asia served by Virgin. Both KLM, Delta and Air France serve the city and with the airport expansion under way there is more potential than Austin. Until 2005 it was a hub for Delta Airlines as well and they still maintain a sizeable presence and use their groundbreaking A220 variant on this route from airports such as LGA, JFK, LAX, and DTW

    Yes, Austin has a tech corridor, but DFW has that and more and so in terms of being economically viable and however way you want to look at it DFW would be the much better option. You also have greater access to conventions, jobs, sports venues, shopping destinations, and activities across the entire Metroplex, making it a year-round destination as opposed to Austin.

    1. Leigh Guest

      How does VS/SkyTeam even attempt to penetrate DFW with AA completely owning the market?? Talk about a money-losing proposal for VS...

      ...Gee Whiz....

    2. Leigh Guest

      PS - and using the fact that Dallas has (1) Sri Lankan restaurant as a rationale to launch a route kinda made me smile. Finally, re the A220....not sure if you realized what you're saying...but DL has now moved to use their smallest mainline aircraft to their hubs from DFW....think about that for a moment.

    3. Luke Guest

      And DFW is already highly served by multiple carriers for connections to South Asia including ME2, Turkish, etc. Air India I speculate may soon expand to add either DFW or IAH as their next US destination.

      Austin has much less competition should be good for this growing market.

  15. Jerry Diamond

    Norwegian flew to LGW from AUS prior to the pandemic. Since that route ended, the city and airport have only grown. Google, Apple, Tesla, Oracle, and Indeed probably will generate enough traffic to London alone for a second player to profitably fly the route.

  16. Jake212 Guest

    This rumor confuses me. As many have already stated this route wouldn’t be about connections as there’s little to none from VS @ LHR and DL @ AUS, so this would be about O&D to London. Now with two full service carriers potentially about to operate AUS-LHR it seems like overkill given the little business ties between the two cities. At least BA benefits from a large AA FF base in AUS with some AA...

    This rumor confuses me. As many have already stated this route wouldn’t be about connections as there’s little to none from VS @ LHR and DL @ AUS, so this would be about O&D to London. Now with two full service carriers potentially about to operate AUS-LHR it seems like overkill given the little business ties between the two cities. At least BA benefits from a large AA FF base in AUS with some AA connections and a large swath of connections on the LHR side. On top of that AUS is a Tech city while London’s primary industry is that of a Financial hub.

    I don’t get why VS would choose AUS. Heck, even SAN would have made more sense. Larger metro area, beaches, warm weather without the oppressive humidity of AUS and many other reasons.

    1. Brit in the Bay Guest

      I agree with your comments, although I think you are underestimating London's tech scene hugely- which, of course VS, will have looked at in detail.

      Sure London is home to the traditional banks and is a financial center but tech is fast catching up. Aside from the major tech companies who have significant presence in the UK, London (despite Brexit) is still the main city that VC backed tech companies expand to first when...

      I agree with your comments, although I think you are underestimating London's tech scene hugely- which, of course VS, will have looked at in detail.

      Sure London is home to the traditional banks and is a financial center but tech is fast catching up. Aside from the major tech companies who have significant presence in the UK, London (despite Brexit) is still the main city that VC backed tech companies expand to first when they start considering international expansion (numerous sources back this up- Frontline Ventures reports a good start).

      The amount of 'tech travel' into London is large, this is why, for example, BA, was (and will be again) running LHR-SJC daily alongside 2 x daily LHR-SFO.

  17. David Guest

    Love this! Do you know of any updates or rumors for the Turkish Airlines new Denver route?

  18. stogieguy7 Diamond

    SLC would have made more sense operationally. It's a DL hub and, somewhat like Austin, a very fast growing area. At least in SLC, Delta would provide a lot of inbound connections for a Virgin Atlantic flight to LHR (as they don't have many connections once you get there). As they chose AUS, they need to depend almost entirely on point to point traffic, which is not that sure of a thing.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      IIRC, Delta operated SLC-LHR on its own aircraft and could restart it. I suspect that VS and DL are comfortable w/ both the size of the AUS-LHR local market as well as growth potential not just for AUS but for DL and Skyteam in Texas in addition to the strategic considerations I outlined below.

    2. Scott Guest

      SLC-LHR is returning 2023. But SLC is in talks with VS so we will see what happens!

  19. Tom Guest

    It seems that the Austin-Europe routes are not about providing connections on the US side but just to support the fairly massive traffic from the Austin-San Antonio corridor to Europe. So the lack of Virgin/Delta connections at AUS isn't likely to be a problem; the two cities can fill the demand all on their own.

    As a Delta flyer out of San Antonio this would be awesome. If I want to get to London today...

    It seems that the Austin-Europe routes are not about providing connections on the US side but just to support the fairly massive traffic from the Austin-San Antonio corridor to Europe. So the lack of Virgin/Delta connections at AUS isn't likely to be a problem; the two cities can fill the demand all on their own.

    As a Delta flyer out of San Antonio this would be awesome. If I want to get to London today I'm leaving the house mid-morning to get a connection through one of the hubs. But if Virgin times their flight like BA did I can leave just after lunch and have an easy nonstop with an early arrival into Heathrow. Perfect.

  20. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Austin appears to be about serving secondary US cities as part of US-EU/UK joint ventures. Delta started several international routes from its focus cities/non-hub cities and those have been primarily to AMS or CDG. BA has stated it will start service to a couple cities in which DL started service so AUS might be the shootout between BA and DL about service to secondary cities. With JV hubs at LHR, AMS and CDG and a...

    Austin appears to be about serving secondary US cities as part of US-EU/UK joint ventures. Delta started several international routes from its focus cities/non-hub cities and those have been primarily to AMS or CDG. BA has stated it will start service to a couple cities in which DL started service so AUS might be the shootout between BA and DL about service to secondary cities. With JV hubs at LHR, AMS and CDG and a single JV for all of those hubs, Skyteam has an advantage over oneworld in terms of coverage of Europe.
    As has been noted, AMS is likely a better and more efficient hub for connecting beyond the European gateway; AA/BA's abililty to compete for beyond gateway traffic limits their ability to compete for local LHR traffic; DL/VS does not have that issue since AMS exists and DL,VS,AF/KL are all part of the same joint venture so there is no benefit or loss as to which carries non gateway traffic.

    As for AUS, DL's capacity growth has been in line with other carriers and they have overtaken UA as the 3rd largest carrier at AUS.

    DL also built a new 10k sf SkyClub which is one of the largest in a non-hub city; they are doing the same thing at BNA, btw.

    DL has not come close to detailing its plans for AUS so they very well could add more flights that could feed an AUS-LHR flight but the point of these flights is not beyond US gateway connections but rather local traffic. and AA offers very few connections beyond AUS that logically flow over AUS - cities that don't require backtracking or aren't already BA cities.

    1. LAXLonghorn Guest

      DL's not keeping up with AA or WN for growth in AUS. It's just that UA has been appalling, so just natural that DL has eclipsed them.

      Finally, this comment:

      "AA/BA's abililty to compete for beyond gateway traffic limits their ability to compete for local LHR traffic"

      Completely NOT factual. It's called revenue management. AA/BA/airlines allocate seats based on the yields...PROS, a computerized system that most airlines use, factors inventory based on yield....in high season...

      DL's not keeping up with AA or WN for growth in AUS. It's just that UA has been appalling, so just natural that DL has eclipsed them.

      Finally, this comment:

      "AA/BA's abililty to compete for beyond gateway traffic limits their ability to compete for local LHR traffic"

      Completely NOT factual. It's called revenue management. AA/BA/airlines allocate seats based on the yields...PROS, a computerized system that most airlines use, factors inventory based on yield....in high season it can be skewed more on AUS-LHR segment to satisfy market demand. In other seasons, when there is less market demand on the sector, PROS can skew towards online or offline sectors (except for the higher-yield/profitable booking classes). AA/BA are not spilling traffic on the AUS-LHR sector...that's not how airlines operate.

  21. Scudder Guest

    AUS also serves as a secondary airport for San Antonio, a bigger city (also growing) with less international service.

    1. JetAway Guest

      At one time, there was serious talk about building a shared international airport between AUS and SAT (similar to IAD) but leadership of the two cities couldn't agree on a specific location. That talk has been resurrected in recent months.

  22. Creditcrunch Diamond

    With BA putting their new Club Suite on the AUS route it will be interesting to see what equipment VS use, I would have thought the A351 but with a new route and that’s VS largest capacity aircraft I doubt they can make it work for a few years so they will end up putting the sub par B787 UCS.

  23. Jason Guest

    Lufthansa also flies to Austin.

    Virgin Atlantic has an interline agreement at London Heathrow - you'd be surprised at how much connectivity they sell onto British Airways at London. Way more than you'd expect.

    Austin is fine but if I had to live in Texas, Houston all the way. More diverse, cosmopolitan, and better infrastructure.

    1. Usman Cheema Guest

      +1000 to Houston > Austin

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Houston's a swampy S-hole...can't think of too many major US metro areas I'd pick Houston over. Maybe Indianapolis but it would be close.

    3. evansc Guest

      Houston is probably the most diverse US city. Of course some hate it, but many like it, that is why the greater metro population is now around 7 million.

  24. John Guest

    Curious as to what, if any, onward connections on Delta would be then.

    Virgin has no short haul at the UK end, and I don't think Delta has much at the Austin end.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Delta was making AUS as a focus city, but then it took an arrow to the knee.

    2. shoeguy Guest

      If VS launches LHR-AUS-LHR, it won't be to capture connections, really. It will be a P2P route, and the demand is likely there. AUS is a fast growing city, plenty of tech and leisure demand also there, with AUS based travelers happy not to have to take a connecting flight through DFW or IAH to get to places.

      As to the UK end, that same issue of no short haul on the UK end...

      If VS launches LHR-AUS-LHR, it won't be to capture connections, really. It will be a P2P route, and the demand is likely there. AUS is a fast growing city, plenty of tech and leisure demand also there, with AUS based travelers happy not to have to take a connecting flight through DFW or IAH to get to places.

      As to the UK end, that same issue of no short haul on the UK end exists for the entire DL/VS TATL operation so AUS doesn't make a difference there at all. Enough demand to/from London alone to probably make this route viable, but it is a bit late. BA already in there and AA is making AUS a major focus city, whether DL likes it or not.

    3. Jason Guest

      No connectivity onto Delta at Austin.
      Just people from the Austin region going to London and beyond. You'd be surprised at how much connectivity Virgin sells onto British Airways at Heathrow.

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Matt Guest

I flew into Austin from Cancun late last year on AA. The arrival experience wasn't the best and we were the only arriving flight. Only one baggage belt BEFORE immigration and customs. (Thats the only place I have seen the baggage collect before immigration.) So if your bag comes off last you will be at the back of the immigration queue. There aren't that many desks available either. If they get more and more international flights especially big planes from Europe they are going to struggle. I think there is only 6 international gates and there will be AM (MEX), BA (LHR) AA (CUN, LIR, PVR, PUJ and SJD) B6 (CUN), LH (FRA), WN (CUN, CZM, PVR, PUJ), NK (CUN) VS (LHR) and VB (MEX and MTY) How are they going to handle that traffic with 6 gates, 1 baggage belt and a handful of border desks? Or is there another international arrivals hall?

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evansc Guest

Houston is probably the most diverse US city. Of course some hate it, but many like it, that is why the greater metro population is now around 7 million.

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evansc Guest

DL atleast is trying to increase service to AUS via partners. AA has succeeded in adding service to AUS, but UA has given up and it is heavily relying on nearby IAH. And UA has not grown much in IAH either. Still IAH and DFW have the other "foreign" carriers, EK, QR, TK etc which drives the VFR and ethnic traffic. Perhaps one of these 3 might start one to AUS. Even now many drive to IAH (and some to DFW) to catch flights to one of these carriers. However I often see AUS discounted when compared to Houston, so now some of us are going to AUS to catch flights, especially international.

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