Virgin Atlantic Launching Toronto Flights As Of March 2025

Virgin Atlantic Launching Toronto Flights As Of March 2025

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Virgin Atlantic has just announced its newest long haul flight, and it’s not necessarily the next route I would have expected from the airline…

Virgin Atlantic adds London to Toronto flight

As of March 30, 2025, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new daily flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ). The airline states it will use a mix of aircraft on the 3,556-mile route, including the Airbus A330-900neo. The new route is expected to be bookable as of June 19, 2024, at which point the schedule will be revealed.

This will be the first time in more than a decade that Virgin Atlantic flies to Canada — the airline last flew to Vancouver (YVR) through 2014. The Toronto service is technically a route resumption, as Virgin Atlantic last operated this route in 2001, but it was cut after a short time due to 9/11.

The motivation of the route is described as connecting two global financial hubs, and providing optimal connectivity to Virgin Atlantic’s India network, including flights to Delhi (DEL), Mumbai (BOM), and newly launched service to Bengaluru (BLR).

On top of that, Virgin Atlantic is launching an expanded codeshare partnership with WestJet as of October 2024. This will allow Canadian customers to travel throughout the region, including flights from Ottawa and Winnipeg. Frequent flyer reciprocity is also expected in 2025 (which I’m looking forward to — hopefully it’s possible to redeem Flying Club points on WestJet).

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-900neo Upper Class

This route seems logical enough, I guess?

For a London-based airline, flying to Toronto makes sense. However, Virgin Atlantic in general is kind of in a tricky spot when it comes to route expansion:

  • The airline doesn’t have many growth aspirations, given that it exclusively has long haul aircraft, and doesn’t have many more planes on order
  • Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta, so the carrier’s biggest focus is on the transatlantic joint venture with Delta and Air France-KLM
  • Outside of the North Atlantic and India, Virgin Atlantic kind of struggles with strategy; the airline was going to fly to Sao Paulo, but backtracked, and the airline also hasn’t done much to expand to North Asia or Southeast Asia

I can see how there’s a fair bit of demand between Toronto and London, and also between Toronto and India, so I assume this route will do fine. However, there’s no doubt a lot of competition here, as Air Canada dominates Toronto, and British Airways also has a significant presence there.

While a partnership with WestJet helps as well, a majority of WestJet’s network in Toronto is leisure flying to warm destinations, which doesn’t really do much for this route.

So I’m curious to see how this evolves. Virgin Atlantic does have a history of launching flights and then canceling them sooner rather than later, so we’ll see if the service to Canada succeeds.

Virgin Atlantic faces stiff competition in Toronto

Bottom line

As of the spring of 2025, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new daily flight between London and Toronto. This marks Virgin Atlantic’s return to Canada for the first time in over a decade. I wouldn’t have necessarily assumed that Toronto would be Virgin Atlantic’s next long haul destination, but I suppose between the local traffic plus India connections, this route should perform fine.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic launching Toronto flights?

Conversations (45)
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  1. BVT New Member

    This is an excellent decision by Virgin Atlantic, especially considering the amount of travel by immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent to North America (Especially Canada). Transiting from London to India would also shorten the overall flight time (compared to flying 14-15 hours directly in one go). I know some people who would prefer this type of route over connecting in the middle east or directly to India.

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      "Transiting from London to India would also shorten the overall flight time (compared to flying 14-15 hours directly in one go)."

      Wait, what?

    2. ross Guest

      I am not sure about shorten overall flight time. Connection time at London are longer because US/Canada flight lands early morning in London and VA's Indian flights are late evening. But connecting through LHR are ideal for people who don't like 12-14 hrs non stop flight. Here it's about 6hrs to London and another 9-10hrs to India.

  2. MP Guest

    Not sure how helpful WS is going to be in getting connecting passengers to YOW from this... There's only one flight daily and it's seasonal!

    1. David Guest

      Most of the feed this route is looking to attract is going to be out of Toronto and from western Canada where there’s a significant Indian population.

  3. EC Guest

    Very happy about this. As a Canadian expat living in London it's felt like I have relatively few choices. BA's inferior Business product made the choice easy until recently, where now at least almost every flight has the new Suite. But in general it's great to have more competition on this route, as AC has become pretty lazy with their Premium offerings (everywhere, not just on this route), especially in the food department, and BA...

    Very happy about this. As a Canadian expat living in London it's felt like I have relatively few choices. BA's inferior Business product made the choice easy until recently, where now at least almost every flight has the new Suite. But in general it's great to have more competition on this route, as AC has become pretty lazy with their Premium offerings (everywhere, not just on this route), especially in the food department, and BA is only a slight improvement. I hope VS makes it work, and I'll do my best to support.

  4. King Guest

    This route will do well if for nothing else besides the Indian community here in Canada. As many flights and connections as there are from YYZ to India the way those flights are full there is no doubt room for more. Virgin Atlantic must know this and I’m sure they will be marketing the one stop service to India.

    1. John Guest

      Emirates isn't going to let the Indians off the hook that easily! Prepare for stuff competition from Emirates and Qatar doing the same thing.

      Even worse prepare for AC when Russian airspace opens up again

    2. David Guest

      Qatar only flies from YUL and there isn’t a large population of Indians there. Tbh with the massive influx of Indians I don’t think VS will have a problem with this route. There’s more than enough market share for everyone to get a piece of the action. Furthermore, don’t discount the amount of Canadians who are looking to travel to London only. Westjets flight to LHR from YYC is consistently full and there is a...

      Qatar only flies from YUL and there isn’t a large population of Indians there. Tbh with the massive influx of Indians I don’t think VS will have a problem with this route. There’s more than enough market share for everyone to get a piece of the action. Furthermore, don’t discount the amount of Canadians who are looking to travel to London only. Westjets flight to LHR from YYC is consistently full and there is a huge gap left behind from the no longer existent YYZLGW pairing that WS used to fly that also had high load factors.

  5. LAXLonghorn Member

    As Bernado mentioned below, this is a relaunch.

    The first flight had one of the most amazing launch events ever, including a low fly-by over CN Tower and a huge fireworks show. But that was back in the day when they hosted elaborate launches.

    It route failed because of competition from low-yield charter operators and AC's Aeroplan dominance in the market, which was also related to an inability to break into the lucrative corporate...

    As Bernado mentioned below, this is a relaunch.

    The first flight had one of the most amazing launch events ever, including a low fly-by over CN Tower and a huge fireworks show. But that was back in the day when they hosted elaborate launches.

    It route failed because of competition from low-yield charter operators and AC's Aeroplan dominance in the market, which was also related to an inability to break into the lucrative corporate market. Similar challenges were faced with the YVR route.

    I will always wish them well, and Canada deserves their return and additional competition. I haven't considered yet the new-ish alliance network benefits, and if they can be offset the aforementioned AC Aeroplan and corporate market dominance. I don't recall if we had a DEL route at the time...I guess not.

    By the way, y'all often forget the interline agreements that are unrelated to alliance agreements, but extremely important for connectivity to the subcontinent, Africa, and other markets. They are often better yielding than the O/D LHR service, summer peak season aside...but that's the reason to have those agreements. Those agreements are essential in the planning...

  6. splane21 Member

    Lucky you never wrote about Virgin Atlantic launching flights to Bangalore when they announced it. They started BLR service a month ago and announced it last year. Between that and never writing about BLR Terminal 2, and writing about how both United and American could both probably not sustain BLR flights seems like BLR never gets any love on this blog

  7. Gregsdc Member

    FWIW, estimates of the population of East Indian origin in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) range from ~350,000 to 600,000, and I can anecdotally confirm that the flights from DEL (as many as 3 per day) always seems to deliver 77W's full of travelers to YYZ. We'll see if VS attempts to win a bunch of this traffic with lower fares relative to the non-stops on AC and AI.

  8. EdmFlyBoi Guest

    Hopefully 787 refits start soon. Everyone else on this route has a version of the Super Diamond (AC and BA). An A350/A339 combo would be very competitive however (and fun to fly).

    1. yoloswag420 Guest

      It's actually really bad they haven't fixed their 787s. They use those to operate all non North American routes, which is just not very premium at all. They would be so much more appealing for connecting traffic if they brought standard 1-2-1 seats.

  9. Anna Guest

    Fantastic news.
    Anything that is not AC is welcomed up here :)

    Huge market to India from YYZ and beyond.

    1. David Guest

      AC is always voted best airline in North America.
      Glad you will have more choice now and let the rest of us enjoy AC.

    2. Anna Guest

      Lol.
      They just came in dead last in JD Power. And even with SkyTrax which they pay for the supposed 4* status, they dropped spots in recent years.

      It's a trash airline with horrible customer service and worst on time performance in North America

    3. Watson Diamond

      AC has the worst on-time rate in North America. 63% in 2023. Tickets are less flexible than the US airlines. Food's a bit better, I guess?

    4. Vincent Guest

      @David, let's talk about how AC is the best airline in North America:
      - Kept customers illegally during COVID cancellations, until DOT ordered them to pay and fined them
      - Unwilling to pay customers b/c of its lying Chatbot, until being found liable in court
      - Currently appealing a court order to pay a couple $2000 in order to avoid precedent
      - Calling Aeroplan? Be prepared to waste 5-10 hrs of...

      @David, let's talk about how AC is the best airline in North America:
      - Kept customers illegally during COVID cancellations, until DOT ordered them to pay and fined them
      - Unwilling to pay customers b/c of its lying Chatbot, until being found liable in court
      - Currently appealing a court order to pay a couple $2000 in order to avoid precedent
      - Calling Aeroplan? Be prepared to waste 5-10 hrs of your life
      - On-time performance worst in North America
      - Long-haul business class services from crews are indifferent at best, comparable to AA at most, way worse than DL and UA

      Catering overall is fine, long haul business class seat is passable, aeroplan still has some edges over other frequent flyer programs. But that's it.

      At the end of day, AC's strategy is:
      - Enjoys its monopoly position in Canada, largely thanks to the protectionist environment there
      - Builds a decent international network, as on average, Canadians tend to travel internationally way more often than Americans given the country's reliance on inbound immigration (but note, these are not premium business demand)
      - Builds a second-to-none US network (for a foreign carrier), and,,,
      - Uses densely-configured aircraft to fill the seats with cheap connection fares for US passengers (Cranky Flyer's published an analysis on this last year)

      It's a coherent and fine strategy for an airline, its management and shareholders. But anyone who follows the North America aviation market even slightly will laugh at the notion that AC is the best airline for customers.

    5. Bob Guest

      What a great summary why AC is utter garbage.

      Don't forget constantly deflating seats!

    6. Vincent Guest

      @Ben - yes, truly impressive that an airline of this size can't figure out how to repair a seat after almost 10 years. But this is also the airline that promised they would improve call center waiting time years ago (IIRC Ben Smith commented about this on Flyertalk, but I can't find the post anymore, and obviously Ben has left)

    7. James Guest

      Yes - when it comes to losing your luggage - AC has everyone's vote as best in class!

      Lol - AC is a complete joke - I refuse to fly them unless I'm forced to given the have an unfettered monopoly on certain routes in Canada

  10. David Guest

    The route will do well if for nothing else the connection to India even with the competition from AC AND BA You have hundreds of people looking to travel to that side of the world who use multiple gateways like DXB AUH AMS CDG WAW and the list goes on. I expect this to do well also because during the summer lots of Canadians travel to The UK for leisure or for family reunification. Westjet...

    The route will do well if for nothing else the connection to India even with the competition from AC AND BA You have hundreds of people looking to travel to that side of the world who use multiple gateways like DXB AUH AMS CDG WAW and the list goes on. I expect this to do well also because during the summer lots of Canadians travel to The UK for leisure or for family reunification. Westjet will feed into this route from western Canada where there is a significant south east population also when Westjet used to fly direct to Gatwick those planes were full so I expect this route will do well if for nothing else connecting traffic. Also DL will definitely feed traffic from JFK, DTW, MSP etc

  11. DMoney Guest

    As a Toronto resident and family in India, I am very interested in this development. It also seems logical that Flying Club miles will be useful for WestJet flights. Delta and Flying Blue already have WestJet awards bookable and WestJet makes quite a bit of seats available to partners (I have seen as many as 11 economy seats on direct flights to Caribbean during peak Xmas period) for award booking.

  12. Creditcrunch Diamond

    SRB did an interview in the last few days with some of the highlights being ;

    - "Ridiculously good" new seats in Upper are promised

    - SRB claims replacing the bar and replacing it with The Loft on new aircraft was "a dreadful mistake. We’ll be bringing back the bar as soon as we possibly can"

    - SRB wants VS to return to Gatwick "It matters — it’s where we started. I will twist arms.”

    Let’s see what’s coming down the line.

    1. RichM Diamond

      Gatwick would be a logical step given slot constraints at LHR. VS still have slots there, currently leased to other airlines.

      It was an odd decision to end Gatwick services - it worked well for leisure destinations like Orlando, Las Vegas, or Barbados, which have traditionally been a key part of VS's network.

    2. chris w Guest

      I don't know why they don't shift all the 787s and A330 (non-neos) to LGW and make them all leisure routes (Caribbean and Orlando). Then you would be sure if you were flying from Heathrow that you won't get the awful Upper Class confin.

  13. Yoloswag420 Guest

    Virgin Atlantic needs to fix its abominable 787s. They lose so many customers because the Upper Class seat is so mediocre.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Did your mother feed you lead?

      Are you really as dumb as you sound? Start paying attention, because the 787s have already been discussed.j

  14. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Canada is part of the AF/DL/KL/VS joint venture just as it is for the Star TATL JV.
    While Porter is not part of the VS codeshare arrangement, DL's joint codeshare w/ Porter and now this says SkyTeam is serious about increasing its presence in Canada and esp. eastern Canada.

    1. Isaac Guest

      Porter is NOT a partner per se with Delta. Only a codeshare partner. Porter is getting closer to Alaska airlines and wouldn’t be surprised to partner with AA on the island flights in the NE. Porter is headed to oneworld and feed into BAs flights. Not VS.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and yet DL and Porter do have a codeshare relationship for eastern Canada to eastern US markets.
      That is all that matters.
      when Porter cuts off any association with everyone except oneworld carriers, let us know.

  15. Bernardo Ng Guest

    This is a relaunch, it was first launched in 2001 and canceled shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

  16. DORON HOROWITZ Guest

    I am delighted to fly YYZ-TLV with a stop in LHR.

  17. Anthony Diamond

    Would love to see Virgin and/or British Airways launch LHR to HNL flights. Hawaiian has been rumored to do one as well.

  18. Pete Guest

    I'm not sure how "global" Toronto is as a finance hub, but there must surely be enough business and wealthy leisure travelers bound for London to make it work; and VS has a loyal customer base in Blighty who'll travel with them instead of BA whenever they have the chance.

    1. 23H Guest

      Toronto is a top ten global financial centre…

    2. Sam Guest

      To be fair, Pete did say he wasn't sure... So now he knows, I guess?

    3. Pete Guest

      That depends on who's doing the measuring, I guess. There are plenty of indices where it doesn't rate in the top twenty. There is still more than enough wealth to support another premium carrier to London, I'm sure.

    4. Isaac Guest

      Demand sure….premium demand to make a route profitable? Not sure with Canada. As a Canadian in America now….its funny how frugal Canadians are. They will fill plenty of cheap Y seats. But how many j class or f class seats? There’s a reason why BA doesn’t sent F class planes to Canada.

    5. Pete Guest

      I get what you're saying, but there's a big difference between F and J. Toronto might not be London, NYC, or Singapore, but it's a huge metro area comprising Canada's commercial capital. I guess only time will tell.

  19. Sarthak Guest

    @Lucky - there's also the increased flights between Canada and India starting winter 2024 between Air Canada and Air India that made news recently. Between new destinations and amplified frequencies, that'd make it even more complicated for VS to be successful if bridging connectivity between Canada and India is a major goal.

    1. Anna Guest

      AC is a miserable experience.
      Their India flights are cheap ex-USA for a reason

    2. David Guest

      You know not what you are talking about.
      All foreign carriers offering connections over their hubs to South Asia offer low fares.

    3. Sarthak Guest

      @Anna - fair, but two thoughts on that:

      1. Wonder if the people making these bookings prioritize experience over price at all?

      2. It could also be that there's a lot of capacity now? AI has a decent network now in Canada and AC is ramping up as of next winter.

      Curious to see how an entry of another player who wants to set up both legs via LHR to be connection friendly...

      @Anna - fair, but two thoughts on that:

      1. Wonder if the people making these bookings prioritize experience over price at all?

      2. It could also be that there's a lot of capacity now? AI has a decent network now in Canada and AC is ramping up as of next winter.

      Curious to see how an entry of another player who wants to set up both legs via LHR to be connection friendly to target the same market. I do agree VS likely in the short term (at least till AI deploys A350s to North America) would offer the best experience vs AC/AI.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Creditcrunch Diamond

SRB did an interview in the last few days with some of the highlights being ; - "Ridiculously good" new seats in Upper are promised - SRB claims replacing the bar and replacing it with The Loft on new aircraft was "a dreadful mistake. We’ll be bringing back the bar as soon as we possibly can" - SRB wants VS to return to Gatwick "It matters — it’s where we started. I will twist arms.” Let’s see what’s coming down the line.

2
TravelinWilly Diamond

Did your mother feed you lead? Are you really as dumb as you sound? Start paying attention, because the 787s have already been discussed.j

1
Anna Guest

AC is a miserable experience. Their India flights are cheap ex-USA for a reason

1
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