Virgin Atlantic Schedules 4x Daily A350 Flights To New York

Filed Under: Virgin

It’s an exciting time for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, as the two airlines are both in the process of starting service with their A350s, and are also both introducing a new business class product along with that.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are competing to roll out their new business class seats. British Airways’ Club Suites have debuted on the A350-1000, though the airline has also scheduled flights for reconfigured 777-300ERs that will feature their new seats.

Meanwhile as of now Virgin Atlantic is just installing their new Upper Class seats on A350-1000s. The airline has just taken delivery of their first A350, and they will start service with the plane soon.

Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic has said all along that their priority is to deploy more A350s on the New York route, so rather than introducing the plane to a bunch of destinations, it seems New York is their focus.

That’s why it’s interesting to note that at this point Virgin Atlantic has scheduled up to 4x daily A350-1000 flights between London and New York:

  • As of September 10, 2019, one daily frequency will be operated by the A350
  • As of September 24, 2019, two daily frequencies will be operated by the A350
  • As of November 5, 2019, three daily frequencies will be operated by the A350
  • As of December 9, 2019, four daily frequencies will be operated by A350

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000

You’ll of course want to check the exact schedule for the date you’re traveling, because this remains subject to change, and there are also varying schedules day-to-day.

That’s a pretty impressive deployment speed for their flights to New York.

Virgin Atlantic typically operates 6x daily flights between London and New York, so I’ll be curious to see if they go all-A350 on the route by early next year. The airline has a total of 12 A350s on order, so it could be that nearly half of those are deployed on their New York route.

Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class

I also wonder if they use this opportunity to expand capacity to JFK, or if we could see them go down to 5x daily flights. Currently they use a combination of A330s, A340s, and 787s on the New York route, and all of those are lower capacity than the A350. The A350 can seat up to 335 passengers, while the other planes on the route seat 264-308 passengers.

As before, Virgin Atlantic has a good amount of award availability on their A350s, so it’s nice to see that they’re not blocking availability on these flights.

Tiffany and I are already booked to fly Virgin Atlantic’s A350 Upper Class from London to New York in October, and I can’t wait to experience it.

Anyone else booked to fly Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class?

Comments
  1. VS really do not like Upper Class passenger looking out of aircraft windows. Old aircraft have herringbone seats and these new seats block 2 out of 3 windows with panelling.

    Any word on how the new AF/KL/DL/VS joint venture will benefit AF/KL Flying Blue members (e.g. Flying Blue XP and Miles earning, FB Miles redemptions, FB status on ground/on board VS flights etc.)? All the articles only tell how the JV will benefit DL and VS program members.

  2. I’d be surprised if they reduce frequency: they’re in intense competition with BA on this route, which offers 8 flights a day to JFK just from LHR (more from LGW and LCY, and to EWR), plus its JV partner’s flights.

    Then again, Virgin is more a leisure airline than business, so maybe they will reduce and let Delta take the slack? My money would be on no reduction in frequency, though.

    Looking forward to your comparison of VS and BA’s new seats.

  3. JFK is arguably VS’s top priority and the same likely goes for DL, which owns 49% of VS. The NYC to LON market is the most profitable and one of the largest city pairs in terms of seats, and it is extremely competitive. UA have committed to running an all 767-300ER with high-density Polaris cabins on the EWR-LHR route by early 2020. AA and BA still dominate with a high frequency operation. VS and DL are making sure that they compete accordingly. I doubt VS/DL will drop a frequency if VS goes all A350-1000 on the JFK-LHR route. DL may just pick up one of the slots for a time and use its own aircraft (believe they fly 2x daily, on the A330-200). I can also see VS putting the A350 on the LAX route (another top market for them). They see an opportunity for sure. BA have a subpar product on JFK/EWR-LHR at the moment, with a vintage mid-2000s product on increasingly delay prone 747-400s and 777-200s that are the mainstay of this market. It will be good to see BA roll out its newest and best on the NYC routes though it remains to be seen if all this snazzy business class offerings across BA, VS, and UA are sustainable if the global economy slows substantially and if the UK enters a recession given all the Brexit stupidity.

  4. I’d say they will go 5 daily with a350 and still keep a flight operated by either a330 or 787. Historically it’s been something like 5 daily with a340 and then 1 with either 787 or a330 so with the a350 being the a340 replacement it makes sense.

  5. I’m flying JFK-LHR-JFK in Upper Class & Premium on the A350 in October! Originally I was scheduled for an A330 in Premium (JFK-LHR) but was glad to hear the aircraft changed to an A350.

  6. And to up the stakes on LON-NYC, United have just said that all their LHR-EWR services are now going to have Polaris seats on them- that’s five daily services.

  7. I can see VS swapping all their LHR-JFK flights to the A350 simply so they can advertise ‘look you get our new seat on ALL our New York flights’.

    Unlike with BA when it will be more of a lottery if you get a flight with an upgraded 777 (only two being done this year)

  8. @Fredrik, I know what you mean since other VS aircraft like the a340 and 787 both have 21″ seat width for prem econ in 2-3-2 seat config. Seems like VS opted to have 2-4-2 seat config in prem econ for a350 making it a tighter squeeze.
    I was comparing specs between BA A350 and VS A350 and noticed in business class the BA seat width is a generous 27 inches whereas the VS upper class seat was only 20 inches. :/

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