Virgin Atlantic’s Mumbai Flight Now Bookable

Filed Under: Virgin

Last week I wrote about Virgin Atlantic’s continued expansion. So far this year Virgin Atlantic has announced new routes to Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo, and last week they announced yet another route.

Virgin Atlantic’s London to Mumbai flight details

Virgin Atlantic will be launching daily flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai as of October 27, 2019. Flights are on sale as of today, so scroll down to find out how to redeem miles on this route.

This announcement marks a service resumption, as the airline canceled their Mumbai route about four years ago. It also marks Virgin Atlantic doubling their capacity to India, given that they currently only fly to Delhi.

Virgin Atlantic intends to use a Boeing 787-9 for the Mumbai route, featuring 258 seats. This includes 31 Upper Class seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 192 economy seats.

Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9 Upper Class

This flight covers a distance of ~4,500 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 8hr55min eastbound and 10hr10min westbound.

The schedule for the flight will be as follows:

London to Mumbai departing 10:15AM arriving 12:40AM (+1 day)
Mumbai to London departing 2:55AM arriving 7:35AM

Competition in the London to Mumbai market

While London to Mumbai is a big market, a big motivator for Virgin Atlantic here is that Jet Airways ceased operations a few weeks ago, and they operated several daily flights between London and Mumbai. So if there has ever been a time to start this route, this is it.

Virgin Atlantic will be going head-to-head against British Airways’ twice daily flights and Air India’s once daily flights.

Virgin Atlantic’s EVP of Commercial said the following regarding this route:

“2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re continuing to expand our route network once more, by returning to Mumbai. Until recently we’ve been able to serve this important market through our partnership with Jet Airways, however, since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.

Combined with our long-standing route to Delhi, we’re able to provide travellers even more opportunity to experience our award winning service between the UK and India. Not only are we providing an increased offering to the thriving Indian market, but together with our partners at Delta, we can offer unrivalled choice and more seamless connections to the USA via Heathrow Airport.”

Redeeming miles on Virgin Atlantic’s Mumbai flight

Virgin Atlantic’s new flight to Mumbai is now bookable, and award seats are wide open. For example, I see award seats available almost every day, and many flights even have four Upper Class award seats.

Virgin Atlantic’s pricing is reasonable, as you can book an Upper Class seat from London to Mumbai for just 37,500 Flying Club miles, which is quite a good deal. The catch is that there are significant taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges.

That’s a much better deal than booking through Delta SkyMiles, as they charge 75,000 miles for the same flight.

However, if you’re coming from the US, it could be a better deal to book through Delta. For example, you can redeem 85,000 Flying Club miles for a ticket from New York to London to Mumbai, though taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges are $550+.

Meanwhile you could book the same ticket through Delta for 95,000 SkyMiles, but there are no carrier imposed surcharges, so you’d save over $500.

If you have US credit card points, do keep in mind that at the moment both Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou are offering a 30% bonus when you transfer points to Virgin Atlantic.

Bottom line

Seeing Virgin Atlantic double service to India is awesome. It’s great to see Virgin Atlantic expand destinations beyond just transatlantic routes where they have a joint venture with Delta.

This is an exciting time of growth for Virgin Atlantic, especially as the airline is soon also taking delivery of their first of 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which will feature their new Upper Class seats.

Virgin Atlantic’s new A350-1000 Upper Class

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic’s new route to Mumbai?

Comments

  1. Jet Airways’ flights to Mumbai had a large domestic feed. British Airways serves the P2P demand well. Not sure what Virgin’s strategy is – without a domestic feed – and with plenty of competition to NA, including Delta’s announced JFK-BOM service.

  2. what do we make of it ? well, where did the LHR slot pair come from? Cuz nothing landing LHR @0735 ever comes cheap from either external market price or internal opportunity cost.

    BA has a jillion slots to play with and can easily hand off any self-cannibalized service over to their LGW ops. Question is, what did VS do here ? “Leased” from DL ? Bought from open market or from the corpse of 9W ? Or self-cannibalized something that would be only apparent when purchase availability shows up on GDS ?

  3. @henry LAX, EY actually owned 9W’s LHR slots which is why they are adding extra AUH LHR flights plus leasing one to JU for another daily BEG LHR.

    Who knows where VS scored these from!

  4. @henry LAX Jet Airways’s 9 AM departure from Mumbai , was actually operated on Virgin Atlantic’s slot at LHR , VS had given Jet Airways a slot , & both the Airlines had a Codesharing arrangement . So now that 9W is gone they may switch some other route to that slot , & get the 10 AM slot at LHR .

  5. This is going to be VS’ third attempt with Mumbai. I really don’t know how they plan on making it work because neither do they currently have domestic feed in India, but there just aren’t enough lucrative connections on VS’ network out of Heathrow to make this slot work, I have never been able to book a respectable ticket to my final destination at the right price out of India on Virgin Atlantic.

  6. Too late for skyteam to return to India and break the dominance of ME3 and star alliance with air india. Would not be surprised when both virgin and delta suspend this route.

  7. Good luck to them but I suspect they will struggle to make this work, as many others have said, without any domestic feed in India, and competing with the frequency of BA services… hasn’t BA already increased their frequency on this route since Jet stopped flying it?

  8. 9W was flying thrice daily on BOM-LHR, once daily BOM-CDG and once daily BOM-AMS. I think the addition of 2 weekly flights by KL and 1x daily by VS to BOM should be absorbed by the DL/AF/KL/VS joint venture even without domestic India feed.. But BOM is definitely a market where both VS and KL would want to ultimately be able to sustain daily services with a network of connections to Europe and North America – so I would say now is perhaps the best time to jump.

    Yes, BA did add 4 weekly flights and there were also reports of AI looking to start another daily rotation on BOM-LHR – will be interesting to see how things pan out.

  9. There are plenty of UK based travellers who will fly Virgin Atlantic on this route. I know that I will do so, 6 times per year at the very least. If I have to fly business and direct, then this is the first choice. BA is a poor second with their Club World dormitories. However, they often have good deals in First on this route if booked a few weeks in advance (not always possible for me), in which case I will fly BA First direct from London.

  10. I think Virgin is in a far stronger position this time around to make Mumbai work then they have ever been.
    For one, their JV with Delta means they can offer a competitive proposition in terms of onward connectivity which is something they couldn’t do earlier on their own. The schedule is perfectly aligned to their North American network.
    Secondly, their links to the AF- KLM-DL JV means they can offer a choice of routings and hubs. For a business traveller it means they can fly via London on the way up to NYC and return via CDG AMS or direct (Delta) making it a very compelling proposition for business travellers.
    With 9W out of the picture there is an accute shortage of seats from India particularly Mumbai where Jet operated the maximum flights. With three 777s gone, an additional 787-9 should be no problem to fill particularly with a mix of connecting and O&D traffic. Virgin along with BA would exclusively offer overnight services from Mumbai to London.
    Given that the 789 is a far more fuel efficient aircraft, Virgin is more likely then ever to strike gold this time.

  11. Although Virgin Atlantic flts from London to Bom is encouraging , it is nothing like Jet airways which connected hundreds of US,Canada,&UK passangers to domestic airlines to various cities across India.Difficult to fill the services of Jet airways.Do not think in the long run ,unless Delta /Virgin establishes domestic airline partners,the new upcoming flts may not last long. Added to this Indian Airline companies are having tough time staying in business and making profit.

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