Full Details: Virgin Atlantic Resuming Flights

Filed Under: Virgin Atlantic

In March 2020 Virgin Atlantic more or less discontinued scheduled passenger flights in light of the current pandemic. In early June the airline outlined schedules to resume flights to five destinations, and the airline has now revealed plans to add flights to over a dozen additional destinations.

Virgin Atlantic’s plans to resume flights

Virgin Atlantic has published official dates for service to restart for a total of 11 destinations:

  • Flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong will resume as of July 20, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Los Angeles will resume as of July 21, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to New York JFK will resume as of July 21, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Barbados will resume as of August 1, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Shanghai will resume as of August 4, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to San Francisco will resume as of August 4, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv will resume as of August 9, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Miami will resume as of August 18, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Lagos will resume as of August 18, 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow and Manchester to Orlando will resume as of August 24, 2020 (pending CDC approval)
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Atlanta will resume as of August 25, 2020

Next, while exact dates haven’t yet been published, Virgin Atlantic has the following timeline for additional service resumptions:

  • Flights from London Heathrow to Washington will resume in September 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Seattle will resume in September 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Las Vegas will resume in September 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Boston will resume in September 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Montego Bay will resume in October 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Antigua will resume in October 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Grenada will resume in October 2020
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Tobago will resume in October 2020
  • Flights from Manchester to Boston will resume in October 2020

Note that Virgin Atlantic will be operating out of London Heathrow Terminal 2 for the foreseeable future, in light of Heathrow closing two terminals due to lack of demand. Virgin Atlantic will return to Terminal 3 when demand recovers.

Unfortunately this also means that the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse won’t be open for the time being.

Don’t expect to visit the Heathrow Clubhouse anytime soon

As Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Jarvinen, describes this move:

“As countries around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, we look forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to many destinations across our network. From 20th July we are planning to resume some services and then from 1st August onwards, we will resume passenger flying to 17 additional destinations around the world including Tel Aviv, Miami, Lagos and San Francisco.

However, we are monitoring external conditions extremely closely, in particular the travel restrictions many countries have in place including the 14 day quarantine policy for travellers entering the UK. We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery. Therefore, we are calling for UK Government to continually review its quarantine measures and instead look at a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, including air bridges, which will support a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.”

Virgin Atlantic will resume flights to five destinations

There’s still lots of uncertainty for Virgin Atlantic

As mentioned above, Virgin Atlantic initially suspended regularly scheduled flights in March 2020. Since then the airline has operated some repatriation flights, as well as some cargo-only flights, given how much demand has increased for cargo.

While it’s nice to see Virgin Atlantic resuming service, the reality is that it’s not all smooth sailing from here:

Virgin Atlantic has a tough road ahead

Virgin Atlantic’s safety precautions

As is the case with virtually all airlines, Virgin Atlantic is introducing a variety of precautions to the travel experience. There’s nothing terribly surprising, so you can check out the below two videos for more details about the airport and onboard experience:

Bottom line

Virgin Atlantic will resume flights as of July 2020, with three destinations being served in July, and an additional eight destinations being served in August. Then we should see a further four destinations in September, and another five destinations in October, though exact dates for those service resumptions haven’t yet been published.

It’s nice to see the airline will be resuming service after a four month hiatus, though Virgin Atlantic still needs to secure government aid or find new investors if there’s any chance of the airline making it through the next few months.

What do you make of Virgin Atlantic’s service resumption plans?

  1. Well done to the British government for not throwing good (taxpayers’) money after bad.
    I like Virgin, their crew are good and the experience is enjoyable, but it indeed doesn’t merit taxpayers’ aid. I hope it finds a way to survive on its own.

  2. When I was living in the UK, I would fly Virgin back to the US. Loved their crew. The bangers and mash in the sky were more edible than any of the English food I ate on the ground during my time there lol.

    On a semi unrelated note, my family was hoping to visit Australia in December. We really only fly Delta and their affiliated carriers so we were planning on flying into SYD on Delta and leaving from MEL on VA. We’ve obviously stopped making those plans now but if VA is non-existent or domestic only when we start making the plans again, then we would have to make 2 stops to earn SkyMiles or just fly United for a single stop which we really hope to avoid.

    Really hope both VS & VA can survive. It’s a shame that they have been unable to figure out a solid plan over the years.

  3. Great to see Virgin restarting Orlando and New York services!

    Though are foreigners allowed back into the US now? I can’t imagine there could be many Americans who wish to use Virgin’s services with the quarantine ban in place.

    Airlines are going to have a hard time till the end of Q4 because many businesses have suspended company travel through year end.

  4. At the moment foreigners are prohibited from travel to the US with some exceptions. Therefore not sure what the market is and give all the problems there now – civil unrest and covid , who would want to visit ?

  5. Pretty worrying to see all flight attendants put on their masks in the wrong way in the promotional video…

  6. MCO won’t happen unless VS know that the airport will be allowed to receive international arrivals by the authorities. Currently only 13 US airports can receive international arrivals and MCO isn’t one of them.

    And, of course, even if MCO is added to the list of airports, for the route to be a success VS will need Trump to lift the Ban on UK and Europeans entering the US.

    With all that in mind I’d be surprised if there is enough cargo demand and demand from US nationals (and ex pats) wanting to fly from MCO to LHR to make it worthwhile.

  7. I’m surprised to see MCO get service before JFK, though granted its only a day difference

  8. @Will. I thought exact the same thing when I saw Orlando. Are Virgin just really hoping it will all be over in 6 weeks so families can have their summer holiday With Mickey?! Seems quite a leap of faith at the moment. JFK and LAX I can understand.

    By the way, it’s 15 authorised airports now. Houston was added when Brazil was restricted. Not sure what the 14th was—but Orlando isn’t one.

  9. UK government will introduce mandatory face masks on public transport including flights.

  10. Woop de do . Some airlines are already flying to Hong Kong in June , Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Turkish ,Austrian , and Cathay ,

  11. @Matt

    I think it has been reinstated so VS don’t have to pay out canceled flight comp to all the UK families that will have booked to fly VS to MCO to visit Disney during the UK summer school holidays. By reinstating it gets rid of the ability for pax to claim for a refund. They will instead be offered to rebook at a later date. That is according to a poster over on HFP.

  12. I’m a little confused. I have a flight booked for July 6 on Virgin – JFK to LHR. They haven’t officially cancelled my flight yet. I want to file for a refund being that they are only offering a voucher. I know I can file with DoT but waiting for the official cancellation in order to do so. This press release states that it won’t resume till July 21 so why haven’t they cancelled my flight yet?

  13. @GRUSA There’s a fairly strong probability that Virgin Australia will survive (90%+ I’d say). The airline is presently in Administration (similar to Chapter 11 Bankrupts in USA). The Administrator has narrowed down to two (2) preferred bidders (Bain Capital and Cypress Partners). It is expected that the sale will be complete by the 30th of June 2020.
    Also not that the Australian Government is still requiring a 14 day quarantine on arrival in Australia. It was only announced today that Australia could re-open its boarders to selected counties (New Zealand) from September 2020. It is possible that you might still not be able to enter the country without the quarantine period. I would strongly recommend that you have travel insurance in case there are any changes so that you can get your funds back if you can’t travel.

  14. Unfortuantely, intercontinental travel (regardless to/from which destination) will only start again once non-citizens/non-residents can enter the country. There is no sign that the US or Hong Kong will open for international visitors and the UK itself has just virtually closed its borders by imposing a 14 day quarantine. Therefore, VS will only see a very small number of passengers, basically those who are still stranded abroad and are now heading home. I would also assume, its mostly people who already hold a VS ticket and who will rebook and use it now. Having that said, their trips will be one offs …

  15. Yesterday, we looked up and tracked a BA flight landing at MIA from LHR (BA39, I think). I had no idea we could fly to London already.

  16. This leads me to believe that the EU and UK are going to open to Americans in July. Most likely with a recent test result or testing upon landing to avoid a quarantine (Austria model) which in turn should eliminate casual tourism of groups and families and limit it mostly to business travelers.

  17. I doubt the EU will open their borders to Americans as soon as July. The epidemic does not seem to be under control, and the political cost of opening up too soon when most of Europe have finally managed to move the right way is high. Maybe the U.K. will open, but for Schengen/EU I strongly doubt it.

  18. @Wilhelm, It would seem so but the pressure and lobbies from the travel industry might be too much for them not to. Austrian resumes flights as of July 1 to three U.S. destinations. I have a ticket for meetings in VIE on the 2nd. Given how conservative Austrian Airlines is I have a hard time imagining that they would would restart flights here without some idea that the July 1 date is going to hold. Personally I think their approach of coming with a negative test (or getting tested at the airport) is a good one. It discourages casual groups but starts to get business moving again. However, I am not holding my breath. It’s a little over a week away though and no updates…we should see any day now if it changes.

  19. @Rob in Miami

    It was the BA209 landing as a freighter. No pax (yet) sadly. It operated every day last week.

  20. I really do hope VS can begin flying and stick to its schedule but I fear demand is just not there yet, even if the UK relaxes the 2 week quarantine people are still wary of flying. The cancellation of the LHR-MCO until late August will create a huge increase in British holiday makers requesting refunds as there summer holiday plans have been ruined.

  21. @stewart not sure what goes on in USA but in UK a private covid test is only about 100 GBP a lot would pay that to travel

  22. @ DE by all means file a complaint with the DoT but don’t expect them to respond quickly. They certainly arent enforcing the refund in 7 days regulation.

    It took them 5 weeks to respond to mine and that was just to say that they had jus forwarded it on to AA for their comment and they have 30 days for an initial and 60 for a final response.

    As to why VS hasn’t cancelled your flight yet I’m sure it’s in the system to be cancelled and they will likely do it 15 days before scheduled. They are trying to manage the refund queue

  23. @Matthew poole. €200 at Vienna Airport per person. You need to make an appointment ahead of time. Walk across the airport to another building. You will need to check in there. Pay. Wait for the test. Results will be a few hours or overnight depending on what time you get it. You must quarantine in your hotel room until you are cleared. Should you test positive you are isolated and health authorities will decide what to do with you.

    If you think Bob, Martha and the two kids are coming from Iowa for an Austrian holiday under those conditions you are crazy. Never happen. It’s going to be solo travelers who have specific business or family needs and can navigate quickly on their own. No group travel, no families, etc are going to risk one of them testing positive and throwing everyone into isolation and difficulties. As well, not many families of four will pay €800 combined to be tested.

    This is why it will work. It will provide serious travelers who have needs in these places the opportunity to go there and get things done. And it will prevent hordes from coming.

  24. If there’s one thing you should know by now, this only means that they won’t be resuming anytime BEFORE these dates. Whether they do resume on those dates or not will be up to how successful countries will be in containing the virus, something that is knowable only a few weeks before.

    It’s just like cruise lines’ announcement earlier this year that they would be ready for the summer season.

  25. Some airlines had took advantages of pandemic gaining slots at LHR.
    For example, China Airlines will move from LGW to LHR T2 starting in July 2020.
    B6 should be able to operate at LHR as well.

  26. Are there any updates about this? According to Orlando Airport’s website, Virgin is not resuming its services there until December 10th now. We have a direct flight from Orlando to Manchester in December and are worried about it. Not sure if we should fly with a different airline into Heathrow. Wouldn’t travel if it wasn’t necessary but we have to get to our family.

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