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 is retiring all 747s, pulling out of Gatwick, and laying off over 3,000 staff
- Virgin Atlantic has failed to secure government aid, and something will need to give soon, as the airline is running out of money
- Virgin Atlantic has published a summer 2021 schedule, but I wouldn’t count on that sticking
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:
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?