Virgin Atlantic is formally joining SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, at a signing ceremony in London today. The move means Virgin Atlantic becomes SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester airports.
Virgin Atlantic customers will now benefit from a consistent, seamless customer experience, across 1,000 global destinations in over 170 countries. Customers can conveniently book every SkyTeam member flight on a single ticket, checking in with baggage just once through to their final destination.
Flying Club members have more opportunities to earn Virgin Points and Tier Points across all member airlines, accelerating both their rewards and tier status. Additionally, Flying Club members will be able to redeem hard-earned points on SkyTeam member airlines. Alongside joint venture partners Delta & Air France-KLM, these include Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, China Airlines, China Eastern*, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA* Airways, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and XiamenAir.
The airline’s Flying Club members will receive host of benefits which will enhance their journeys across the SkyTeam network. Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders are recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members have become Elite Plus. SkyTeam Elite Plus, First and Business Class customers enjoy SkyPriority services including priority check in, baggage handling and boarding. Extra baggage allowance is offered to both Elite and Elite Plus members.
SkyTeam Elite Plus members travelling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta* or Aeromexico will have access to Virgin Atlantic’s renowned Clubhouse at London Heathrow, whilst other SkyTeam Elite Plus members can take advantage of their airline-designated lounge at Terminal 3. Elite Plus members will also enjoy a network of 750 worldwide airport lounges to choose from*.
Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the alliance builds upon the success of its transatlantic joint venture with Delta and Air France-KLM, each already long-established SkyTeam members. Virgin Atlantic is co-located at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3, alongside Delta and existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connection times possible.
Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, commented, “SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company.
“We want to reward those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic and our Flying Club members deserve the very best loyalty proposition. Our SkyTeam membership offers this through a global network of maximised reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new heights and elevating our customer offering with more routes to exciting destinations and access to aspirational airport lounges – not to mention the airline’s world-famous flair.
“The U.K. is a key market for SkyTeam and with Virgin Atlantic on board, customers can look forward to more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as they fly, enjoying the iconic travel experience that makes our newest member a globally loved airline.”
Codeshare agreements are already in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines, in addition to existing codeshares with Air France-KLM and Delta, with options for more codeshares to follow later this year. Interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.
Virgin Atlantic flies to 12 destinations throughout the USA in partnership with Delta and Air France-KLM including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. Last year the airline launched services to two new US destinations, Austin and Tampa. Virgin Atlantic also operates an extensive Caribbean portfolio including Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, The Bahamas and from November, Turks and Caicos. Virgin Atlantic also operates services to China, India, Israel, Nigeria and South Africa. A new service to the Maldives will begin from October.
*China Eastern accrual and redemption will be available in July 2023.
*ITA redemption will be available later in 2023.
*As per existing agreements, Delta Gold Medallion members will not have access to Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow Clubhouse, unless travelling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class or Delta One.
About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2022, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the sixth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs over 7,500 people worldwide, flying customers to 28 destinations across four continents. Virgin Atlantic recently continued its expansion in the US, announcing a new route to Tampa from November 2022, following the launch of flights to Austin in May 2022.
Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading transatlantic network, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. On 3 February 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launched an expanded Joint Venture, offering a comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers. Virgin Atlantic joined global airline alliance SkyTeam on 02 March 2023. It is SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, opening up a global network of airlines for customers to earn and redeem points. The airline’s Flying Club members can now utilise a raft of new benefits through SkyPriority services.
Sustainability remains central to the airline, which is committed to achieving net zero by 2050. To meet this goal, Virgin Atlantic welcomed the first of 16 A330-900neos in October 2022. The A330-900neos are equipped with the most fuel-efficient engines and designed to be 11% more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300s that they replace and deliver a 50% reduction in airport noise contour. These investments reaffirm the airline’s dedication to flying one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in the skies, resulting in the reduction of carbon emissions by 20%, increasing to 30% in 2027.
SkyTeam is dedicated to powering a seamless and sustainable customer journey, with all members working together to connect millions of passengers across an extensive global network. The members are Aeroflot (suspended), Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and XiamenAir.
Featured image credited to SkyTeam