Virgin Atlantic was promoting its new domestic services at the Business Travel Show when I was there on Tuesday.
(They also had this rather fetching window display of red high-heeled shoes, should that sort of thing appeal to you!)
At 6 flights per day, the Edinburgh service looks like the most useful of the three new routes (Manchester will only be three flights per day, Aberdeen I think the same.)
Here are a few facts I picked up:
The departure times to EDI are well spread (06.45, 09.10, 11.20, 15.15, 16.25, 19.50)
Flights, as we know, will be from Terminal 1 and so requiring a transfer if you are joining a Virgin Atlantic long-haul flight from Terminal 3
The Upper Class chauffeur service WILL be available in Edinburgh if you are connecting to an Upper Class flight (full fare ticket) in London. This was the first time I had heard this. I’m not sure if Manchester and Aberdeen will offer the same deal.
Virgin Flying Club members will earn 750 miles per sector (at least to EDI) - so 50% more than the basic British Airways Executive Club earning rate
Redemptions via Virgin Flying Club will cost 7,500 miles return (at least to EDI). This is less than the 9,000 Avios required, but I assume Virgin requires you to pay full taxes rather than the £30 Reward Flight Saver deal offered by Avios.
The flights will be one-class
Upper Class passengers connecting in Heathrow will get access to a lounge at Edinburgh and Heathrow Terminal 1. There was no mention of lounge access for Silver or Gold members of Virgin Flying Club.
There was no mention of whether these flights earn Tier Points in Virgin Flying Club, but this page on the website shows that you will earn 1 point per segment. This means that 20 return domestic flights will get you Virgin Flying Club Gold – which, assuming they join the SkyTeam alliance – will have some value.
The first Edinburgh flight is April 5th.
The minimum connecting time for transferring to another flight (Virgin or another operator) will be 75 minutes at both Heathrow and Edinburgh.
I am hoping to try out the Virgin domestic services for a mini trip-report during April – although the flight times don’t make it easy (unless I do an immediate turn-around). I’m also not keen on digging out my Priority Pass to access the Servisair Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 1!