Virgin Atlantic announced two new routes on Tuesday and the move to Delta of two others.
This is part of what is becoming an annual rejig of its US network alongside its 49% shareholder Delta. As far as I can tell, none of the non-US routes (eg Dubai, Shanghai) are impacted. We may have the end of the culling of the eastbound routes for now.
This is what is happening:
Virgin Atlantic to launch Manchester to New York JFK
This replaces the current Delta service. This is a hugely sensible thing to do as the Virgin brand has more impact in Manchester than Delta.
Virgin Atlantic to launch London Heathrow to Seattle
This replaces the existing Delta service.
Delta to launch a 3rd daily London Heathrow to Atlanta
This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service.
Delta to launch a 2nd daily flight from London Heathrow to Detroit (3 days per week)
This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service, which only recently launched. There were plenty of doubters at the time about the ex-UK demand for Detroit.
Delta to launch a brand new service from London Heathrow to Portland Oregan (4 days per week)
This is a new route starting in late May. It will be part of the Virgin codeshare agreement so you will be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles and tier points from it.
The Seattle and Detroit changes are permanent. The Manchester – JFK and Heathrow – Atlanta changes are only scheduled to operated for the Summer season.
Logically, services where most of the traffic will start in the UK should be flown by Virgin Atlantic. Services where most of the traffic will start in the USA should be flown by Delta. These changes make sense from that angle. The fact that Virgin offers a Premium Economy cabin – which is a hugely profitable part of the aircraft – presumably also has an impact on who flies where.
In total, Virgin and Delta will offer 42 daily flights from the UK to the USA in Summer 2017.
New York launches on 25th May and can be booked from 23rd June. Seattle launches on 26th March and can be booked from today.
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