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Aer Lingus to operate Virgin Atlantic’s new UK domestic services

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As I posted a few weeks ago, Virgin Atlantic is gearing up to launch services from Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow.

Virgin will be paying Aer Lingus to operate these flights under a so-called ‘wet lease’ agreement.  Aer Lingus will be providing four A320’s for the service, and the crew will be Aer Lingus employees dressed in Virgin uniforms.

Virgin Atlantic

The Manchester service starts in March, with the Scottish routes launching in April.  They will operate to Terminal 1 at Heathrow, so there will be no opportunity of using the Clubhouse lounge (image above) in Terminal 3.  

If these flights also operate from the usual Aer Lingus gates, the (surprisingly decent) Aer Lingus lounge will probably become a joint Aer Lingus / Virgin facility – at least until the new Terminal 1/2 opens in 2014.

There is some cynicism about these new Virgin services.  It is possible that they will be run for a short period, unprofitably, and then Virgin will ask for permission to use the slots for long-haul services instead.

You shouldn’t read too much into the decision to use Aer Lingus crew, though – it would have been difficult for Virgin to secure aircraft and enough crew to operate the services at relatively short notice.  If the routes do work out, the Aer Lingus deal will probably be switched to a Virgin-crewed operation eventually.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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