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Aer Lingus to operate Virgin’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.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

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

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.)