This month will see the long-awaited launch of Virgin’s domestic service from Manchester to Heathrow, followed by Aberdeen and Edinburgh in April.
The Virgin website now has full details of the facilities and services that passengers will receive when they use the new service.
There is also a new name and a logo – ‘Little Red‘:
It was already known that the flights would use Terminal 1 at Heathrow, and would use three Airbus 320 aircraft, leased from Aer Lingus.
Food and drink
The food and drink offering is here:
We’ll be providing you with the best in British food and snacks onboard your short haul flight.
Flights departing before 9am:
- Delicious bacon rolls.
- Hot tea, coffee and juice.
Flights departing after 9am:
- A selection of tasty cookies or Tyrell’s crisps .
- Full bar service.
- Hot tea and coffee.
- Irn Bru (on Aberdeen and Edinburgh flights only).
To be honest, this is not desperately exciting and will not have BA quaking in its boots. (BA serves breakfast up to 9.30, by the way, not 9am.) There is also no provision to order a special meal, which will be unfortunate for non-bacon eaters. (Although … the website has since changed to read ‘breakfast roll’ and not ‘bacon roll’, so who knows?)
The Virgin website says:
We’ve also secured shared lounges at all short haul destinations:
- MAN – Manchester Airport Authority Lounge
- EDI – Servisair Lounge
- ABZ – Servisair Lounge
What is more interesting is what the website does NOT say:
a) There is no mention of lounge access at Terminal 1 at Heathrow.
b) You cannot buy a domestic ticket which gets you lounge access. The ONLY way to get into the lounge is to either have a Virgin Flying Club Gold card or to be connecting to a long-haul flight with an Upper Class seat.
If you have a Priority Pass lounge club card you won’t need to worry as the Servisair lounges are part of that programme.
Nothing exciting here. You get one free checked bag per person and one piece of hand baggage. The only exception is if you are connecting to a Virgin long-haul flight, where the rules for that flight will apply.
One piece of hand-baggage is not great news for the business traveller, especially if they class a handbag as one piece.
All in all, I am very unimpressed by all of this. In particular, the failure to offer lounge access to full fare ticket holders seems to be a mistake.
The flight times are also not ideal, with only Edinburgh (6 flights per day) offering a truly competitive schedule. Three flights a day to and from Manchester and Aberdeen may not be enough.
Let’s see. I hope to give the Virgin domestic services a try soon and will report back.
(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)