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Virgin Atlantic will NOT be joining the SkyTeam alliance

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If you have been following the Virgin Atlantic / Delta tie-up, this statement may have taken you by surprise.

Late last year, Delta Air Lines of the US announced that it was buying the 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic held by Singapore Airlines, a sale which crystalised a large loss for Singapore.

At the time of the deal, it was widely assumed that Virgin would join the SkyTeam alliance.  Delta is already a core member, the alliance has only a modest existing presence at Heathrow, and it would drive extra business to Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic

Given how much money Virgin lost last year (£135m), I assumed it would be desperate for all the business it could get.  It would also make Virgin Flying Club into a more serious competitor to British Airways Executive Club, since you would have been able to redeem across all 19 SkyTeam members.

But, according to this new statement, it isn’t going to happen.  At least not in the short term.  And Virgin Flying Club will be all the worse because of it.

Of course, Virgin didn’t join Star Alliance despite having Star member Singapore Airlines as a 49% shareholder for years.  But we all know how that turned out ….

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Comments (6)

  • This is a shame, I wanted to use the end of my AF/KLM miles for a Virgin ticket.

  • onlysuites says:

    Virgin is not all that….. Stupidly high YQ’s. Tried a recent redemption on them and the YQ was $1000 for a two leg flight.

    • David Butcher says:

      Excuse my ignorance but what is a YQ????

      • Alan says:

        It’s the fuel surcharge that airlines add to bookings – it appears on receipts with a two-letter tax code of YQ. It’s a great wheeze for them with reward bookings as (apart from the US-based programmes) most still charge this in full on redemptions.

  • Virgin Atlantic’s priority is the trans-Atlantic joint venture with Delta – they want it to be a real success from the word go. There’s a lot to be done to achieve that – LHR-JFK is a real money maker so it’s only right they prioritise and get it right.

    Once the JV is bedded in, Virgin & Delta will have the chance to evaluate any possible benefits of joining an alliance. Maybe they’ll join SkyTeam, maybe they’ll opt for strategic partnerships with a number of different airlines like Emirates have done.

  • J says:

    Well the new T2 at heathrow has just had a very (huge) virgin lounge built in it…. and from what i know the sky team airlines will be all going to this terminal .. so im betting they will be joining sky team when t2 opens…