I posted back in December about the acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic by Delta Air Lines of the US. I also reported on the later statement by Virgin that, surprisingly, it will not be joining Delta in the SkyTeam alliance in the short term.
Delta and Virgin have now published a lengthy statement about how their new joint venture will work. (EDIT: link removed as now dead)
The key points, to me, seem to be:
There will reciprocal lounge access for Virgin and Delta customers. However, as Virgin and Delta currently operate from different terminals at Heathrow, the Clubhouse is not about to be overrun by Delta elites. It is more of a worry at JFK in New York, where Delta and Virgin share Terminal 4 – it is difficult to see any Delta flyer NOT wanting to use the Virgin facility!
Virgin customers will be able to earn and spend miles on Delta, and vice versa. The exact details have not yet been released.
Each airline will keep its individual brand and culture
Timetables will be co-ordinated on US routes so that Virgin and Delta offer a well-spaced depature roster throughout the day. This is the same thing that BA and American Airlines did when they formed their joint venture.
Passengers booking with Virgin Holidays may find they are booked on a Delta aircraft in future
The co-ordination of timetables and pricing needs regulatory approval and will not happen until late 2013. The bilateral earning and spending of miles will begin earlier.
There is no impact of any sort on Virgin America, Virgin Australia or Virgin Atlantic’s existing codeshares to Hong Kong
(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.)