Virgin Atlantic has quietly slipped out details of its plans to charge for seating in economy. The following has appeared on the Virgin Atlantic website:
Changes to the way you choose your seats in advance
Between 18 December 2013 and 30 January 2014 you will only be able to assign seats for flights departing on or before 01 March 2104. For most flights between 01 February 2014 until 31 May 2014 seats will be available to select 30 days before departure and from 01 June seats will be available from time of booking. Seats can be assigned through Manage Flights which is available up to 24 hours before departure.
• From 01 April 2014, customers flying between London Gatwick and Las Vegas will be able to pay to choose seats up to 336 days in advance. If you’re travelling to or from Tokyo you’ll also be able to choose seats 336 days in advance, free of charge.
• From 01 April 2014 exit row and extra legroom seats will be available to choose and buy from the online seat map up to 336 days in advance, on all routes.
• From 01 May 2014 customers flying to our Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Australian destinations will be able to pay to choose seats up to 336 days in advance.
• From 01 June 2014 customers flying on all routes will be able to pay to choose their seats up to 336 days in advance.
Please note: If you already have a seat selected for a flight that departs either before or after 01 April 2014 you will be able to keep it.
How much will advanced seat assignment cost?
The cost to assign a seat will be from £25 per person per flight (£50 per round trip) on Virgin Atlantic long haul flights. This is with the exception of our Tokyo route which will remain free of charge. There is no charge on Virgin Atlantic Little Red UK domestic flights.
Please note: For now you won’t be able to pay to choose your seat using Miles or Miles plus money, but we hope to be able to offer you this soon.
This announcement is not going to win any prizes for brevity or simplicity. The bottom line is that, apart from Tokyo, by June 1st you will need to pay £50 per person, return, to select seats on Virgin Atlantic.
Exit row and extra legroom rows will cost extra. At present, the charge for these is a whopping £40-£115 per person, each way, for an exit row and £20-£50 per person, each way, for rows with some additional legroom. I assume that the £25 seat booking fee will be added onto this from 2014.
No prices are listed for Premium Economy or Upper Class, so it remains to be seen if charges will appear there. It is also not clear if Virgin Flying Club Gold and/or Silver members will be exempt.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)
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):
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
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.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into 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.)