Delta Air Lines acquired a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic last year and the two have slowly been integrating their services to the US. Timetables have been tweaked to even out the spacing between flights and some Delta services have co-located with Virgin at Heathrow Terminal 3.
This latest move seems a little odd though.
From October 26th, Virgin and Delta are going to swap two services:
Delta will take on one of the two Los Angeles services currently run by Virgin
Virgin will take on one of the three daily Atlanta services currently run by Delta – this is a new route for Virgin
I’m not entirely sure what the point of this is! It is possible that Delta is struggling on the Atlanta service and feels that British customers may feel happier switching from BA to Virgin than from BA to Delta. It also broadens the Virgin route network.
Since Virgin and Delta both already operate to LA, the logic here is less clear. Virgin did occasionally drop to one flight per day during the Winter months so this may be a way of keeping the route operating at full capacity for the full year. One possibility is that, because the return trip to LA is over 24 hours and Atlanta is under 24 hours, this may be a way of improving aircraft utilisation.
It is not clear what will happen to anyone already booked onto the scrapped Virgin LA service in Premium Economy, as Delta does not offer that.
Given all of these other changes it is interesting to note that there is not a peep about Virgin Atlantic joining Delta in the Skyteam alliance – although Delta seems less committed to that than it was.
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