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Virgin and Delta swap over transatlantic flights!

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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.

Virgin and Delta crew

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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Comments (3)

  • Billy says:

    I don’t think Delta does operate to LAX as their flights currently are as a codeshare.

    • Adey says:

      Yeah, the press release indicates it’s Delta’s first non stop LAX LHR.

      Was worried my upcoming trip would be affected by this but looking at the flight details I think I’ve dodged the Delta flights.

      Adey

  • Scott says:

    A benefit of this should hopefully be to open up new multi-stop redemption opportunities with Flying Club. I’m looking at going to Lima later next year with a stop in Vegas on the way home. Due to other half’s nervousness at flying and not wanting to fly over the South Atlantic, we were looking at going LHR-JFK-ATL-LIM followed by LIM-ATL-LAS-LHR with the JFK-ATL and ATL-LAS on paid tickets. This was all because Delta don’t allow one way redemptions, so as to be able to fly directly home from Vegas we’d do the LHR-JFK and LAS-LHR with Virgin who do.

    This new flight now means that we won’t have to worry about going through JFK on the outbound saving time and money (although I can’t see the redemption levels for Virgin’s flights to Atlanta on their website yet, so it might end up being a few more miles than New York).

    Overall though, this should hopefully allow better redemption opportunities using Delta’s hub in Atlanta for trips Stateside and perhaps down into South America.

    This is all dependant on reward availability of course…