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Virgin Atlantic launches limited Belfast and Glasgow routes

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For reasons not entirely clear, Virgin Atlantic will experiment next Summer with a very restricted service from Belfast and Glasgow.

From Belfast, Virgin will be flying to Orlando.  It will fly a grand total of six times – Thursday 25 June and then every Thursday in July.

On the off chance that this timetable suits your holiday plans, you will find yourself on a 3-class Boeing 747.  There are only 16 Upper Class seats so the chances of more than a couple being available for redemptions is not great.  One upside if you can find a seat is the lower (ie £0) APD rate in Northern Ireland.

Virgin Atlantic 747

The second route is even odder.

A Glasgow to Las Vegas service will launch on September 10th 2015.  It will fly a grand total of eight times, ending in October, using the same 747.

Again, it will only be a weekly service departing on a Thursday.  I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who went to Las Vegas for an entire week, but you could build in some sightseeing around it.

To add to the oddness of these routes, remember that Virgin Little Red does not fly to Belfast or Glasgow – only to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester.  This means that there is not even a convenient ‘all Virgin’ option if you don’t want to stay away a full week and end up flying home via Heathrow instead.

As I said, all very strange.  This feels like a throwback to the ‘old Virgin’ before Delta took its 49% stake and started making some rational decisions such as ditching Sydney.

Full details can be found on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

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How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

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(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.)

Comments (28)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • K says:

    Not sure why you think it’s strange that a city of 1.2 million people gets its own summer scheduled service to one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, without having to spend 3-4 hours flying south to another country only to fly directly back north again.

    Can connect on Delta services to other US cities too.

    • Rob says:

      Because there are only a handful of flights – nowhere near enough to get up a ‘head of steam’ for the route – and the plane and crew will be London based, almost certainly. The first inbound flight and the last outbound flight will presumably be very empty!

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    BFS-MCO doesn’t strike me as a route overflowing with business traffic or high-budget leisure travellers. I would have thought that redemptions would be their best chance to shift seats in Upper.

  • Cas says:

    As a travel agent in the North East of Scotland I would agree it would be nice to connect GLA with ABZ or EDI but the amount of people who go to Vegas for at least a week is actually very high! And since my customers are generally willing to drive to Glasgow for better flights (more direct or less money) I’m happy to see how it all pans out. Loads of people surprisingly don’t like connecting in Heathrow although I’ve never had a problem with it!

    • Anon says:

      Do you think there’s demand for GLA-MCO in the winter?

      Or even ABZ-MCO????

  • James67 says:

    I expect the Vegas flight will be geared towards Virgin Holidays that will be heavily promoted by local travel agents.The other new flight announced this week was EDI-AUH daily by Etihad. Should be available for AA remption and hopefully keep prices exEDI competitive.

  • Volker says:

    Raffles, from time to time you write about one airline buying slots from another one for millions of pounds. How does it work here? Do the airports in Belfast and Glasgow just squeeze in a few extra flight ops and charge Virgin accordingly or does another airline have to give up anything (temporarily)?

    • Adam (sigma421) says:

      That’s only really a problem at airports like Heathrow which are full. Neither Glasgow nor Belfast International are anywhere near capacity so there’s n need for anyone to pull out.

  • Andy says:

    We go to Vegas for an average 10 nights at a time, 3 times a year.
    Already have 2 Upper seats booked to go to LAS via SFO in October thanks to Tesco

  • Richie says:

    This news should get some happy posts from the people who live up there, and then they will obviously complain about having to make a connection in London when these routes inevitably don’t work.
    I honestly can’t see these working. I think flights to dubai or qatar are a good idea from the northern airports, as these airlines have a route network to support .
    Virgin would have been better trying a daily flight to a big us hub. Then delta could make the connections

    • sigma421 says:

      They will work. These are basically charter flights for Virgin Holidays. Any additional seats they happen to sell ‘flight only’ are just a bonus. Virgin have been flying GLA-MCO on a similar basis (and shuttling their crews up and down on BA!) for some time.

      • Chris1922 says:

        Exactly. Not sure why you think this is odd Raffles, it’s nothing new. Virgin have long flown to Orlando from GLA, during the Scottish school hoiday period. Vegas is just another holiday destination, and avoids having to change, either in London or US.

        • layz says:

          Although VS like to give the impression of a premium airline their check-in area at GLA is that cheap looking hut called T2 intended for low cost carriers, whereas easyjet had the sense to use the main terminal.

          I know GLA-MCO has been going (seasonal) for some time, so good luck with the new routes.

          BA’s EDI-IBZ was a failure and is coming to an end soon, so book it now if you want to give it a go!

  • Gordon says:

    Maybe they plan little red to belfast and glasgow at sime point?

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