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New Virgin routes – Manchester to New York, Heathrow to Seattle – plus Delta starts Portland

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Virgin Atlantic announced two new routes on Tuesday and the move to Delta of two others.

This is part of what is becoming an annual rejig of its US network alongside its 49% shareholder Delta.  As far as I can tell, none of the non-US routes (eg Dubai, Shanghai) are impacted.  We may have the end of the culling of the eastbound routes for now.

This is what is happening:

Virgin Atlantic to launch Manchester to New York JFK

This replaces the current Delta service.  This is a hugely sensible thing to do as the Virgin brand has more impact in Manchester than Delta.

Virgin Atlantic 787

Virgin Atlantic to launch London Heathrow to Seattle

This replaces the existing Delta service.

Delta to launch a 3rd daily London Heathrow to Atlanta

This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service.

Delta to launch a 2nd daily flight from London Heathrow to Detroit (3 days per week)

This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service, which only recently launched.  There were plenty of doubters at the time about the ex-UK demand for Detroit.

Delta to launch a brand new service from London Heathrow to Portland Oregan (4 days per week)

This is a new route starting in late May.  It will be part of the Virgin codeshare agreement so you will be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles and tier points from it.

The Seattle and Detroit changes are permanent.  The Manchester – JFK and Heathrow – Atlanta changes are only scheduled to operated for the Summer season.

Logically, services where most of the traffic will start in the UK should be flown by Virgin Atlantic.  Services where most of the traffic will start in the USA should be flown by Delta.  These changes make sense from that angle.  The fact that Virgin offers a Premium Economy cabin – which is a hugely profitable part of the aircraft – presumably also has an impact on who flies where.

In total, Virgin and Delta will offer 42 daily flights from the UK to the USA in Summer 2017.

New York launches on 25th May and can be booked from 23rd June.  Seattle launches on 26th March and can be booked from today.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (October 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

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 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn 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.)

Comments (50)

  • John says:

    To add another view of Virgin – just returned from my first Virgin UC trip. It was one of the cheap £999 LHR-Chicago flights advertised here last summer – thanks Rob! Positives were the LHR clubhouse, staff (including one of the best crews I’ve experienced on the return leg) and direct aisle access. The day flight was great. Unfortunately, I found the seat/bed terribly uncomfortable for the night flight, with an awkward shape and very narrow. I understand the 787 experience is a lot nicer. I wouldn’t rush back at anything like the “normal” UC fares.

  • Gavin says:

    Direct flights to Voodoo donuts!

  • Boris says:

    On topic (ish).

    Amex have just informed me that they cannot link my MR account to my Vifgin FC account due to the names not being exactly the same.

    Which is the easiest way to deal with this ie where is it easier to change my name? Do I now need to do this with everything (boo!)?


    • Rob says:

      Presumably Amex will reissue your card if you change the name on that, so unless you want that then Virgin may be easier – but even they are likely to want marriage certificates etc.

      • Boris says:


        Presumably Passport copy or Driving License then.

      • Boris says:

        Amex put it through again with a manual edit to the name field which fixed it.

  • RIccati says:

    This is all sensible but shows that Delta utilises Virgin to compete on US routes, rather than letting it develop as a major airline.

  • Fenny says:

    Excellent news for both MAN-NYC and LHR- Seattle. And when the Boston flight comes on line from Mancyland, I’ll definitely be using that a bit. It should also benefit my fellow Sheffielders resident in Boston.

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