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Virgin Atlantic orders 14 new long-haul A330-900neo aircraft

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The rumours we reported recently were true, with Virgin Atlantic confirming an order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft at the Paris Air Show yesterday.  There is also an option for an additional six aircraft.

The list price is $4.1 billion although Virgin will have negotiated a substantial discount.

The first aircraft will be delivered in 2021.  By the time these aircraft have all arrived in 2024, the average age of the Virgin Atlantic fleet will be just over 5 years.

These aircraft will replace the existing 14 A330 aircraft, and will be 13% more fuel efficient.  They also have a substantially greater flying range.  Eight planes will be bought outright with the other six leased.

It isn’t clear what seats will be fitted to the new aircraft, although it would make sense to use a version of the new Upper Class Suite.  It is confirmed that the standard three class configuration (Economy, Premium, Upper Class) will be retained.

Here is an Airbus picture of a Virgin Atlantic A330-900neo …..

Virgin Atlantic buys A330-900neo

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  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.)

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  1. Howard says:

    Am still waiting for Groupon Avios to appear on my Iberia Account. Have had very poor response from Groupon Spain to date. Purchased via Capital on Tap so now considering chargeback possibility as based on Groupon response I have little confidence points will appear. They say an IT glitch. My voucher was redeemed correctly to my correct Iberia number. Anyone else with issues. I bought them 1 month ago

    • Londoner says:

      Yep. Been waiting 2,5 months for mine now. They have been very poor at answering and have completely ignored my e-mails. Got a refund this Saturday of one of the two vouchers I purchased with a promise of the Avios from the other one this week. Reverted to say I just wanted all my money back, but they said they already started the process of crediting the Avios and if I did not receive it this week I could have the other voucher refunded. As soon as I informed them that I am a lawyer they said they have now processed the refund and that it will be in my account in a few days. We will see, I don’t trust them at all.

    • Gavin says:

      Mine took 9 working days to credit this time. In your position I’d probably use Section 75 to get my money back (assuming you paid by credit card)

    • I am waiting nearly three months. I ‘ve had may conversations with Groupon, told I cant get a refund as the voucher was redeemed and I need to be patient. I ended up have to putchase avios from BA. Three weeks ago I involved AMEX. The chargeback has happened but can be reverted under some circumstances before case fully investigated. Would NOT recommend Groupon route to anyone.

      • Leafwarbler says:

        Almost 3 months for me too. Hopeless!

        • Shoestring says:

          There could be a sizeable silent majority for whom the Groupon deal was straightforward. When my wife & I did it, it was no hassle at all – admittedly not the last iteration of this deal.

          ISTR there was a bit of Spanish to navigate – but nothing too difficult.

          • Londoner says:

            I have used it several times for the 2.000 Avios deal previously, but this time I needed 40.000 for a 2-4-1, and then it all went wrong. Never had any issues previously either, which is why I thought it would be fine to purchase through Groupon, but they have admitted a lot of complaints this time.

          • Buying and redeeming the voucher is simple with google translate. Problem is with process/interface between Groupon and Iberia – either way buyer suffers.

  2. O/T
    I was wondering if anybody has had there luggage lost before and had any advice.

    I booked a flight on Iberia’s website from Buenos Aires to Gatwick via Barcelona, fly level to Barcelona then vuelling to Gatwick. My bag got lost and it’s been logged but is it vuelling I claim against or Iberia? it was an IB flight number.

    I’m told I will have it back within 5 days but all I had for heading to Scotland (I head home to Jersey in a week) was what I was wearing, what’s my limits for buying things ? Can I buy new clothes? An iPhone charger and ear phones ? Or just socks boxers and toiletries? 5 days is a long time, I don’t even know who I claim against if at all. If I buy a t shirt at £30 is the too much? Doesn’t seem to be any info.

    Anybody had this happen and have any advice ?


    • ChrisC says:

      You claim from the last carrier so Vueling and they sort it out with Iberia.

      Yes you can buy essentials – toiletries and clothes etc – and they will be reimbursed but that’s not an excuse to go mad so go for mid range clothes. An iPhone charger.would be OK but probably not headphones.

      A good guide is to ask yourself if you would buy the item if the reimbursement for it was refused and with the expectation you would get your luggage back in a couple of days

      • JamesLHR says:

        It would be very strange to commit to having the bag back within 5 days.

        This is usually the tracing period between the ground handler and the airline, in your case whoever handles VY at LGW. After this period, the file will be handed over to VY CBT (central baggage tracing).

        Technically under the Montreal Convention you can claim against any airline involved in the carriage of your bag. It is up to the airlines then to claim from one another and pro-rate the amount based on the at fault carrier. However, usually when you contact the carrier that is not the end carrier, they will refer you to the end carrier.

        In terms of limits, the Montreal Convention has no definition of what you can/cannot buy. It’s only statute of limitations is the SDR amount convertible into local currency. Who is to say you don’t need the headphones for a purpose?

        In order to get claims settled, the majority of people go for essential items and claim these, however, should the airline not settle or entertain your claim, you can always direct this claim to the CAA. This normally results in the claim being settled. If not, the small claims court will if the airline is still being unreasonable.

    • Whoever did the lost baggage claim at LGW should have told you what you can claim.

      This is from Vueling’s website:

      If you are away from home and need to acquire basic items that you were carrying in the checked bag, you can claim back such expenses. Keep all pertinent receipts along with the P.I.R. code and claim a refund on the aforementioned expenses. Please note that you have 21 days from submitting the P.I.R. to request a refund via our online form.

      • Also check what your travel insurance covers you for though I suspect, as with all insurances, they expect you to claim off the airline first and only go to them when all else fails.

        I’ve never had to claim off my insurance as when I’ve had baggage go missing my bags have always been returned to me within a couple of days. I’ve bought shorts, 2 x t-shirts, 1 pair of jeans and underwear and successfully claimed off Iberia. I was travelling business class and they gave me two amenity kits with toiletries, including a disposable razor at the airport.

        Good luck with Vueling/Level.

  3. Joe Green says:

    OT virgin card
    Anyone know if need to keep to use companion voucher?
    Also does one get pro-rata refund when cancelling?

    • Doug M says:

      I think no refund, although a couple of people have said they did, most don’t. I assume you keep the voucher as it’s in your FC account not your credit card account.

  4. JamesLHR says:

    I am very curious about this VS order.

    They already have A330’s, yes.
    They already have A350’s on order.

    As they are both Airbus products, the A330-900 and A350-900 are very similar. The A350 is about 5t heavier on average OEW. It’s MTOW is 30t different which means it is a much more versatile aircraft. It holds slightly more cargo capacity and can hold 25 passengers more based on standard configurations. The cabin is also wider.

    In terms of commonality it would be compliment the A350’s already coming online. The IATA codes mean both aircrafts are handled the same at airports.

    This either means that a) the A330neo is tremendous on fuel economy, b) VS got a fantastic financial deal or c) the A359 is too much aircraft for VS, both on cargo or seats and they’d struggle to fill the additional space consistently to make the slight trip costs worthwhile.

    • a330neo is substantially cheaper than an a350.

      • JamesLHR says:

        This is true but with pre-existing relationships that delta can be narrowed or not exist.

        I imagine Airbus was keen to get a strong order on the books of the NEO. Plus, Delta is already an operator.

        The CAPEX is almost insignificant compared to the OPEX savings on commonality. They are enormous especially with small fleets.

    • mradey says:

      I actively avoid the VS A330 the UC cabin feels rather claustrophobic. Hope the new model is way better.

      • Nigel says:

        The A330 UC cabins were dense but I think they were all refurbished to match the 787 layout (3 rather than 4 columns of seats) a while ago.

    • Nigel says:

      and/or d) the order backlogs for the 787 and A350 are now very long and ordering the A330 is the option which allows them to renew and expand fleet much sooner

    • Doug M says:

      A complete guess, price. Discounting likely to be much heavier on a re-tooled old plane than the new model.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      The A350 is a bestseller and the A330neo has sold okay – not terribly but not wonderfully either. This could also mean that earlier delivery slots are available for the A330neo. Regardless of how its fuel efficiency compares with that of the A350, it is a lot better than that of the existing A330s, so making the switch is probably worthwhile if the capital cost isn’t too great. The “not a bestseller” factor makes this more likely to be so.

  5. JohnT says:

    My Amex Avios does say £335 or more.

  6. chris says:

    As this is a purchase via AMEX, I assume it still does not count as a BA purchase with double AVIOS if using the BA Amex card?

    • I think it goes through so no. However, not sure if it might trigger the amex offer for spend £500 get 500 avios etc with BA and selected partners. Never been clear to me who exactly the selected partners for this offer are.

  7. Shoestring says:

    In case you missed it, Extinction Rebellion called off their threat to disrupt LHR flights today and 10 days in July. They did, however, say they were likely to protest for 10 days later in the year.

    • Good to hear. If these people expended the same energy on lobbying for practical solutions and facilitating informed public education they would likely receive much sympathy and achieve much more meaningful results.

    • I imagine the threats of long prison sentences for endangering aircraft focused their minds somewhat

  8. Shoestring says:

    20% off code for No1 lounges HSBCADVANCE20

  9. Matt B says:

    O/T – do morrisons sell amazon vouchers? Potentially have a large purchase coming up and was hoping to use the 10% off Amex offer to buy them. If they do is there any reason why this won’t work?

    • Yes.

      • Make sure you pay some part of your purchase with a card to obtain s75 cover.

        • Matt B says:

          Thanks BJ. It’s actually a third party who sells on amazon, who I have bought from before and trust. Would I still be able to pay them using the gift certs? Googling isn’t clear, some say yes, others no.

          • Mark2 says:

            If it is through Amazon you can use gift cards. I always add them to my account and the money is deducted automatically.
            If you buy a lot of cards at Morrison’s expect to have to wait for a manager to authorise it. I usually go to Customer Services to avoid holding up the queue.

          • Rooster says:

            yes you can use gift cards for any purchase on amazon or third party, £500 in one go isn’t usually an issue

          • To add to comments from the others be aware you can put cards through self check out at Morrisons (at least you can with the ones with belts). You can also collect Morrisons More points.

    • Zana711 says:

      I tried this in Dec last year and worked for me, though I did have problems going through self-check out when I tried to scan multiple gift cards in one transaction – the self-check out seemed to require approval every time you try to buy multiple gift cards. Also, because the weight of a gift card is too low for the self checkout scale to detect, it also required approval! In the end, I put through 10+ gift cards in one transaction; I did get questioned by customer service but I just blamed it on Christmas with lots of people to gift. Amex credit all came through.

      • Zana711 says:

        And yes, have paid many third party sellers on Amazon using my Amazon gift card balance before.

      • Rooster says:

        Just use a manned till as the gift cards always have a weight issue on the self checkout.

    • Doug M says:

      I’ve already had the Amex credit on my first two voucher buying expeditions. Amazon the first time, JL for Waitrose the second. First occasion used the regular till as had a couple of other items, all good, and really quick. Second time at a different branch the vouchers were beyond the tills next to the Kiosk. Went to kiosk and she could only do one at a time, giant queue formed, much agitation, eventually kiosk lady attracted supervisor from her chat with mate, supervisor grumpily informed her to get on with doing them one at a time. Felt guilty and said to bloke behind you go before she does the next one, he’s been there waiting 10 minutes or so, they didn’t have the cigs he wanted anyway. Considered Shoestrings fuel approach, but Morrisons Petrol stations rare in London.
      Said before but odd that I have 7% offer on Plat, but 10% offer on Gold. Hardly an incentive to keep the Plat.

      • Rooster says:

        Just use a regular manned till, the self checkout doesn’t work for gift cards due to the weight rather than it having to be approved,

        • Not had a problem with self-checkout myself, but a manned till won’t let me buy more than £50 of the same gift card. Did £100 successfully at self-checkout previously.

          • EwanG says:

            I find it best to go in at a quiet time when the tills are less busy and availability of management is better. There are restrictions on the number (and perhaps value) of cards which can be purchased in one transaction. The till and supervisor staff will usually say to split this across many transactions, but it is not the only solution. All you need is a manager over-ride code, which they seem reluctant to request.

            Although there is a superstore less than a mile from the office I’d never dream of visiting it during the working day as the tills and kiosk always have big queues, and I am not going to wait or make others wait while it’s split into multiple transactions or we have a discussion about the over-ride!

      • George says:

        Do M petrol stations take their gift vouchers? Everything I can find says they’re not valid on fuel – but I’d love to buy £1000 of fuel in advance to save 7%!

        • lev441 says:

          Yes they do, I’ve just returned from filling up there using vouchers.

          No double dipping on Morrisons More points though which is kind of what I expected..

          • EwanG says:

            Indeed. You don’t get More points when you buy the paper vouchers, but you do get them when you spend them.

    • Has anyone actually received the account credit for Morrisons spend? My wife has done 2 purchases with her AMEX and neither has received the credit (or even the email saying she has used her card)

      • Shoestring says:

        Not yet (still in pending actually), but the offer disappeared from saved offers after I used it, so looks like purchase has been recognised as joining up with offer. No success email either but that doesn’t ring any alarm bells. You can use same offer umpteen times, so wouldn’t surprise me if we got the statement credit in one sum after promo ends. I took a screenshot of the offer just in case.

        • Strange that the offer disappeared when it can be reused multiple times.

          I really don’t trust Amex’s offers anymore – it always seems like you need to chase them up these days.

  10. Clive says:

    Not sure if open to all but Virgin Red are offering a miles booster with 40% bonuses on the App

    • Matt B says:

      Just saw that elsewhere, to get the 40% bonus you need to 3x boost. Not bad though I guess buying them at 71p, my wife has a few flights she could apply this to.

    • LewisB says:

      Never heard of Virgin Red before, looks good. Any success with the prizes?

      • Shoestring says:

        yep – can you actually earn Virgin Miles direct? – or do the points for doing stuff let you enter competitions or something?

        • LewisB says:

          I’ve managed to earn 850 points after just opening the app. I can’t see an option of simply converting them to miles, instead it’s used to unlock vaults which are basically small competitions etc. One is to win 40k miles for example.

          I assume this resets each month and you just need to log in daily to complete the quiz, photo competitions and market research? Any option to actually convert points to miles?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Yep no direct miles for doing things but the chance to enter competitions etc. I’ve won a few things now and then

      • Roger C says:

        I won a pair of LNER First Class tickets. A nice little short trip to Inverness!

    • Grant says:

      Anyone got an invite code they want to share?

    • I won the 40k Virgin miles one month early last year – was amazed!

  11. Nick_C says:

    Does anyone ever pay the list price for new aircraft? Is it BOGOF, or 342?

    • RussellH says:

      I imagine that it is rather like buying a (mass-market) car from a dealer. Bigger things, though, so bigger discounts.
      Might be harder for you though if you wanted to buy an A320neo and park it somewhere on your country estate.

      • JamesLHR says:

        Also manufacturer credits, such as those from Boeing are not cash in hand, they are off new orders or maintenance plans/parts.

        They’re also time limited.

        It’s not all as rosy as the media portrays!

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