Virgin Atlantic accepted delivery of its first A350 at the Airbus factory in Toulouse over the weekend. The aircraft has been called ‘Red Velvet’.
There was no public arrival event, with the aircraft quietly flown into Gatwick on Saturday. I’m not sure why Virgin Atlantic has let British Airways make the running in the PR stakes over A350 arrival events, especially as – if we’re frank – the A350 is a substantially bigger deal for Virgin Atlantic than it is for British Airways, as a % of the fleet.
Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge):
The aircraft will enter service on the New York JFK route on 10th September. The 2nd aircraft will begin service on 24th September.
Unlike the British Airways A350, there will be no ‘public’ test flights because Virgin Atlantic has no short haul routes. Crew have been trained on a mock-up installed at the Virgin Atlantic crew centre in Crawley.
If you are keen to find out how the new Upper Class Suite looks, we have been invited to take a look in mid September on a trip to New York. This may well be on the 2nd aircraft to be delivered, in the gap between delivery and entry into daily service. Yet again I have managed to double-book myself so it looks like another task for Rhys ….
Aircraft No 3 and Aircraft No 4 are heading to New York JFK too
The 3rd and 4th A350 aircraft have now been slotted into the timetable.
From 5th November VS3/VS4 will switch to an A350 from a Boeing 787, at which point there will be three daily A350 services (two on Tuesdays).
VS3 is the early 08.50 departure from Heathrow, which returns at 18.30 from JFK.
From 9th December, VS45/VS46 will also switch to an A350.
VS45 is the 14.35 from Heathrow which returns as the 20.00 from JFK.
If I understand the delivery schedule correctly, there is then a gap before another four aircraft arrive in 2020. Virgin Atlantic will receive 12 A350’s in total.
How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards
As a reminder, if you want to try the A350 with frequent flyer miles, 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.)