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 Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
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 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into 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.)