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Virgin Atlantic and Delta changing US flight services from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester

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Virgin Atlantic and Delta have just announced a raft of scheduling changes that will increase the frequency of flights between the UK, including from Manchester, and the USA

These changes are unrelated to the joint venture filed between Delta, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France, although when fully approved it will include these flights.

This article is based on the actual flight plans that were filed on Friday night and are a little different to what you may have read elsewhere.

Here are the changes:

New routes from Gatwick

Back in April we reported Delta’s announcement regarding the Gatwick-Boston route, which was launched to stifle JetBlue’s transatlantic plans.  We now have the times and dates for the new services:

Delta is launching Gatwick – Boston in May 2020. The flight departs Gatwick at 10:30 and arrives in Boston at 13:20; returning from Boston at 21:00 with an arrival in Gatwick at 08:45.

Virgin is launching Gatwick – New York JFK on 21st May 2020. The flight departs Gatwick at 12:55 and arrives in New York at 15:40; the inbound departs at 19:30 and arrives in London at 07:50.  (It was 1991 when Virgin Atlantic last flew from Gatwick to New York!)  It starts at 5x weekly, increasing to 6x weekly from 13th June and daily from 27th July.

Changes to existing routes

Delta is adding a daily flight between Heathrow and New York JFK on 20th May with the inbound JFK – Heathrow being a day flight.  The outbound flight leaves Heathrow at 07:30 and arrives in New York at 10:30. The inbound departs JFK at 10:15 and arrives at Heathrow at 22:25.

Virgin is removing a daily flight between Heathrow and New York (VS153/154) from 20th May (the Gatwick service starts the next day).  Virgin is removing a second daily flight between Heathrow and New York from 10th June, when VS137/010 is dropped on Tuesday and Saturday.  The net effect of these two changes is to cut the number of Virgin Atlantic-operated flights between Heathrow and JFK from 42 to 33 per week.

Virgin is increasing flights from Heathrow to Seattle from 7 to 11 weekly from 29th March 2020

Virgin is increasing flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles from 14 to 17 weekly (max 3 daily) from 30th March 2020

Delta is taking over Virgin Atlantic’s Manchester to Boston route, increasing from 3x weekly to daily from 23rd May 2020

Aircraft changes

All Delta flights from Heathrow to New York and Boston will use refurbished 767-400 with Delta One and – for the first time – premium economy products

The new Delta flight from Manchester to Boston will use a Boeing 757, replacing the A330-200 used by Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is placing its new A350 and Upper Class Suite on New York flights this year (which we knew) and Los Angeles in 2020 (which we didn’t know)

Virgin and Delta service changes


There is a lot going on here:

the introduction of premium economy to Delta

the standardisation of the Delta fleet on the core Heathrow to New York and Boston routes

the switch at Manchester from Virgin to Delta on the Boston route (which seems illogical – if you assume most passengers are UK residents – but releases a Virgin aircraft to use elsewhere)

the addition of the Virgin A350 and new Upper Class seat to LA

the first day flight TO the UK from New York from Delta

Virgin reducing its presence on the key Heathrow to New York route sharply, from 42 to 33 services per week

the launch of Gatwick services to New York (on Virgin) and Boston (on Delta)

….. plus the Seattle and LA frequency increases

The additional frequencies as well as new routes are clearly an improvement, as is the move to a standard Delta product, albeit on an ageing Boeing 767.  Boston, in particular, appears to be getting a boost – no doubt to compete with JetBlue’s plans to launch a transatlantic route.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

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

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):

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 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 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year 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 (40)

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

  • RussellH says:

    Always nice to see info about connections to New England, but still using 767s…

  • Paul says:

    No door on the 767’s though.

    • Peter K says:

      Ha ha ha. My weird sense of humour made me think that it must be difficult to get the passengers on board then 😉

  • Jason says:

    So does anyone know if it will be all flights to LAX next year on the A350 and what date it will be introduced.

    • Rob says:

      You would imagine they will try to move the entire route to A350. This is the 2nd batch of A350s, no idea of a delivery date yet.

  • Gail says:

    No MAN-BOS route after 9th October 2019.

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

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