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
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)
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 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.)