Now we know. Virgin Atlantic is dropping its 2nd daily Johannesburg service from 29th March 2020.
The upside, which we already knew, is that the remaining flight is being switched from a Boeing 787-9 to an Airbus A350.
This means that the route will have the new Upper Class Suite which we reviewed here, and which is a major improvement on the current seat. You’ll also have access to the new ‘The Loft’ social area onboard.
The 2nd Johannesburg flight will only have been operating for six months. In fact, it is only four weeks since it launched (28th October), filling the gap left by South African Airways move to drop one of its two daily Jo’burg to Heathrow services.
The problem is that the flight is a massively inefficient use of a very expensive aircraft. It leaves Heathrow at 18.55 and lands in South Africa at 07.55. It then sits on the ground earning nothing for the next 14 hours as the return flight to Heathrow does not leave until 22.20. It arrives back in Heathrow at 07.40.
Virgin Atlantic clearly feels that it can make better use of the plane. After all, in the 37 hours between leaving Heathrow and arriving back it could have completed two return flights to the US East Coast.
It is possible that we see the flight back for the Winter 2020 season, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 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.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
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.)