News in brief:
Exclusive pictures of the new Virgin Atlantic A350 tray table ….
There is a lot to like about the new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite which launched on the A350 last year. Here is our review of the new Upper Class Suite if you haven’t seen it yet.
Two issues quickly became apparent, however. The first was the lack of at-seat storage, although there is plenty of space in the overhead lockers. The second and (literally) more pressing issue was the tray table.
I have to admit that I sat in the mock-up cabin in Crawley pre-launch and did not spot this, but then I have a 34 inch waist. For anyone who is pregnant or who does not share my svelte figure, the new Upper Class tray table was problematic. It only had two positions – stored or fully out – and when fully out it was a very cosy fit against your stomach.
The first aircraft with the redesigned tray table is now in service and the remainder will be retrofitted. As you can see from the photos below, sent by a reader, the table can now fold out and expand, depending on how you want to use it.
…. which opens into this. I still haven’t tried the A350 in the air yet but hopefully I can see it in action before too long.
Get up to 50% bonus when you buy Virgin Flying Club miles
Tomorrow (Thursday) is the day when we should discover how much it will cost to redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for Air France and KLM flights.
If it is attractive – and I honestly don’t know because we haven’t seen the numbers yet either – you may be interested to know that Virgin Flying Club is running a short ‘flash sale’ when you buy miles.
The maximum bonus is 50%. We have not seen a 50% bonus for a LONG time – I couldn’t find any HFP article from the archive where the deal was so generous.
The closing date for the bonus is Sunday 16th February. The bonus is staggered:
- 15% bonus when you buy 5,000 – 9,000 miles
- 20% bonus when you buy 10,000 – 29,000 miles
- 30% bonus when you buy 30,000 – 69,000 miles
- 40% bonus when you buy 70,000 – 100,000 miles
- 50% bonus when you buy 101,000 – 150,000 miles
At the top end, 150,000 Flying Club miles, which comes to 225,000 miles with the bonus, will cost you £2,250. This works out at exactly 1p per mile.
As usual with these deals, it is difficult to recommend buying miles unless you plan to make an immediate redemption. 1p per mile IS good but I would want to know for certain that I would be using them in a profitable way.
Remember that, until 28th February you receive 25,000 Virgin Flying Club miles with the £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card. This is a better deal than buying 25,000 miles for £315! Full details of the offer are in this article.
Will the Government take an equity stake in Flybe?
Talks are continuing over the terms of a Government loan to Flybe, soon to be rebranded as Virgin Connect.
The BBC reported yesterday that the Government may ask for equity warrants. This would allow it to receive discounted shares in Connect Airways, the Flybe holding company, as part of the loan. The price of these shares would be set so that it made no sense to buy them at the moment, but the guaranteed price would allow a profit to be made if the value of the company rose.
One problem here, of course, is that Connect Airways is a private company. Exercising a warrant would leave the Government holding shares which could not easily be sold, given that they are not quoted on any stock exchange. There would also be minimal demand from elsewhere for a minority stake with no real power.
I am not saying that the Government should not make a loan, because there are broader economic reasons for keeping niche air routes and regional airports open. Trying to dress it up as a ‘commercial’ loan, however, is never going to wash.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 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.)