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Virgin Atlantic delays Sao Paulo flights, launches a change waiver and announces cost cutting

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Virgin Atlantic made a number of coronavirus-related announcements yesterday:

Sao Paulo flight launch delayed until October

Virgin Atlantic was supposed to be launching its first route to South America later this month. We were scheduled to be on the inaugural flight on the 29th March with Sir Richard Branson.

Virgin Atlantic has decided to delay the route due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. The flight has been pulled entirely until 5th October, the amended launch date.

This is an interesting decision, not least because Brazil is not particularly affected by the outbreak so far. Whilst British Airways has been dumping capacity on flights to North America and Africa, Virgin Atlantic appears to be taking a different tack and is attempting to reduce its cost base in the short term.  Since most new routes are loss making in their first year, Virgin clearly decided it did not want to shoulder that burden during an already difficult time.

Passengers affected by the delayed introduction of the route can choose between being rebooked on another airline, a refund or a rebooking from October.

Virgin Atlantic Tel Aviv Richard Branson

Virgin Atlantic launches a change waiver for new bookings

Virgin Atlantic has, unsurprisingly, copied British Airways and introduced a change waiver.

Ticket booked from yesterday (4th March) until the end of March for travel until the end of September, on any Virgin Atlantic route, can have their date changed for free.

This is, unfortunately, as pointless as the British Airways waiver:

you are on the hook for any increase in fare, and

you cannot get a refund, which means that the waiver has no benefit if you are travelling for a specific purpose

There is also no support for anyone who made a booking prior to 4th March.

Further cost cutting measures

Virgin Atlantic is making additional cost-cutting measures in order to weather out the storm. Unlike British Airways / IAG, Virgin Atlantic has thinner margins and will be more severely affected by travel restrictions.

This is especially true given that, proportionally, the revenue from the now-cancelled Shanghai and part-cancelled Hong Kong routes is a much larger piece of the pie than it is for British Airways, which has a much larger network.

CEO Shai Weiss will be taking a symbolic 20% pay cut from April until July with the remaining executive leadership team agreeing to 15%.

In addition, there will be a company wide recruitment freeze and a restriction on all non-essential staff travel and training.

There is also a proposed deferral of annual pay increases for employees, from March until August, as well as the opportunity for ground-based staff to take one to two weeks of unpaid leave before 31st July.

Virgin Atlantic is well and truly battening down the hatches.

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.)

Comments (80)

  • BJ says:

    OT: Just suffered the ignominy of a £1000 credit limit on my first application for a creation IHG card. Any ideas on how best to make use of that? My thinking is just bank the 20k bonus and spend on it regularly to prime them for a premium card application (hopefully with increased bonus) at a later date. Doesn’t seem worth the hassle or a good idea to repeatedly settling the balance to get more value out of it, or would it be, how would Creation see that?

    • Genghis says:

      I wouldn’t even bother spending on the white to be honest. I’ve now got the bonus and the card is in the drawer ready to be cancelled in 6 months’ time (to keep to the clawback terms).

      I’d apply for the black in a few months’ time.

      • BJ says:

        Thanks Genghis, glad I posted now as I didn’t even know about the 6 month issue. I have switched back to E.on so hopefully they will prove to be a real nuisance with the smart meters 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          Good luck. A relatively “easy” £100.

          • rams1981 says:

            interesting they keep messaging me. What’s the easiest way to get the £100? Do i need to call or email?

          • Genghis says:

            Call them and make a formal complaint. They’ll offer £30 or so at first. I then got their final response and then went to the Ombudsman; we then settled before Ombudsman made decision.

    • Genghis says:

      I pay off Creation mid month and cycle the credit limit no problem. I’ve big bills to pay.

  • Shoestring says:

    @BJ – I just got 2x £100 Amazon giftcards confirmed (MSM direct, life ins for wife & self) – letter delivery of vouchers within 28 days

    my son’s one should turn up in a few weeks as I did it later

    • Shoestring says:

      so with 1 more to come that’s going to be 6x £2.50 for myself, less for my wife, surprisingly slightly more for my son

      the idea is to use Amazon credit for cheap Melia points on Black Friday

    • BJ says:

      Thanks, good stuff, I’ll revisit MSM then 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    OT: I applied for an IHG premium card last year and noted a credit search by CREATION FINANCIAL SERVICES LTD on my credit file; which is normal. However, the same search is also shown on my husband’s credit file under his name! I didn’t provide his name in the application (he is not an additional card holder), so where did they get the info and what triggered the search? I recently applied for a free card and noted that same thing happened again. Worse this time, in that there are two searches on his credit file (just one on mine). Anyone has any ideas why this has happened? Should we call Creation to complain, or dispute with the credit report agent?

    • BJ says:

      Probably sonething to do with linked addresses which appears as a separate section on your credit report IIRC.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Is it an associate search?

      Any good financial company will check everyone who’s linked to your on your credit report in addition to yourself. If you were financially sound, but your other half was snowed under a mountain of debts, it would alarm them and most likely cause a rejection.

      The search won’t affect them as it’ll be a soft search.

      • Leigh says:

        Many thanks for both replies.
        Could be an associate search, which is new to me. Have applied for many cards in the past years 🙂 but never noted any associate searches.