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No Virgin Atlantic passenger flights – zilch – for at least a week in late April

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Virgin Atlantic has been running a skeleton service for the last few weeks.  

It had previously announced it was only operating New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong flights this month. This bare-bones schedule enabled the repatriation of UK residents.

Whilst these flights are set to continue on certain dates, Routes Online is reporting that there are no scheduled passenger services between 21st April and 26th April.  Nothing at all.

If you are booked on any of these services you are entitled to a full refund or rebooking as per the terms in our extensive article here.

It’s not clear what will happen to Virgin Atlantic’s services after 26th April although it is highly likely to continue its rolling program of cancellations for at least a few more weeks.

Virgin Atlantic planes continue to fly in order to transport essential cargo.  Virgin Atlantic does not have dedicated cargo aircraft, of course, so some of its aircraft will fly with a skeleton crew.

The airline recently flew its first-ever cargo-only charter flight to transport essential medical supplies.  In a statement Virgin said it is flying eight cargo charters to Shanghai this month in partnership with the Department of Health and the NHS.

Many airlines have been placing additional cargo in passenger seats and overhead bins to maximise the use of space. Lufthansa recently tweeted some photos:

Special dispensation is required to carry cargo in the cabin as well as the hold, which Virgin Atlantic says it has from the Civil Aviation Authority.  One cabin crew member is still required to monitor the cargo in the cabin even if there are no passengers.

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 (64)

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

  • Dan says:

    virgin atlantic are refusing to eu261 re-book my april flights that they have cancelled. they are offering cash refund, or that i pay fare difference if i rebook, which would be about 3x the cost of the original flight. anyone have tips for getting this sorted, aside from (1) keep escalating within virgin, (2) pay the thousands of £ fare difference and then risk s75? thankyou

    • Rob says:

      EC261 cannot be claimed on coronavirus-driven cancellations.

      You won’t get anywhere by escalating. Take the money. Once flights restart fares will drop sharply to fill seats anyway.

      • Dan says:

        since when? i thought the eu was very clear that the refund and rebook component must still continue as normal, it’s just compensation that won’t apply for coronavirus (quite rightly)

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yes you are entitled to a re-book.

          • Dan says:

            thanks. so any advice for what to do when the airline says ‘no’? just complain -> take it to ADR?

        • Rob says:

          You cannot be rebooked on another flight, since there are no other flights in April. The airline can therefore refund you. You can’t book a flight in April and ask for a free rebook for July with no extra cost, that would be crazy. It if worked, we’d all be booking dirt cheap flights to, say, Dubai in August and then demanding they were rebooked for free to peak weeks in October.

          • Dan says:

            but that’s precisely what ec261 and all its clarifying documents DO allow for (as long as that cheap august flight is indeed cancelled by the airline in the end).

            *passenger’s choice* of refund / reroute at earliest opportunity / reroute on passenger’s convenient date (subject to availability of comparable seat)…

          • marcw says:

            It´s a big gamble. Remember, EC261 only works if your flight is cancelled.

      • Dan says:

        From the EC’s Covid-19 specific communication:

        In the case of a flight cancellation by the airlines (no matter what the cause is), Article 5
        obliges the operating air carrier to offer the passengers the choice among:
        a) reimbursement (refund);
        b) re-routing at the earliest opportunity, or
        c) re-routing at a later date at the passenger’s convenience.

        • Rob says:

          If you’re so confident, pay the fare difference and take BA to arbitration later.

      • marcw says:

        Wrong advice. EC261 cover passengers during coronavirus. Compensation is a different thing, but your rights for delays & cancellations are intact.

        • Rob says:

          You do not have a right to be rebooked on a flight many months after your original booking for no increase in fare, which is what is being asked for.

          • Dan says:

            if that’s the case what is option c in the legislation meant to provide? b is the option of a re-route at earliest opportunity. presumably c (“at a later date at the passenger’s convenience”) isn’t just meant as an exact repeat of b?

          • Rob says:

            Go to CEDR and we may all find out but it isn’t your path to a free ticket on the most expensive day of the year for that particular destination.

          • Dan says:

            so i’ll keep you posted 🙂 you keep saying it’s not allowed because of your example of how it could be abused (a pretty hypothetical example, since you can’t generally book a flight knowing it’ll be cancelled). but surely a court (and presumably an ADR) can only go by what the law says, and the law seems to be written to explicitly allow such a resolution to passengers whose flights are cancelled…

          • Rob says:

            EC261 has been around for a long time now and most of the quirks are well known. Someone always has to be the first to test these things though 🙂 This is a country based on case law after all.

            You think ‘rebook me on a flight of my convenience’ means ‘I will pick the day of the year to be rebooked and that could be 6 months ahead in peak season when prices are 4x what I paid’. I think the interpretation that was meant was ‘you have to fly as soon as practically possible but the airline cannot unilaterally impose a flight and if you want PM instead of AM then that’s OK’.

          • Alex Sm says:

            But if the airlines allowed (as some, like Aegean did actually) to rebook without paying the fare difference, there will be much fewer people asking for a cash refund and this would be a good way for the airline to retain some liquidity in return for loyalty.

    • Lady London says:

      It’s your choice what you take from amongst the EU261 choices although some limits to a later flight reroute depending on what’s available as in ; actually flying.

      I think Virgin may be trying to help you by offering a cash refund knowing the gravity of their situation. Trouble is as soon as you take a refund you’ve chosen and the other rights no longer can be chosen.

      I think you’re going to end up s.75ing this one way or another.

      Do you still want to travel at pretty much the same time but Virgin has cancelled their flights? And is Virgin refusing to reroute you onto another airline that has flights,? EC261 gives you that but try to keep it on a European airline if you can. If they still wont you could talk to cardco about s.75 funding the replaceme

      I think your best bet would be to get rerouted onto a much later Virgin flight would actually be prepared to travel on if it too is not cancelled. Bearing in mind that your destination country could be demanding certification, visa or whatever by then. Note if the flight is running and you couldn’t fulfil these then you could find that’s your problem not the airline’s. Under EC261 that is a reroute due to their cancellation and you should not be required to pay a fare difference.

      If VS is no longer around by then you should be able to get s.75 replacement of that flight also regardless of the cost.

      However it depends which way you want to roll it and as Robs been around longer than most and has good links to know what most likely future then you might make your life a lot easier by taking his advice.

      • Lady London says:

        PS I wouldnt do adr/cedr. Too many perverse decisions been reported. I’d do court but obvs would try to avoid having to go that far.

        @Dan I think you’re right – but there is bound to be a case just like yours over on flyertalk – why dont you take a look over there as well before making up your mind?

      • Dan says:

        “I think your best bet would be to get rerouted onto a much later Virgin flight would actually be prepared to travel on if it too is not cancelled”

        yes that’s precisely what I’m trying to do (but Virgin want me to pay the fare difference).

        flyertalk seems to agree that it’s allowed — it’s been tried and tested that the passenger can choose whatever date suits them as long as the airline has seats available in comparable cabin (meaning business = business regardless of whether it’s lie flat, etc); and passenger not entitled to different airline like they are for an earliest possible reroute

  • Blindman says:


    I’m from UK and bought a ANZ flight from Sydney to RAR.

    AirNz have cancelled the flight and are automatically crediting the amount, so no cash refund.

    This is of no use to me as I’ll not be using AirNZ any time in the next 12 months and the voucher amount will not cover any future flight from SYD to RAR anyway.

    So how do I approach getting a refund in cash?
    New zealand do not seem to have a consumer law that gives me the right to a refund in cash

    First option would S75??


    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      I have RAR – AKL booked for August so I am interested to hear how you get on.

      At present I’m hoping it happens, as it’s still 4 months away, but we shall see.

      New Zealand seems to have been very gung-ho about shutting up shop.

    • Lady London says:

      Nasty one.
      Is this about you still needing to travel the route? Or are you not in need of any actual travel just the refund.

      NZ seems to have really poor consumer law to allow their airline to dump someone in the Pacific and just say ” too bad here’s a voucher we’re keeping your money even though you wi have no occasion ever to fly us again”.

      I am really quite shocked as New Zealanders are usually very fair-minded people that don’t put up with bullsh1t.

      Practically as NZ is not governed by EC261 you have either claim on your insurance or s.75 or chargeback. For the sake of good order I would politely advise NZ in writing that you are unable to accept their voucher as you live in the UK and this was a once in a lifetime trip and so you would have no opportunity to use it. You therefore seek the value of your flight back. NZer’s understand the lifetime trip thing since many of them do it in the other direction. There’s just a chance a nice note might prompt something better. Can their vouchers be used with any hotel booking I wonder.

      Once you’ve sent something along those lines go for s.75 or insurance refund without hanging around.

      • Blindman says:

        Think the answer was more aimed at Heathrwo flyer but some was relevant to me.

        Vouchers only used for air travel
        Air NZ state that as the tickets was non refundable then only a voucher will be given.

        As I bought this for a journey SYDNEY to RAR would it be covered by Australian Consumer law?

        Insurance will not pay as Nationwide state that if offered a voucher I must take it.

        Which is unfair in these circumstance I thnk

  • Anon says:

    Have a Virgin flight on May 1st and having difficulty with HSBC as it’s not officially cancelled yet but TravelUp aren’t responding to rebook etc. as per Virgin’s policy.

    Another week and HSBC discussions would have been made so much easier 🙁

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Are you against travelling now or just trying to preempt a cancellation as if it’s the latter wait until it’s actually cancelled then contact the agent followed by HSBC if they don’t co-operate.

      Unfortunately inclination not to travel isn’t a reason for a chargeback if the flight isn’t cancelled then it’s at Virgin/travelups discretion to refund/rebook you or it’s probably a refund of the taxes back.

      Think this is relevant for you.

      “If you booked on or before 19th March there is no change fee AND no difference in fare as long as your travel prior to 30th June 2020. A fare difference may apply for rebookings between 1st July 2020 to 30th April 2021.”

  • J says:

    BA declined to reroute me with another airline because of a cancelled connection, they did stump up for a hotel at Heathrow and get me there a day later so I’m happy enough. Anyway the justification for denying to reroute was the Corona virus and “extraordinary circumstances”. Every airline is using this. My understanding is that the EU rules (apart from compensation) still apply. But given Lufthansa, Air France, KLM etc are taking state aid – rerouting, compensation costs etc are essentially now taxpayers money, so government pressure on the EU to relax these consumer regulations will continue. The Dutch and German govts have already been lobbying for the airlines to be able to offer vouchers instead of cash refunds. I’d take a refund in case it’s not an option in the future as I wouldn’t want to end up with a voucher.

  • Ian says:

    I was chatting to a friend yesterday who is VS crew…she did a 2 round trips last week, one to LA with 10 passengers on the return, and one to NY with 4 passengers.

    • @mkcol says:

      My husband works for Avanti West Coast. It is highly unusual for him to have more than half a dozen pax on any service nowadays.
      It appears that the company are trying to reduce services further & are just awaiting DfT approval.

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