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.

Virgin Atlantic Buy Miles promotion

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.

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

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  1. jamie says:

    I don’t think there is any surprise over this

  2. Baji Nahid says:

    OT: Any assistance would be appreciated. Bought some flights to NYC but the travels are on KLM and Delta with a stop in Amsterdam. These tickets however were ticketed by virgin. If for any reason, Virgin folds, does this mean the tickets are gone? I bought these with a credit card, travel is in end of May.

    I appreciate any help!

  3. You have to keep some aircraft flying as both planes and pilots need re-certification after prolonged periods on the ground.
    Further talks going today between Virgin and the Government. Personally, I’d be very surprised if there was no help given especially given the knock-on effects for companies like Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

    • I am leaning the same way. Macron and Merkel are both waving very large cheques around at the moment. It would look bad if we didn’t. Realistically it makes little difference to the shareholders if the Government takes a 49% stake in return because neither Delta or Virgin is in it for dividends (they’ve rarely had any!) – Delta gets its return from the traffic it drives and Virgin Group gets its licensing fee for the name plus the general halo effect on the brand.

      The fact that easyJet could borrow £600m from the Government because it had rated corporate debt, but Virign is disqualified because it has no rated debt in issue, is also clearly unfair.

      • marcw says:

        How many airplanes are owned by easyjet, lughtansa, afklm… and Virgin?

        • In terms of capital structure, lease vs loan makes virtually no difference, and indeed the leases should be capitalised on the balance sheet in the same way that a loan would be.

          • marcw says:

            What does the taxpayer get if you give VS a loan, but in 3 months it goes bust because the main VS market is gone (USA will be the hardest hit country worldwide by covid-19,,, and its just the beginning). The USA market will take years, literally, to recover.

      • Heathrow Flyer says:


        Also let’s not forget the US airlines are being hosed with cash.

        Still, having said that, I ran to the Hilton hills with my Virgin miles…

        • Mikeact says:

          And how many more will dilute their miles…..?
          I don’t know how many miles Virgin (Flying Club) are on the hoc for, but if must be a considerable number of millions and worth a considerable amount of £’s or $’s.
          Just how long can they keep up redemptions for third party offers as well as future flights on partners, before they have to call it a day.
          Virgin Australia are already placing limits on non flight redemptions, and as for ‘they are a separate company’, my understanding is that all Flying Club miles, from wherever, all go into one pot regardless. I stand to be corrected.

      • RMarkD says:

        If the UK government underwrites any deal by taking an equity stake, they should surely insist on stopping the brand licensing payments? If they don’t support the airline, the brand is worthless – so why allow the license fee to continue to be paid?

        • The Virgin brand is not worthless without the airline. The airline may be worthless without the Virgin brand.

          • Nick_C says:

            The Virgin Brand will be damaged though when Virgin Atlantic goes bust, as it must be allowed to.

            We don’t need a national airline. We decided that over 30 years ago.

          • Lady London says:

            That’s a really good point Rob.

            So let the airline go now, let all the debts and leases go, walk away from it all and wait …. And then maybe one day pay rent to plaster the Virgin name over a newly constituted airline entity?

        • memesweeper says:

          absolutely — or at least reduced to a level of the cost of a quick and cheap rebrand to ‘UK National Airline’ in black Arial font.

      • EasyJet made money, Virgin didn’t.

        Rather than piss money up the wall, just let someone else have a crack with the slots.

        If there is a bailout why stick at 49% ?
        If a 70% stake was ok in RBS why not a similar amount in Virgin ?

        • British Airways would go bonkers if the Government had voting control at Virgin, that’s why. And not unreasonably so. The equity is worth very little anyway – it is simply option value in the unlikely event the airline becomes hugely valuable – so it’s not worth the grief in my view.

          Here is the French finance minister today: ““It’s not a helping hand that Air France will need, it’s massive support from the state. Air France will have this massive support from the state as we want to preserve this airline at any cost.” Doesn’t seem very fair to me.

          • BA will go bonkers in the event of any bailout contrived to help Virgin anyway.

            Basically funnelling money into Bransons pockets to get what exactly?
            A weak sub sized competitor.

            If a controlling stake is too political, buy the slots off Virgin and lease them back.
            At least we stand chance of recovering any bailout

          • Slots are mortgaged.

      • Opuada says:

        So how will the government get their money back? If the business can’t even make enough profit for dividends OR will struggle to grow for a while Hence affecting the value of their stake?

    • insider says:

      slippery slope though..

      • How? The major US airlines are taking state aid. All the other major European ‘full service’ airlines are taking state aid Lufthansa, SAS, Finnair, Air France, KLM, etc.

  4. Does anyone know when VS are temporarily moving terminals (presumably to T2) at Heathrow? It could make sense that they do the move when they’re not flying anywhere.

    The Heathrow website states “In the coming weeks, other airlines will also move operations from Terminals 3 and 4 to Terminals 2 and 5. Please speak to your airline directly to confirm which terminal your flight will operate from” but I can’t find anything about the dates the airlines are actually moving.

  5. Virgin still appear to be flying LHR>>BGI and MAN>>BGI

  6. James says:

    And Virgin also posted its own pictures of NHS/cargo flights too:

  7. Jordan D says:

    Virgin will be operating at least 1 of the repatriation flights from India, which kick off from today.

  8. Pablo says:

    Just been charged by Curve 1.5% for paying Brighton bill. I thought the fee was only applicable to HMRC payments 🙁

  9. 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

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

      • marcw says:

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

        • 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.

          • 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?

          • 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.

          • 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…

          • 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’.

          • 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?

      • “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

  10. 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

  11. 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.”

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