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Virgin Atlantic: launching Austin?, reopens arrivals lounge, extends rebooking policy

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We’ve been swamped with Virgin Atlantic news in the last 48 hours. Here is a summary.

Is Virgin Atlantic about to launch flights to Austin?

There are rumours circulating online that Virgin Atlantic is about to announce flights to Austin in Texas.

If you track these rumours back to their sources, they are not what I would call ‘cast iron’. That said, one even quotes the flight numbers to be used (VS231 and VS232). It also appears that Virgin Atlantic staff are aware of the rumours, at least in the call centre.

The most obvious reason for this story to be true is that Austin is a very ‘Virgin Atlantic’ type of place. Whilst I see more and more comments saying that the city is now heading in the wrong direction due to high housing costs, homelessness and tech money crowding out everyone else, there is little doubt that Austin has been seen as the hippest place to live in the US for a number of years.

It has a strong IT industry, led by Apple (the biggest employer in the city) and Facebook with Google and Oracle also opening there. This has attracted a lot of young people and all the things that come with such a demographic, including the South by Southwest festival. It also has good access to outdoor recreational activities which appeals to the family market.

These are all factors which imply that Virgin Atlantic would fit in with the Austin ‘scene’. So far, however, these are just rumours, and it remains to be seen if the city can support flights from both British Airways and Virgin. It did, of course, have both Norwegian and BA flying from London at one point.

Virgin Atlantic flights to Austin

Virgin Atlantic to reopen its arrivals lounge at Heathrow

If you are flying into the UK on Virgin Atlantic or Delta from Monday, you will be able to use the Revivals Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.

Open to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Delta One pasengers and Flying Club Gold members, it is somewhere to grab a shower and have some breakfast. It certainly isn’t anything on the scale of the Clubhouse lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3 departures, but it does the job.

Our last review of the Virgin Atlantic Revivals lounge at Heathrow is here.

There is no word yet on when British Airways will reopen its arrivals lounge in Terminal 5, which is a far grander affair.

Both lounges had to close because, under the covid regulations in force until yesterday, arriving passenger had to isolate until they received the results of their ‘Day 2’ test. Visiting an arrivals lounge on the way was not allowed ….

You can find out more about the Revivals Lounge on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Virgin Atlantic arrivals lounge opens

Virgin Atlantic extends its flexible booking policy

Virgin Atlantic has announced an extension of its flexible booking policy, allowing you to book for 2022 with confidence.

For bookings made from 23rd December 2021 for travel completed in 2022, the following rules apply:

  • you can make unlimited date changes
  • you can make unlimited destination changes
  • you can change the name on the ticket once

The key conditions are:

  • all travel must be completed by 31st December 2023
  • you must pay any fare difference when making a change

For Virgin Holidays bookings, changes must be made three weeks before departure. For flight only bookings, changes can be made at any point until departure.

You can find out more on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Virgin Atlantic sale

Virgin Atlantic launches a new sale

Virgin Atlantic has also rebooted its January sale in response to the loosening of testing requirements on your return to the UK.

The headline offer for Upper Class is ‘up to £1,400’ off but the airline has not supplied us with any typical fares to back this up. There are also savings in Economy and Premium.

If you are interesting in locking in a deal to the US or Caribbean, take a look at the Virgin Atlantic sale website here.

Virgin Holidays has extra deals this weekend

You should also price up your itinerary via the Virgin Holidays website here, as there may be savings to be made by booking your flight and hotel together.

Until Monday evening, Virgin Holidays is offering additional savings of up to 10% on all 2022 bookings. The discount is based on the total holiday cost excluding Air Passenger Duty and other airline-added taxes and charges. You can learn more here.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

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):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus 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 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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 (57)

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

  • t0m says:

    Hopefully might put pressure on BA to extend their changeable booking window..

  • Thegasman says:

    I’m surprised Virgin haven’t restarted flights to RSA. As the Omicron wave has now peaked & clearly lower virulence I’d have thought there would be demand for what is still peak season?

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      If you mean South Africa, then they have, if you mean Santa Rosa in Argentina then it’s not an existing route?

      • Thegasman says:

        Yes, I see they are now flying to JNB but haven’t restarted CPT.

        • ChrisA says:

          I saw a comment from VS on Twitter saying that they were expecting to resume the CPT route only at the end of 2022.

  • John T says:

    I could see Austin working. While it’s not a partner hub, it’s one of the largest O&D markets in the US they don’t already serve.

    • VSCXfan says:

      …and more potential than challenging AA/BA at DFW or UA at IAH

  • James says:

    VS231 departs LHR 11.35 arrives AUS 16.05, leaves AUS 18.05 arrives LHR 09.00 on a B789, mon, wed, fri, sun schedule starts Wednesday 23rd May, currently in VS flight schedules but not available for booking.
    We went to AUS in November, stopped in San Antonio which is a 75 minute drive south, sky club was excellent with runway views and an outdoor area. Austin looked good.

  • Will says:

    Austin is my favourite city that I’ve ever been to. Dream of relocating there if I can find a reason to live there.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Interesting, what makes it appeal to you so much? It is one of the places I have shortlisted for a potential trip, but have never investigated properly.

      • Will says:

        Great climate, loads of outdoor swimming possibilities, generally lots of trekking/outdoor activities on doorstep, amazing nightlife, great eateries that are not posh and literally anything goes there. Certainly not what you’d associate with Texas in terms of liberal attitudes.

        I could spend months there and still not be bored.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          That’s interesting to hear and certainly sounds right up my street. Thanks for the reply, will definitely take a closer look.

  • Derek says:

    They will need to ‘ rejig’ their sale again for many. The crazy prices being quoted on their website are probably double the sale price pre 2020.

  • Doug M says:

    10+ years ago Austin was fabulous. Now it’s a fake version of that. Perfect destination for VS really.

    • Lady London says:

      🙂
      Pdx similar progression I think

    • Mike says:

      Totally agree. I was there exactly 10 years ago & you could already feel the shift & the ‘Don’t move here’ calls getting louder.

    • Will says:

      I’ve not been for a few years and I understand what you are saying but it’s far from ruined at the moment.

      Plenty of dive bars, great cheap BBQ places, the nature just out of town will take a lot to spoil it.

      That said there are high rise lux appartments popping up all over and centre is starting to feel a bit more NYC/SFO.

      Still lots of interesting stuff there though.

  • Chris says:

    “ Whilst I see more and more comments saying that the city is now heading in the wrong direction”

    I don’t know if it’s elitism or what but the haughty condescension of Rob’s writing often just makes me shake my head. No idea what the above is even insinuating but it’s ridiculous

    • ChrisC says:

      ‘wrong direction’ in the US usually means it votes for the other side and Austin is a very democratic party voting area in a red state.

      But it is a strange comemnt to make and I don’t think he’d make such a comment if it was BA who were starting this route!

      • Rob says:

        Not it. It was more in relation to the fact that it appears to be turning into SanFran – property prices getting too high, increases homelessness, tech money effectively making life too pricey for non-tech workers etc.

        • Thegasman says:

          I’d agree with this. Everything that makes it “cool” in the first place gets priced out & replaced with a corporate version.

          Think locally owned small organic food store replaced with Whole Foods, quirky little hotels with identikit Kimpton, young artists with middle aged corporate wannabe “hipsters” drinking chai soya lattes in their Porsches etc. Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of the above in a capitalist society but if you’re looking for the next hidden gem the ship has long sailed.

          Good U.K. comparison is Brixton.

          • DevonDiamo says:

            A lot of Brixton people have been priced out to South Norwood / Norbury etc – negative effect of gentrification means those who made a place interesting are often priced out and the area becomes homogenous

          • dougzz99 says:

            Exactly.

        • Geoff 1977 says:

          Do high property prices for non-tech workers make a difference to you if you’re going there on holiday? (Other than the obvious fact that accommodation will be expensive)

          • Rob says:

            The point is that if you are going expecting hundreds of artisan coffee shops, indy book shops and boutique hotels, you may not get it.

          • Geoff 1977 says:

            “ The point is that if you are going expecting hundreds of artisan coffee shops, indy book shops and boutique hotels, you may not get it.”

            Surely you’d do your research before going somewhere rather than just turning up and it being not what you expected based on assumptions?

          • Rob says:

            These things are all relative anyway, of course. What I consider cutting edge and independent based on living in West London would be different to what someone in Dalston would think. If a branch of Hagen, probably the classiest artisan London coffee chain, opened in Dalston the locals may see it as part of the slippery slope downhill from true locally owned indy stores. Where I live, it is treated as a welcome change from a million Pret’s.

          • Geoff 1977 says:

            There’s places I can go for “artisan” bookshops in the U.K. that’s not a reason (for me) to go to a specific place in America

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