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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 (January 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.

  • PeterK says:

    Best news of 2022 so far, my son and family emigrated to Texas last year 👍✈️

  • Happeemonkee says:

    It’s been confirmed now according to viewfromthewing

    • Rob says:

      Apparently it is in crew roster system so we should assume it’s happening. No press release though.

  • barnaby100 says:

    Love Austin
    BA dropped 1st a while ago and so if CW over UC- Virgin win hands down

    • Will in SJC says:

      BA is a daily operation on the A350 so new Club Suites versus VS 4 x weekly operation on the 787 using the old UC seat. Not sure how Virgin wins hands down.

      And that is before you take into account that VS is gaining a reputation for canceling/merging flights at short notice which is causing issues for some!

      • Barnaby100 says:

        Better lounge
        Better food
        Better drink
        Better crew generally

        • Rob says:

          Still a long way to sit the old 787 coffin-style seats though. There isn’t a proper bar on the 787 either.

  • Happeemonkee says:

    From OMAAT

    As of May 25, 2022, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new 4x weekly flight between London (LHR) and Austin (AUS). The flight will operate with the following schedule:

    VS231 London to Austin departing 11:35AM arriving 4:05PM
    VS232 Austin to London departing 6:05PM arriving 9:00AM (+1 day)

    The flight will operate in both directions on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The 4,915 mile flight is blocked at 10hr30min westbound and 8hr55min eastbound.

  • David says:

    I am flying into T3 next month and was looking forward to trying V’s Revivals Lounge for the first time . However, Rob states in the article that BA’s T5 Arrivals “is a far grander affair” so I am a little concerned as I find that lounge a bit grubby compared to AA’s in T3 – especially the showers !!

  • Dylan says:

    The BA T5 arrivals lounge has been open for at least two months. It was very empty when I was there in November.

  • Alistair says:

    Confirmed the BA arrivals lounge is now open – I’m currently sat in it!

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

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