Virgin Atlantic’s flights to the Indian subcontinent originally started as a way to mop up traffic during covid, when its bread-and-butter routes to the United States were blocked from carrying tourists.
Whilst it has operated to Delhi since 2000, flights to Lahore, Islamabad and Mumbai were launched in Autumn 2020. They were so successful that one person I spoke to suggested they ‘saved’ the airline from collapse (cargo was another factor, of course.)
It appears Virgin Atlantic has decided to keep operating the routes and has now forged a relationship with Indian airline IndiGo to offer better connections. IndiGo is India’s largest airline and operates under a low-cost model.
The agreement is formed of two phases. Phase one will see Virgin add its flight numbers to IndiGo flights to seven Indian cities:
This will be followed by phase two, later this year, which will increase the number of cities to sixteen and let IndiGo offer connections to the United States on Virgin Atlantic flights via Heathrow. The additional cities include:
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin said: “This summer marks our largest ever flying programme from India with three daily direct services to London and our new partnership takes our commitment to even greater heights.”
Flights between the UK and India are becoming increasingly competitive. British Airways flies to five Indian cities whilst Virgin Atlantic flies to two. Tata-owned airline Vistara has launched flights to London and is hoping to expand its offering once Boeing delivers more 787s.
A number of start-ups are also planning to launch flights to the region. Hans Airways hopes to make a go of it from Birmingham to Amritsar and flypop will also attempt to launch low-cost long haul flights.
…. and Virgin Atlantic expands Pakistan flights
In addition to offering better connections in India, Virgin Atlantic will offer an additional weekly flight to both Lahore and Islamabad in January and February 2023.
This takes Virgin Atlantic to 10 flights weekly to Pakistan.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 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):
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into 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.)