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Virgin Atlantic to charge for seat selection in Economy Classic and Economy Delight

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Virgin Atlantic is dropping free seat selection in its Economy Classic and Economy Delight cabins.

Silver members of Virgin Flying Club have been told that, for new bookings from 19th September, they will only get free seat selection seven days before departure.

De facto, this means that people who are only base level members of Flying Club, or not members at all, will have to pay for seat selection at all times.

At present, anyone who books Economy Classic or Economy Delight can select a seat for free at the time of booking. A chunk of seats are not free for Economy Classic ticket holders – exit rows, rows towards the front etc – but there are other seats available for free if you want them.

In Economy Light, there are currently no seats available for free unless you are Silver or Gold. What changes here is that a Silver member can only select a seat for free from seven days before departure.

In summary, this is what appears to be happening from 19th September:

Economy Light

  • No status – you currently pay for advance seat selection, and you will continue to pay
  • Silver – currently free, going forward you have to pay if you want to select a seat further out than seven days before departure
  • Gold – currently free, remains free

Economy Classic

  • No status – currently free in selected seats but you can pay for a ‘preferred’ seat, going forward all seats will be charged
  • Silver – currently free, going forward you have to pay if you want to select a seat further out than seven days before departure
  • Gold – currently free, remains free

Economy Delight

  • No status – you can currently select a seat in the ‘preferred’ area for free, going forward all seats will be charged
  • Silver – currently free, going forward you have to pay if you want to select a seat further out than seven days before departure
  • Gold – currently free, remains free

Note that everyone can still select a seat for free when check-in opens at 24 hours before departure. The comments above only apply to advance seat selection.

Nothing will change for existing bookings. The new rules apply to bookings made from 19th September. We don’t know what the new fees will be.

Silver members of Virgin Flying Club continue to receive:

  • 30% bonus Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic flights
  • check-in at Premium desks
  • one additional piece of checked luggage carried for free

You can see the Silver benefits – not yet updated – on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.

Virgin Flying Club cuts seating benefits for Silver members

Get a 50% bonus buying Virgin Points

Virgin Red has a new deal for buying Virgin Points with a 50% bonus. The offer runs until next Monday, 18th September.

The maximum number of points you can buy is 100,000, assuming you haven’t already made a purchase this year.

At the top end, 100,000 Virgin Points, which comes to 150,000 points with the 50% bonus, will cost you £1,515.  This works out at exactly 1p each.

We have seen 70% bonuses this year, so I wouldn’t jump in at 50% on a speculative basis. If you’ve got a plan to use them, of course, it’s a different story.

Virgin Atlantic has now joined the SkyTeam airline alliance. This has opened up redemptions across new partners such as Aeromexico, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines. This article explains what it costs to redeem Virgin Points on the new SkyTeam partners.

Note that you cannot get the bonus if you buy points via Virgin Flying Club. You need to buy via the Virgin Red app or the Virgin Red website and have a Virgin Red account.

If you want to earn more Virgin Points for less outlay, our review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard credit card is here (30,000 bonus points special offer currently running) and our review of the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card is here.

Comments (41)

  • pigeon says:

    A bit surprising because I understand the joint business agreement between KL/AF/VS/DL required free seat selection for non basic fares. That’s why, when AF/KL introduced seat fees in premium they had to exempt US routes.

    Also it’s an especially vicious move in economy delight, where the whole point is to bundle everything.

  • pigeon says:

    Full FAQ is up. They’ve stripped free seat selection from all SkyTeam elite and elite+. Seems like they aren’t happy with SkyTeam at all.

    “Will SKyTeam Elite Plus and SkyTeam Elite have to pay for seats?

  • H says:

    Do virgin want us to fly with them. Or go elsewhere. Seems best thing to do.
    We all think

  • Barrie says:

    It is a rapid decline for Virgin customers with the airline becoming just like Ryanair, bit of a shame really. They used to be innovators, now they are just another sheep rinsing the customer.

    • Rob says:

      I see it a different way. Virgin wanted to offer ‘more’ to their customers but I suspect it wasn’t appreciated. People would see Virgin as £10 more than BA, even though BA would add £50 for seats and Virgin wouldn’t, and book with BA.

      If Norse Atlantic ever gets popular then BA and Virgin will have little choice but to start unbundling food, baggage etc because Norse can appear above them in OTA search results by adding this in later.

  • Sam says:

    Virgin has also made premium economy seat selection paid. Anything in first ˜4 rows of the cabin is 55 GBP per pax, up until check in. VS gold exempted from this

  • Barrry Graham says:

    Delta Medallion members will most likely continue to get it free too if they at a high enough level.

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