Massive information: Virgin Atlantic joins the SkyTeam alliance

Your Virgin Factors are about to extend in worth.

Introduced at a press convention in London this morning, Virgin Atlantic will be part of the SkyTeam alliance in early 2023, turning into the one UK-based member airline and the primary new SkyTeam member in eight years. The alliance presently homes present companions of Virgin Atlantic Delta, Air France and KLM.

In response to SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile, it’s hoped Virgin Atlantic will formally develop into a member of SkyTeam in January 2023, though the alliance and Virgin Atlantic have been cautious to not decide to a selected air date. “We have been taking pictures for the tip of January. We simply do not wish to over-commit at this level. mentioned Colville. “We have been engaged on that collectively for some, it’s going to in all probability be early 2023.”

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Associated: The Final Information to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership

Since Flying Membership members can already earn and redeem Virgin Factors on many SkyTeam members, why is that this announcement nice information? As a result of as soon as Virgin joins SkyTeam, Flying Membership members may have the chance to earn and redeem their Virgin Factors on a number of latest airways, together with Korean Air, AeroMexico, Vietnam Airways, Air Europa and extra. others amongst its 18 members. Whereas Virgin’s route community is comparatively small, SkyTeam airways fly to greater than 1,000 locations worldwide, with the partnership opening up a number of latest airways, routes and locations for Flying Membership members.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership Silver and Gold members touring on SkyTeam airways will obtain a spread of Elite and Elite Plus member advantages delivered below the SkyPriority model, together with extra checked baggage, precedence check-in and boarding and entry to lounge.

As well as, Silver members of the Flying Membership will probably be reciprocally acknowledged as SkyTeam Elite members, whereas Gold Aeroclub members will develop into Elite Plus on day one among Virgin SkyTeam membership.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“2022 marks the yr that Virgin Atlantic returns to its finest for our clients and workers and becoming a member of SkyTeam is a vital milestone. Our membership will permit us to reinforce the relationships established with our valued companions at Delta and Air France-KLM, as nicely than opening alternatives to collaborate with new airways. This may allow a seamless buyer expertise, with an prolonged community and maximized loyalty advantages.”

Weiss teased potential new Virgin Atlantic routes to launch subsequent yr in relation to the brand new alliance membership. Though particulars should not but recognized, it would make sense for the airline to fly to SkyTeam member hubs together with Korean Airline’s Seoul (ICN), Vietnam Airways’ Hanoi (HAN), Mexico Metropolis (MEX) from ‘Aeromexico and Taipei (TPE) from China Airline. ). It’s not but clear how the brand new alliance membership may have an effect on Virgin’s relationship with Star Alliance members Singapore Airways and ANA.

Which airways are presently SkyTeam companions?

SkyTeam is without doubt one of the “Massive Three” world airline alliances. The Oneworld alliance counts British Airways, Qatar Airways and American Airways amongst its members, whereas the Star Alliance community has 26 members, together with Singapore Airways, Lufthansa, United and plenty of others.

The present SkyTeam airways are:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europe
  • Air France
  • Chinese language airways
  • China Jap Airways
  • Czech airways
  • Delta Airways
  • garuda indonesia
  • ITA Airways
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • korean air
  • Center Jap Airways
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnamese airways
  • XiamenAir

Associated: Your Full Information to SkyTeam Alliance Advantages

Can SkyTeam membership have an effect on entry to the Clubhouse Lounge?

The brand new alliance membership creates a possible conundrum for Virgin’s Clubhouse lounges. Thought of probably the greatest enterprise class lounges on this planet (particularly their Clubhouse at Heathrow Terminal 3), they may abruptly develop into far more crowded as extra elite SkyTeam members entry them from early 2023, though Weiss harassed that the airline will take steps to make sure that “buyer expertise doesn’t deteriorate”. The Virgin boss additionally mentioned the airline hoped to broaden the dimensions of its Heathrow clubhouse, if the celebrities align, in 2023.

Earlier than the pandemic, most SkyTeam members operated from Terminal 4 earlier than a collection of terminal swaps over the previous two years noticed members cut up between Terminals 2, 3 and 4. Passengers solely departing from terminal 3 will be capable of entry the Clubhouse which ought to assist clear up the issues of overcrowding.

Will Virgin Atlantic relaunch its Gatwick providers with expanded routes?

Do not guess it is going to occur anytime quickly. Whereas Virgin Atlantic teased the arrival of a number of new routes in 2023, CEO Weiss additionally clarified that whereas the airline will retain take-off and touchdown slots at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW), Virgin Atlantic presently has no plans to return to the London hub. Weiss, nonetheless, praised LGW for the way in which it weathered the journey chaos of current months, saying the choice was “not an issue with Gatwick airport and the way in which it operates”. Earlier than the pandemic, Gatwick had served as a second base for the airline, working to leisure locations primarily within the Caribbean. Virgin has consolidated all operations from London to Heathrow in the course of the pandemic.

Further reporting by Jordan Waller.