The state of Texas is set to welcome Virgin Atlantic for the first time.
On May 25, 2022, the U.K. carrier will operate its inaugural flight from its hub at London Heathrow (LHR) to the Texas state capital of Austin (AUS).
Virgin Atlantic has big plans for the year, and its new route to Austin is a major part of that.
“We will have a boom year in 2022,” said Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic. “By autumn 2022, capacity will be back to 2019 [levels] from Heathrow.”
Let’s review what we know so far.
Virgin Atlantic Launches Austin to London Heathrow
Austin will be Virgin Atlantic’s 11th U.S. destination.
The new route will see 4 weekly round-trips on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
The schedule is planned as follows:
- Depart London Heathrow 11:35 a.m. — Arrive Austin 4:05 p.m.
- Depart Austin 6:05 p.m. — Arrive London Heathrow 9:00 a.m. (+1)
The flight will be operated by one of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners — one of the most modern in its fleet.
Passengers will be able to choose to travel in economy, Premium, or Upper Class — Virgin Atlantic’s business class.
Virgin Atlantic vs. British Airways
Virgin Atlantic will be going in direct competition with U.K. rival British Airways — the only other airline that operates the route. Currently, BA flies between Austin and the U.K. 5 times per week. As per the summer schedule introduction in March, this will bump to a once-daily service.
As it stands, a Google Flights check of May and June 2022 dates shows that Virgin Atlantic’s lowest round-trip economy fares are over 5 times more than the cost of the British Airways equivalent.
This is unusual as more often than not, the U.K.’s 2 largest long-haul carriers’ prices are very similar, especially on transatlantic routes like from London to Austin.
Thanks to Virgin Atlantic and Delta’s joint venture, Virgin Atlantic can maximize transit passengers by flying to Delta hubs in the U.S. This makes Austin is an interesting addition to Virgin Atlantic’s route network, as most of the airport’s flights are operated by American Airlines, a Oneworld Alliance member and close partner of British Airways.
Virgin Atlantic’s new route is certainly an exciting one for those living in Austin and Texas.
It’s the first time the U.K. airline will operate a flight to the state, straying from the East and West Coasts where the rest of its routes are focused.
Will there be enough demand for both BA and Virgin Atlantic to operate the route successfully? Let’s hope so.
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