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It’s official: London-based carrier Virgin Atlantic has become the latest member to join the SkyTeam global airline alliance.
This will bring a whole host of positive changes for Virgin flyers and frequent flyers of SkyTeam member airlines.
“We want to reward those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic and our Flying Club members deserve the very best loyalty proposition,” Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic said in a statement. “Our SkyTeam membership offers this through a global network of maximized reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
Here’s how flying Virgin and other SkyTeam members will be different from now on.
Virgin Atlantic Joins SkyTeam
The addition of Virgin to the SkyTeam alliance is huge news for both U.S. and U.K. travelers, as routes between the 2 countries are the bulk of Virgin’s route network.
Virgin operates nonstop routes to the U.K. from Austin (AUS), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Tampa (TPA), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
Virgin was a founding partner of a successful joint venture with SkyTeam members Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, so becoming a member itself was a natural progression for the airline.
Passengers heading across the Atlantic from the U.S. on Virgin-operated flights will now be able to purchase one-ticket itineraries through London and Manchester connecting onwards to services operated by Air Europa, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, Middle Eastern Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and XiamenAir.
Perhaps most exciting of all for Virgin frequent flyers is that Virgin Points will be redeemable on flights with most of the aforementioned SkyTeam airlines.
The same can be said for members of those airlines’ frequent flyer programs who will now be able to redeem their equivalent points on Virgin Atlantic flights.
That’s not all: Flying Club elite status holders will receive SkyTeam Elite status, opening up reciprocal benefits with the other SkyTeam member airlines — and vice versa.
Virgin Silver members now automatically have SkyTeam Elite benefits, which include:
- Priority reservation waitlist
- Preferred seating
- Priority check-in counters
- Priority or “at leisure” boarding
- Extra baggage allowance
Virgin Gold members will benefit from the full array of SkyTeam alliance perks. They’ll receive automatic Elite Plus benefits, which include:
- Guaranteed full-fare economy class (Y class) bookings on sold-out long-haul flights at least 24 hours before departure
- Worldwide access to lounges for the traveler and a guest, no matter the class of travel
- Priority baggage
- Extra baggage allowance
This development is most exciting for Virgin frequent flyers with Silver or Gold status who, until March 2, 2023, only had some of the benefits of their status reciprocated with Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Delta SkyMiles.
For those travelers who already have SkyTeam status through another carrier, they’ll also benefit from the benefits of Virgin’s Flying Club.
However, only SkyTeam Elite Plus members with Virgin, Delta, and Aeromexico tickets will have access to Virgin’s Clubhouse when departing Heathrow’s Terminal 3. Additionally, as per existing agreements, Delta Gold Medallions will not have access to the Heathrow Clubhouse, unless traveling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class or Delta One.
With any huge change such as this, travelers may encounter some slight turbulence when trying to use their newfound status while airlines update their systems.
The SkyTeam alliance just gained added a shiny new jewel to its already dazzling crown.
Virgin Atlantic is the first and only U.K. airline to be part of the SkyTeam alliance.
Virgin Atlantic and SkyTeam frequent flyers now have lots of new and exciting benefits to enjoy such as reciprocal status benefits and more opportunities to earn and spend miles.
Featured Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic
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