Huge information: Virgin Atlantic is becoming a member of SkyTeam alliance

Your Virgin Factors are about to turn into extra priceless.

Introduced at a press convention in London this morning, Virgin Atlantic will be a part of the SkyTeam alliance in early 2023, changing into the one U.Okay.-based airline member and the primary new SkyTeam member in eight years. The alliance is at the moment dwelling to present Virgin Atlantic companions Delta, Air France and KLM.

In line with SkyTeam CEO, Kristin Colvile, it’s hoped that Virgin Atlantic will formally turn into a SkyTeam member in January 2023, although each the alliance and Virgin Atlantic have been cautious to not decide to a selected stay date. “We have been taking pictures for the top of January. We simply don’t need to overcommit at this level.” Colvile stated. “We’ve got been working collectively on this for some, it should most likely be the start of 2023.”

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Associated: The final word Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership information

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

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

As well as, Flying Membership Silver members will reciprocally be acknowledged as SkyTeam Elite members, while Flying Membership Gold members will turn into Elite Plus from day considered one of Virgin’s SkyTeam membership.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“2022 marks the 12 months Virgin Atlantic will get again to its finest for our clients and folks and becoming a member of SkyTeam is a vital milestone. Our membership will enable us to boost established relationships with our valued companions at Delta and Air France-KLM, in addition to opening up alternatives to collaborate with new airways. It can allow a seamless buyer expertise, with an expanded community and maximized loyalty advantages.”

Weiss teased potential new Virgin Atlantic routes to launch subsequent 12 months in relation to the brand new alliance membership. Whereas particulars are nonetheless underneath wraps it may make sense for the airline to fly to the hubs of SkyTeam members, together with Korean Airline’s Seoul (ICN), Vietnam Airways’s Hanoi (HAN), Aeromexico’s Mexico Metropolis (MEX), and China Airline’s Taipei (TPE). It’s but unknown 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 at the moment SkyTeam companions?

SkyTeam is likely one of the ‘large three’ international airline alliances. The Oneworld alliance boasts British Airways, Qatar Airways and American Airways as members whereas the Star Alliance community has a whopping 26 members together with Singapore Airways, Lufthansa, United and extra.

Present SkyTeam airways are:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • China Airways
  • China Japanese Airways
  • Czech Airways
  • Delta Air Strains
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • ITA Airways
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Center East Airways
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airways
  • XiamenAir

Associated: Your full information to SkyTeam alliance advantages

May becoming a member of SkyTeam have an effect on Clubhouse lounge entry?

The brand new alliance membership creates a possible conundrum for Virgin’s Clubhouse lounges. Thought of a few of the finest enterprise class lounges on this planet (particularly their Clubhouse at Heathrow Terminal 3), they might instantly turn into much more crowded as different SkyTeam elite members acquire entry from early 2023, although Weiss pressured that the airline can be taking steps to make sure the “buyer expertise doesn’t deteriorate.” The Virgin boss additionally stated that the airline hoped to develop the scale of its Heathrow Clubhouse, if the celebrities align, in 2023.

Previous to the pandemic, most SkyTeam members operated from Terminal 4 earlier than a spread of terminals swaps over the past two years noticed members break up throughout Terminals 2, 3 and 4. Solely these passengers departing from Terminal 3 will be capable to entry the Clubhouse which ought to assist with overcrowding points.

Will Virgin Atlantic relaunch its Gatwick companies with expanded routes?

Don’t guess on it occurring anytime quickly. Whereas Virgin Atlantic teased the arrival of a number of new routes in 2023 CEO Weiss was additionally clear that whereas the airline would retain takeoff and touchdown slots at London’s Gatwick Aiport (LGW), Virgin Atlantic at the moment has no plans to return to the London hub. Weiss did nevertheless reward LGW for the way it has weathered the journey chaos of latest months saying the choice was “not an issue with Gatwick Airport and the best way it operates.” Previous to the pandemic, Gatwick had served as a second base for the airline, working to leisure locations primarily within the Caribbean. Virgin consolidated all London operations at Heathrow in the course of the pandemic.

Extra reporting by Jordan Waller.

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