Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Air France–KLM One Step Closer to an Expanded Joint Venture

Mar 4, 2019

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Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Air France–KLM are one step closer to an expanded joint venture. Considering the parties involved, applying the term déjà vu here feels especially apt. Some 10 months ago, the four airlines pushed out details that affirmed their continued intentions to strengthen bonds. This week, they’re doing it all over again while giving us a date stamp to hold onto.

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM have today announced their first codeshare agreement, which creates new transatlantic travel options to and from North America, and provides more opportunities to earn frequent flyer miles.

While talks of an expanded joint venture have been ongoing for years, we’re now learning that it is set for completion by the end of 2019, subject to final clearance from regulators. Once those hurdles are cleared, the airlines will be founding members of a $13 billion trans-Atlantic partnership for customers between the UK, Europe and North America, offering more than 300 daily trans-Atlantic flights, 108 non-stop routes, and over 340 destinations.

Even Delta's frequent fliers can enjoy Air France's new A330 biz class seats while earning SkyMiles (Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy)
Even Delta’s frequent fliers can enjoy Air France’s new A330 biz class seats while earning SkyMiles (Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy)

What’s this mean for you? It makes it easier for passengers to book a single string of flights across any of these carriers to get from their origin to their destination, with the confidence that the airlines will work together to solve any misconnects and that frequent flier miles will be seamlessly earned and deposited to their program of choice.

One the expanded joint venture transaction closes, we’re also told that flyers will also “benefit from the co-location of facilities at key hub airports to improve connectivity and access to each carrier’s airport lounges for premium passengers.”

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York-JFK
Once the deal closes, it’ll be easier for Delta flyers to get a haircut at the Virgin Clubhouse (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Delta is giving customers from these codeshare partners more options than ever. Virgin customers traveling between the United Kingdom and the US now have the choice to connect onto all of Delta’s flights over Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG). Meanwhile Air France and KLM customers have additional options to fly either nonstop or via the UK on all Delta services to the US.

Virgin Atlantic customers can now book additional flights at virginatlantic.com, opening up 58 new routes from 18 UK airports across the Atlantic with Air France and KLM. Examples of new route options from the UK include Edinburgh (EDI) – Toronto (YYZ) via Amsterdam (AMS), and London Heathrow (LHR) – Chicago (ORD) via Paris (CDG).

air-france-klm-virgin-atlantic-delta-blue-skies-crew-partnership
The Blue Skies crew (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Air France and KLM customers can now access 24 new routes to North America on flights operated by Virgin Atlantic and Delta departing the UK including connections via London Heathrow (LHR) or Manchester (MAN). This includes added frequencies to destinations such as Miami (MIA) from Amsterdam (AMS) via London Heathrow (LHR) alongside increased options to fly between Paris (CDG) and New York (JFK) via Manchester (MAN).

If you’re a frequent flier with any of these airlines, this is all very good news. It means that you’ll see more connection options, saner layovers and increased lounge availability when flying on any of them, all while earning miles and elite status qualifiers on your airline of choice.

Featured image of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at New York-JFK by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

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