Virgin Atlantic Adds More A350 Flights, Book Them With Points and Miles
If you're hoping to score a seat on Virgin Atlantic's swanky new Airbus A350-1000, you're in luck. Virgin Atlantic just added a few more round-trip frequencies operated with the airline's brand new Airbus widebody. While Virgin's A350 enters into service on September 10, additional A350 flights will be added between London and New York City on September 24.
Virgin Atlantic will soon offer up to two daily round-trip flights between the airline's hub at London-Heathrow (LHR) and New York City (JFK). Here's an overview of the first A350 flights, what to expect on Virgin's new A350, and how to book with points and miles.
Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350-1000
Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350-1000 is intended to replace the Boeing 747-400 and the Airbus A340-600. It's the largest A350 variant, offering 355 seats in a 3-cabin configuration. Like all Virgin Atlantic aircraft, the A350 will feature Upper Class, premium economy and standard economy.
The Airbus A350 will feature Virgin Atlantic's new business class product known as Upper Class Suites. While the new product is branded as suites, the new Upper Class Suites won't actually feature a sliding partition offering complete privacy. Instead, a retractable partition will provide partial privacy in keeping with Virgin Atlantic's social atmosphere onboard the airline's flights.
The new Upper Class Suites face toward the window as opposed to older versions of the product which faced away from the windows. Each Upper Class Suite will feature a bespoke-designed fully-lie flat seat, an 18.5-inch entertainment system featuring mobile device connectivity, and added in-seat storage.
Both premium economy and economy class will also feature updated products, though, will closely resemble Virgin Atlantic's current product. Finally, Virgin Atlantic is ditching the onboard Upper Class bar in favor of an Upper Class lounge in which premium passengers can enjoy drinks while chatting with fellow travelers.
Virgin Atlantic's First A350 Flights
Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350-1000 enters into regularly scheduled service on September 10. The A350s will fly exclusively between London-Heathrow (LHR) and New York-Kennedy (JFK) for the time being. Beginning September 10, one daily nonstop flights will be operated with the Airbus A350 with up to two daily nonstops from September 24 on. Here's a look at what Virgin Atlantic flights are currently scheduled with the airline's A350s:
|Flight Number||Route||Departure/Arrival Times||Airbus A350 Service Begins (Ends)|
|VS153*||London (LHR) to New York (JFK)||1:30 p.m. / 4:25 p.m.||September 10 (September 24)|
|VS138*||New York (JFK) to London (LHR)||7 p.m. / 7:20 AM+1||September 10|
|VS45**||London (LHR) to New York (JFK)||2:30 p.m. / 5:25 p.m.||September 24|
|VS154||New York (JFK) to London (LHR)||8:30 p.m. / 8:45 AM+1||September 24|
|VS137||London (LHR) to New York (JFK)||11:50 a.m. / 2:50 p.m.||September 25|
- * Virgin Atlantic VS153 and VS138 will be operated with an Airbus A330 on Thursdays.
- ** Virgin Atlantic VS45 will be operated with an Airbus A340 on Thursdays.
How to Book a Flight on Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350 Using Points & Miles
There a few ways to book flights operated by Virgin Atlantic with points or miles. Though Virgin Atlantic isn't a member of a major airline alliance, the airline is partners with Delta Air Lines. You can also use ANA Mileage Club miles to book flights operated by Virgin Atlantic. Here's how to book a flight on Virgin Atlantic's swanky new Airbus A350-1000 using points or miles.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Booking a seat aboard one of Virgin Atlantic's A350 flights with Flying Club miles is pretty straightforward. Virgin Atlantic allows travelers to calculate how many miles they'll need before booking or even logging into their account.
Flying Club mileage redemptions can be booked online or over the phone. Of course, make sure to account for fuel surcharges and carrier-imposed fees when determining how many miles you'll need to book a seat. Here are typical Flying Club redemption rates between New York (JFK) and London (LHR):
- Upper Class: 47,500 miles (+$624 taxes/fees) one-way
- Premium Economy: 17,500 miles (+$249 taxes/fees) one-way
- Economy Class: 10,000 miles (+$90 taxes/fees) one-way
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
SkyMiles are often the preferred option for Virgin Atlantic award travel for US-based flyers. Though SkyMiles have lost a lot of their value over the past few years, travelers can still find some reasonable business class redemptions, especially during off-peak travel. Virgin Atlantic award redemptions can be booked with SkyMiles directly on Delta's website.
Again, you'll be forced to pay any fuel surcharges and carrier-imposed fees when booking Virgin Atlantic award flights with SkyMiles. Here are typical award redemption rates when redeeming SkyMiles for travel on Virgin Atlantic from New York (JFK) to London (LHR):
- Upper Class: From 86,000 miles (+$5.60 taxes/fees) one-way
- Premium: From 55,000 miles (+$5.60 taxes/fees) one-way
- Economy Class: From 25,000 miles (+$5.60 taxes/fees) one-way
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
A little-known option, you can actually redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for flights operated by Virgin Atlantic. Award redemption rates aren't especially great and ANA forces members to book round-trip tickets when booking award travel on Virgin Atlantic. Still, it's another option to consider.
To book a Virgin Atlantic award flight using ANA Mileage Club miles, you'll need to check availability via Delta.com. Once you find a flight, note that flight number and call ANA customer service to book your desired flight.
You can view required mileage for Virgin Atlantic flights via this link to ANA's latest partner award redemption chart.
Surprisingly, you can still get a seat on the inaugural Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 flight. Unfortunately, award space for the first-ever Virgin Atlantic A350 flight is no longer available. However, with up to two daily round-trip flights between London and NYC beginning September 24 operated with Virgin Atlantic's new Airbus A350s, there's plenty of award space this fall — even in Upper Class.
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