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Virgin Atlantic is launching a new route to America going head to head with British Airways

Jan. 08, 2022
3 min read
Virgin Atlantic is launching a new route to America going head to head with British Airways
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Virgin Atlantic is beginning to load seats on a new route with service to Austin, Texas, from London, England, beginning in late May of this year.

The route will operate four times weekly with service from London Heathrow (LHR) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

The flight will operate Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and is expected to begin on May 25. The flights will be operated by a 787-9 Dreamliner. TPG reached out to Virgin Atlantic for details but didn't hear back by press time. A check of Cirium showed the flights are not loaded yet.

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The news was first reported by One Mile at a Time.

You might want to wait to book it since Google Flights is pricing the itinerary at $5,317 right now ... in coach.

(Screenshot courtesy Google Flights)

If you want to book Upper Class you can do it via Google or on Virgin Atlantic's website, too, though that itinerary will cost you more than $16,000!

Virgin Atlantic flights AUS to LHR. (Screenshot courtesy Virgin Atlantic)

Once prices come down, it might be a chance to give this airline a chance, especially if it becomes bookable with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.

Right now, Virgin Atlantic is giving status matches to Gold or Silver status, depending on the elite status you have now. You'll need to open a Flying Club membership if you don't already have one, and then, submit a request at this special landing page.

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Related: The ultimate Virgin Atlantic Flying Club guide

It's an interesting route for Virgin Atlantic. Competitor British Airways also flies the route (originally launched in 2014) and announced it will begin daily service come summertime.

Related: British Airways Club World business class to Austin flight review

Virgin Atlantic is a major partner of Delta Air Lines. In fact, Delta owns 49% of Virgin.

"It certainly makes sense for Delta and Virgin to offer this route in theory since Austin is a focus city for Delta and adding the Austin-London flight will help delta be a stronger competitor to American which also has a focus city in Austin," said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research, in an interview with TPG.

Harteveldt continued, "But it's going to take a lot of work for Delta and Virgin to make the route successful. You only have one other non-stop, but the challenge ... is this route is going to be heavily dependent on business travel and given the uncertainty it's unclear how many business people will be traveling."

He was also a bit worried about the competitive landscape for Virgin and Delta in Texas.

"One thing that BA and AA have going for them is that I suspect American has a much larger base of AAdvantage members in the Austin area compared to Delta's base of SkyMiles members," Harteveldt said. He also mentioned that BA has a hub at London Heathrow ... "allowing it to provide connections throughout the U.K., Europe and elsewhere. Virgin Atlantic doesn't enjoy that benefit."

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023