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Virgin Atlantic to resume service, return to the US in July; flyers to get 'Health Packs'

June 04, 2020
4 min read
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)
Virgin Atlantic to resume service, return to the US in July; flyers to get 'Health Packs'
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Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its plans for a return to service. Beginning in late July, Virgin will resume flying from its London Heathrow base five destinations.

Beginning on July 20, the airline will fly from London Heathrow (LHR) to Orlando (MCO) and Hong Kong (HKG). Then, on July 21, Virgin will fly from LHR to Shanghai (PVG), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).

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The airline said in a statement that it will announce additional destinations in the next two weeks for the month of August.

(Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)
(Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)

"As the Covid-19 crisis stabilises and demand slowly returns, we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to their favourite destinations," Virgin Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen said in a statement.

When flights resume, Virgin will operate out of London Heathrow's Terminal 2, a move from its permanent home in Terminal 3, which remains closed at this time. The airline said that when Heathrow demand returns, Terminal 3 will be able to reopen. However, a timeline for that remains unclear.

In addition to announcing the first passenger routes on Thursday, Virgin also unveiled new health and safety measures in place for crew and passengers alike. Like many airlines, Virgin plans to offer advanced cleaning procedures on its aircraft and in the airport.

Additionally, the airline will require that all passengers and crew wear masks when on board its aircraft. Virgin joins a growing list of European airlines that require passengers to wear masks.

For each passenger, the airline is supplying a Health Pack, which will contain a medical-grade face mask, surface wipes and hand gel.

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Related: BA and Virgin join growing list of European airlines asking passengers to wear face masks

The Virgin Atlantic Health Pack. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

When flights first resume, there will be a simplified hot food service to reduce contact between passengers and crew.

"We are carrying out health questionnaires before check in and are calling upon airport and health authorities to put temperature checks in place as part of a multi layered, end-to-end health screen," Virgin Chief Customer Officer Corneel Koster said in a statement.

Last week, the airline said that the U.K.'s mandatory 14-day self-isolation for arriving passengers would force it to delay the resumption of its services until early August. However, with Thursday's announcement that it's returning to service as of the end of July, those plans appear to have changed.

The 14-day quarantine for all arriving travelers into the U.K. takes effect as of June 8. Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed this week that the policy will be revised every three weeks. In future interactions, we could see the introduction of "air bridges", which would rule passengers from some low-risk countries exempt from the quarantine.

Virgin Atlantic has been open about its financial struggle during the coronavirus pandemic. In May, Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson said that the airline would collapse without government support.

Throughout the crisis, it's continued to operate cargo flights to carry necessary medical equipment to and from the U.K. Additionally, it operated some essential repatriation flights, and at one point, it suspended passenger operations altogether.

Related: Left without flyers, airlines are using passenger jets for cargo

The airline said that it plans to continue to operate cargo-only flights in addition to the passenger flights that will resume in late July.

Featured image by Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

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  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Best premium travel card for value
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
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more