Skip to content

Virgin Atlantic to temporarily suspend passenger operations

April 08, 2020
3 min read
Virgin Atlantic to temporarily suspend passenger operations
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Virgin Atlantic will not operate any passenger flights for nearly one week at the end of April. As a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the airline detailed that between April 20-26, it will only operate cargo services.

As reported by RoutesOnline and confirmed to TPG by Virgin Atlantic, the following scheduled services will operate as cargo-only flights:

  • London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK) — April 21-26
  • London Heathrow (LHR) to Hong Kong (HKG) — April 20-26
  • London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX) — April 20-26

Last month, the airline detailed that it would fly just three passenger routes until April 19 — Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. However, while those routes will continue after 19 April, they will carry just cargo, rather than passengers. It's worth noting, however, that New York (JFK) will get an extra day of passenger service on April 20.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news.

(Image courtesy of gcmap.com)
(Image courtesy of gcmap.com)

"Following the rapid acceleration of Covid-19 and extensive travel restrictions, coupled with a sharp drop in customer demand, Virgin Atlantic is continuing to review its flying programme each day and has made the decision to move most of its current scheduled services to cargo-only services from 20 April until 26 April," the airline said in a statement.

For the cargo-only flights between April 20-26, special dispensation from the Civil Aviation Authority will allow Virgin to carry cargo both in the cargo hold of its aircraft, as well as in the cabin. Scenes from inside other flights operating cargo-only flights have shown boxes strapped in to fill the seats where passengers would typically sit.

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

Passengers who were booked to fly on the now cargo-only flights between April 21-26 will be contacted with information about alternative options.

At this point, it remains unclear what operations will look like after April 26.

In addition to continuing its three flights to LAX, JFK and HKG, though with cargo only, Virgin will also operate eight cargo flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Shanghai (PVG) during April. The flights, which are in partnership with the Department of Health and the NHS, will see Virgin transporting medical supplies from China to the U.K.

Virgin Atlantic also said that it's working with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to operate repatriation flights where needed.

The massive reduction in operations for Virgin Atlantic comes as no surprise. Last month, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said that as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the airline would ground 85% of its fleet for parts of April.

Virgin's cargo operation not only saw its first-ever flight as a result of the coronavirus, but it has proved to be an essential core of Virgin's business. As passenger demand has sharply declined, Virgin's cargo business has helped the carrier to continue operations.

Featured image by LightRocket via Getty Images

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
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

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
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.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases