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Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Delta launch joint venture

Feb. 03, 2020
3 min read
Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Delta launch joint venture
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Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Delta Air Lines have officially launched their long-awaited joint venture. The carriers announced on Monday that they had launched their expanded joint venture, with additional benefits set to roll out on Feb. 13

The airlines say that the joint venture will allow passengers to book travel with any of the four carriers through the airline's respective app. Better yet is the opportunity for members of the airlines' respective loyalty programs to earn and redeem miles for travel on any of the four airlines' worldwide route networks as of Feb. 13. In addition, elite members in any of the programs will be able to take advantage of reciprocal lounge access when traveling internationally as well as elite benefits.

Unfortunately, as of Monday's announcement, specific details as to the earning and redemption rates had not yet been made public.

With the joint venture, the four airlines said they will offer a total of 341 daily combined transatlantic flights while carrying approximately 23% of total passenger and cargo capacity on transatlantic routes. In addition, passengers traveling on transatlantic routes will be able to connect on to the domestic networks of the appropriate carriers. For example, flying from Paris to Atlanta with Air France and then connecting on to Delta's U.S. route network and then returning from Seattle to London with Virgin Atlantic.

(Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

For Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic in particular, the joint venture expands the reach within Europe. Additionally, the joint venture is a big improvement for the U.K. regions, as Air France and KLM's route networks in the U.K. are much larger than what Virgin Atlantic offers alone. The tie-up also strengthens the airlines' collective position against British Airways, which has the most robust route network from the U.K.

"Ten years after starting our joint venture with Delta, this new agreement is a major milestone that will even further reinforce our presence on the Atlantic, by allowing our passengers the choice between four major airlines combining their network for the benefit of our customers", Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith said in a statement. "For Air France-KLM, it also means greater access to the U.K. market and especially London Heathrow, the leading global travel market".

In future months, the airlines said they'll continue to expand upon the joint venture by launching more initiatives. Later this year, for example, passengers can expect to see "the launch of more codeshare routes, aligning schedules to reduce connection times and smoothing the airport experience from check-in to baggage claim", according to a press release. Included in that is also the ability to book a multi-carrier journey and check-in and select a seat through any of the airline apps or websites.

Since 2009, Delta had partnered in a joint venture with Air France and KLM. Meanwhile, since 2013, Delta had partnered with Virgin Atlantic. The new joint venture between the four airlines establishes the group as a larger player in the transatlantic market.

Featured image by FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES We wouldn't be everywhere we are today without some connections of our own. We've partnered with a wide range of travel services to offer you a complete and seamless suite of options. - Benoit Hilaire - Air France; Nioka Antoine-Poleon - Virgin Atlantic; Yui Young - Delta Air Lines; Juliette van der Maas - KLM These images are protected by copyright. Delta has acquired permission from the copyright owner to the use the images for specified purposes and in some cases for a limited time. If you have been authorized by Delta to do so, you may use these images to promote Delta, but only as part of Delta-approved marketing and advertising. Further distribution (including providing these images to third parties), reproduction, display, or other use is strictly prohibited.

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3XEarn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
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Why We Chose It

Build your loyalty to Delta by applying for the carrier's mid-tier card option, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card. The annual fee is quickly recouped by the card's travel perks, such as an application credit to Global Entry or TSA Precheck, annual companion certificate and so much more. Plus you can fast-track to elite status simply through card spend.

Pros

  • Earn bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and an Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver when you hit specific spending thresholds with your card within a calendar year
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee (up to $100)
  • First checked bag free

Cons

  • Doesn't make sense if you don't fly Delta
  • SkyMiles aren't the most valuable airline currency
  • Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights. Plus enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding and settle into your seat sooner.
  • New: Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy a per-visit rate of $50 per person for Card Members and up to two guests to enter the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees