Virgin Atlantic joins transAtlantic aviation pact

British carrier to align operations with Air France, KLM and Delta on North America/Europe routes

Virgin Atlantic will shorty become the fourth partner in an aviation partnership between Air France, KLM and Delta Air Lines that is about to kick into gear, opening up more destinations and ways for customers to earn and spend frequent flyer points.

The new venture provides customers with more convenient flight schedules and a shared goal of ensuring a smooth and consistent travel experience, whichever airline people fly. The partnership also provides the flexibility to book flights on any of the four carriers through their respective mobile apps, websites, or via travel agents. Customers will enjoy award-winning service, top-tier premium cabin products and complimentary food, drink and seat-back in-flight entertainment in all cabins on all trans-Atlantic flights.

Enhanced customer benefits starting from 13 February mean that loyalty program members will be able to earn and use miles or enjoy elite benefits for flights on any of the four airlines’ worldwide operations, including a trans-Atlantic trip, intra-Europe hops, or domestic US journey, offering more opportunities to quickly move through loyalty tiers and reach a higher status. Eligible Elite loyalty programme members can also enjoy priority boarding and relax in over 100 airport lounges when travelling internationally.

Other highlights include:

  • Up to 341 peak daily trans-Atlantic services, covering the top 10 routes on a nonstop basis
  • Onward connections to 238 cities in North America, 98 in continental Europe and 16 in the UK
  • A choice of 110 nonstop trans-Atlantic routes

The customer benefits effective this month are just the start with more initiatives being rolled out later this year such as the launch of more codeshare routes, aligning schedules to reduce connection times and smoothing the airport experience from check-in to baggage claim. Customers will also soon be able to check in and select their seat through any of the partner airline mobile apps or websites.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian commented: “Our expanded partnership is a major step forward for all of our airlines as we deliver greater reliability, top travel benefits and leading service that our customers deserve. Today’s launch brings our historic, longstanding collaboration to a new level as we continue to build the partnership of choice across Europe and North America that sets us apart from the rest of the industry.”

“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,” said Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith. “For Air France–KLM, it also means greater access to the U.K. market and especially London Heathrow, the leading global travel market.”

Air France, KLM and Delta have been in a joint venture partnership between Europe and North America since 2009, while Virgin Atlantic and Delta have had a partnership between the UK and North America since 2013.

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