Virgin Atlantic is amping up its partnership with transatlantic joint venture partners Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM, by joining the SkyTeam aviation alliance.
The UK airline will join as SkyTeam’s newest member in early 2023, enhancing the alliance’s network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester Airport. Virgin Atlantic will introduce a network of 27 destinations across the US, UK, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Israel to the alliance.
SkyTeam airlines currently include Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle Eastern Airlines, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air.
Virgin Atlantic customers will benefit from a consistent, seamless customer experience, across 1,000+ global destinations. They’ll also have more opportunities to earn and redeem points across member airlines and access to a network of 750+ airport lounges, spanning six continents.
Under the partnerships, Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders will be recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members will become Elite Plus. This recognition provides a raft of benefits, including priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding. Flying Club members will be able to take advantage of the benefits as soon as Virgin Atlantic officially enrols in SkyTeam, which is expected in early 2023.
Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, are already long-established SkyTeam members. The four partners are co-located at London Heathrow’s Terminal Three, alongside existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connections times possible.
Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, said “2022 marks the year Virgin Atlantic gets back to its best for our customers and people and joining SkyTeam is an important milestone.
“Our membership will allow us to enhance established relationships with our valued partners at Delta and Air France-KLM, as well as opening up opportunities to collaborate with new airlines. It will enable a seamless customer experience, with an expanded network and maximised loyalty benefits.”
Walter Cho, SkyTeam Chairman remarked “Virgin Atlantic is synonymous with innovation and excellent service, an iconic British airline with a global outlook that puts customers at the heart of its operations – like SkyTeam and its members – and we are delighted to welcome them into our alliance.”
Codeshare agreements are already in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines with options for more codeshares to follow. Interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.
Virgin Atlantic flies to 12 destinations throughout the USA in partnership with Delta and Air France-KLM including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. In May the airline launched a brand-new service to Austin, Texas and will start daily flights to Tampa, Florida from November. Virgin Atlantic also operates an extensive Caribbean portfolio including Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, and The Bahamas. Virgin Atlantic also operates services to Greater China, India, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa.
Interestingly, Virgin Atlantic has informed its customers that it will not have any SkyTeam branded aircraft.
“You won’t see a difference in the look of our aircraft or your experience onboard,” VS said.