Virgin Atlantic Overview

Virgin Atlantic is an airline based in London and with the largest shareholder being Delta Airlines. Virgin plans to revamp their loyalty and points program in 2019 to integrate more with other Virgin brands but may result in some changes or devaluations. 

Good Things About Virgin Atlantic

Good Awards on Three Partners– Virgin Atlantic has a very good award chart for ANA, Air New Zealand, and one route on South African Airlines. In 2017, American Express offered a transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic, which allowed people to book ANA first class 93,000 points round trip.

Bars in Business Class- Bars in business class are usually only on A380 airplanes, where there is a lot more space than a typical wide-body jet. Virgin Atlantic has bars on all long-haul aircraft, which has its advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that the bars typically lack a partition between the bar and the cabins. This results in noise from the bar traveling throughout the cabin. Therefore, it is best to select a seat as far away from the bar as possible. Some advantages are that you get to mingle with other business class passengers and you have a place to stretch your legs while enjoying a nice drink.

Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow- The Virgin Clubhouse in London is one of the nicest business class lounges. There is a free full-service sit-down restaurant, a spa, and shower rooms. 

Bad Things About Virgin Atlantic

Fuel Surcharges– Virgin Atlantic has pretty high fuel surcharges on their own awards. You should expect to pay $1,200 in fees and taxes flying in business class to the U.K. from the United States.

Herringbone Seats- The current golden standard in business class seats is reverse herringbone seats (example), which allows for privacy and is more spacious. Virgin Atlantic has regular herringbone seats, where you sit facing the aisle (example). This seat allows Virgin to squeeze in more business class seats, but there is (1) less privacy, (2) less storage, (3) less space to stretch out, (4) your feet may get bumped as passengers walk down the aisles, and (5) when dining, you are unable to leave your seat. 

  • Exception:Virgin has four A330-200s that they acquired from now-defunct Air Berlin, which has reverse herringbone seats. (Planes G-VLNM, G-VMNK, G-VMIK and G-VWND). 
  • 2019 Changes– Starting in September 2019, Virgin will take delivery of the Airbus A350-1000, which will have an updated 1-2-1 business class.

Virgin Atlantic Information

Ownership: Delta (49%), Air France/KLM (31%), and Virgin Group (20%). (Delta also owns 10% of Air France/KLM, so Delta effectively controls Virgin Atlantic.)

U.S. Routes to London (LHR or LGW): Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami,  New York (JFK and EWR), Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. (IAD).

U.S. Routes to Manchester: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), and Orlando.

Other Routes: Orlando to Belfast (Ireland) and Orlando to Glasgow.

Routes: Route Map

Fleet: Aircraft Fleet, Deliveries, and Average Age

Seat Maps by Plane: SeatGuru

Elite Status Match: If you hold elite status with another airline, you can email proof of this status to with your Virgin account number. They also may want to see that you plan to fly or have flown Virgin Atlantic recently. 

Award Hold: You can ask Virgin Atlantic to put an award on hold for 48 hours.

U.S. Call Center– 1-800-365-9500. This call center will have information on partner awards.

Points Expiration: 36 months from the last activity in the account. 

Flight Reviews

Lounge Reviews- London-Heathrow (Review #1; Review #2; Review #3; Review #4); LAX (Review #1); SFO (Review #1); EWR (Review #1); JFK (Review #1)

More Information: Wikipedia Page