Last week I mentioned that Virgin had been giving more details of their new onboard food service. Today they have given further details as well as announcing some new routes to be resumed. Hopefully, BA is watching and will improve their Club World and First offerings which are not great currently. If Virgin are able to present a proper meal on plates with real glassware, why are BA still offering Club World a sandwich and plastic glasses? Since we are all in the same country, BA can’t use government guidelines as an excuse.
Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be adding five additional services from 1st September onwards. As countries around the world start to relax travel restrictions, Virgin Atlantic will resume flying from London Heathrow to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Mumbai and Lagos throughout September, with additional routes being added throughout 2020 followed by a further, gradual recovery through 2021 in line with customer demand.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: “We’re continually reviewing our network and as countries begin to open up their borders, we’re introducing more and more flying.
“We’re incredibly excited to resume services to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Mumbai and Lagos this September as well as increasing the frequency to other destinations. We’re now offering daily flights to New York JFK and Los Angeles and twice weekly flights to Shanghai. We’ll also be restarting flights to further destinations from October onwards, including new services to Pakistan from both London Heathrow and Manchester.
“We can’t wait to welcome our customers back onboard and flying them safely to their destinations – whilst our services may temporarily be little different and our crew will be wearing masks, they will be smiling behind them and working incredibly hard to deliver the experience we know our customers love. Initial feedback from our customers on our restart services has been overwhelmingly positive, flying safe and well, returning to the skies with confidence”.
Virgin Atlantic flying schedule departing from London Heathrow Terminal 2 (subject to change)
|Route||Date launched||September frequency|
|Hong Kong||20th July||Three per week|
|New York JFK||21st July||Daily|
|Los Angeles||21st July||Daily|
|Barbados||1st August||Once per week|
|Shanghai||4th August||Twice weekly|
|Miami||18th August||Three times a week|
|Delhi||1st September||Three times a week|
|Tel Aviv||6th September||Three times a week|
|Lagos||10th September||Four times a week|
|Atlanta||15th September||Three times a week|
|Mumbai||16th September||Four times a week|
Virgin Atlantic operates temporarily from Terminal 2 at Heathrow, due to HAL’s terminal consolidation. Virgin Atlantic will return to its home at London Heathrow Terminal 3 when demand at Heathrow grows, enabling Terminal 3 to reopen. I have had heard rumours that it may reopen shortly but with fewer and fewer destinations being available on the UK government travel corridors, I find it hard to believe.
Delta Air Lines also plans to increase flying from September onwards. This includes adding a service between London Heathrow and Boston five times a week complementing existing services from Heathrow to both Atlanta and New York-JFK.
Onboard food and drinks
Virgin Atlantic is also expanding its onboard offering to increase its food and beverages service onboard for customers whilst continuing to ensure the services are designed to limit interaction, and the food is enclosed and controlled from preparation in a Covid-safe, monitored environment to the moment it is served. From 1st September, customers will now be able to enjoy the following:
- A hot food service in all cabins with Economy and Premium Economy customers enjoying a “Fly safe, eat well” meal box, which incorporates a choice of three hot meals, cheese and biscuits and a dessert pot. Upper Class customers will receive a choice of three hot meals, dessert, cheese plate & crackers and a ciabatta roll, all delivered to their seat on a tray.
- An expanded alcohol service to include champagne, miniature liquors and mixers as well as beer and wine in Upper Class and a choice of beer, wine and miniature liquors & mixers in Economy and Premium. Judging by the pictures of afternoon tea, it appears that unlike BA, they are back to using proper glasses in business class.
- A second meal service which, on day flights from the UK, includes the delicious Mile High Tea in collaboration with celebrity pâtissier Eric Lanlard in all cabins. In Upper Class, this is accompanied by a glass of chilled champagne. On night flights, the second service will feature a choice of hot breakfast entrees, accompanied by a seasonal fresh fruit selection and sweet pastry, and in Premium and Economy a breakfast box with yoghurt and fruit, served alongside a warm pastry. The second service is served with a hot beverage of PG Tips tea or Change Please coffee.
- In Upper Class, we are reintroducing a selection of sweet and savoury snacks to enjoy throughout the flight, from Corkers crisps to Olly’s olives, Sweet & Salty cloud corn to Sour watermelon candy, Walkers biscuits and much more. For anyone who’s peckish in Premium we’ll see the return of the much-loved Wander Wall offering a range of delicious snacks. In Economy, customers can enjoy an extra snack as part of the upgraded meal box.
- A choice of new delicious special meals, including lacto-ovo vegetarian and kosher from 1st September and vegan, halal, low lactose, gluten friendly -amongst others- from 1st October.