NEWS: Virgin suspend Shanghai flights, American to launch business class suites?, Virgin Voyages announces celebrity DJs & special Virgin flight rates

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Virgin suspend Shanghai flights

Following on from our article about various airlines Coronavirus policies, yesterday Virgin announced they would follow BritishxAirways in suspending flights to Shanghai. A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:

“The safety and security of our customers and staff is always our number one priority.

“After careful consideration of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak within China, Virgin Atlantic has decided to suspend daily operations to Shanghai following the VS250 on Sunday 2nd February for a period of 14 days. This decision is based on our close monitoring of the ongoing situation, coupled with a declining demand to fly, and we will continue to evaluate this over the coming days and weeks.

“The last return flight to the UK will be flight VS251, arriving at Heathrow Airport on Monday 3rd February.

“We apologise to our customers who were due to travel to China for any inconvenience this will cause. A policy is in place for customers who are booked to travel to China and Hong Kong, to reschedule or receive a refund. They should contact our customer care team via our SMS messaging system +44 (0) 7481 339184.

“Flights to Hong Kong continue to operate as scheduled.”

 

American to launch business class suites?

American Airlines currently have a great business class product in terms of the seats, although the service is somewhat questionable! I do find them consistent though – they are consistently unfriendly and brusque, but at least efficient if you want to eat quickly!

At the moment AA have a 1-2-1 layout on the B777s they use from Heathrow. If you don’t care too much about service I often recommend AA for the seats rather than BA on transatlantic routes. With BA introducing their fantastic new Club Suites, it has shifted the goal post on the transatlantic routes – which are often some of the most profitable for airlines.

BA’s new Club Suite

It appears that American are looking at new business class seats from 2023 when they have their new B787-9s delivered. They currently have seats which are known as “Super Diamond” which is what BA’s Club Suite is based on albeit a customised version with a door. It seems likely that American may try to keep with rivals such as Delta’s One suite and tweak the existing seat by adding a door. They are also adding a privacy divider between the middle seats in B787-8s being delivered this year onwards. This was a massive fail on AA’s part as nobody wants to sleep next to a stranger without a privacy divider in the middle seats.

 

Virgin Voyages announces celebrity DJs & special Virgin flight rates

Virgin Voyages

I don’t very often write about cruises as there are so many dedicated cruise blogs. However, I am excited by Virgin’s new cruise line as it seems to be breaking the cruise industry mould. Virgin’s ships are modern and luxurious but not stuffy. Currently, there seems to be a gap between the ultra-luxury cruises, mid-market and party cruises for something modern, sophisticated and fun. On one cruise I went on with Royal Caribbean, I wasn’t sure my very elderly tablemate would make it through to the end of dinner, let alone the 7-day cruise. Somehow I think the clientele on Virgin will be quite different!

Virgin Voyages

The inaugural ship, Scarlet Lady, will set sail on its Maiden Voyage in April 2020 from Miami, with the new partnership enabling customers to combine a cruise with Virgin Atlantic flights to and from Miami, the home of Virgin Voyages’ first cruise terminal. Virgin Atlantic flies daily from London Heathrow to Miami with one-stop itineraries available with Delta Air Lines. Virgin Atlantic Flightstore will also have the ability to package Mediterranean itineraries onboard Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady using Virgin Atlantic’s partner airlines. The second ship in its fleet, Valiant Lady will sail 7-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

I am hoping to take a tour of the Scarlet Lady in February so I will bring you all the details then!

Virgin Voyages has just announced its resident On Deck DJ schedule and select dates for speciality sailings, which are now available for booking. Performances will take place at the Beach Club at Bimini, with the 2020 lineup of world-famous DJs set to perform as part of the speciality sailings.  The Beach Club at Bimini offers a specially curated experience where sailors can feel the sand in their toes in a stylish setting that will rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez.

The Resident On Deck DJ program and 2020 Specialty Sailings feature the previously announced line up of Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson, Grammy award-winning Diplo, the much-celebrated DJ MK and Grammy-nominated electronic music duo Sofi Tukker.

Starting today, Sailors can book a Voyage to see their favourite DJ perform live in the Bahamas with key dates including:

  • Diplo: Riviera Maya sailing May 3, 2020, performance on May 7, 2020
  • Mark Ronson: Mayan Sol sailing July 5, 2020, performance on July 9, 2020
  • DJ MK: Mayan Sol sailing August 30, 2020, performance on September 3, 2020
  • Sofi Tukker: Dominican Daze sailing December 6, 2020, performance on December 10, 2020 

Virgin Voyages also have a special offer currently for up to $400 onboard credit when you book by 14 February for sailings from 1 April 2020.

You can find the Virgin Voyages page here.

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