Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. today outlined details of a new joint venture flight schedule beginning summer 2014, aligning their services and offering more flight choices for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic.
The two airlines are putting the customer at the forefront of their partnership with the new schedule that starts March 30, 2014, combining their slots at London Heathrow to offer maximum customer convenience, particularly for business travelers.
Beginning, April 2, 2014, Delta will move its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets to join Virgin Atlantic in Heathrow Terminal 3. This includes its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services and means the two airlines will co-locate on all its New York and Boston flights to London Heathrow. The move will allow for convenient connections and a seamless customer experience for customers flying with Virgin and Delta, including access to Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Clubhouse for all business class passengers.
“We are working on a series of improvements to enhance the travel experience for our customers,” said Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO. “We already co-locate together at New York’s JFK airport and moving some of Delta’s key business flights to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 will enhance convenience, and reduce connection times. This demonstrates how our new partnership is going to be making a real difference for customers.”
Delta, in cooperation with Virgin Atlantic, will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 1, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.
This additional flight will complement Delta’s previously announced new West Coast route between Seattle and London Heathrow, which will launch on March 29, 2014.
Virgin Atlantic is also making significant schedule changes. It is moving its VS1 Heathrow to Newark service from a late afternoon departure to a morning departure. This flight will be particularly attractive to business travelers: it will allow ‘same-day meetings’ to be held in the New Jersey area, while an earlier departure on the return flight means passengers can be in central London for the start of the working day.
This service is part of nine daily flights between London Heathrow and the New York area by the joint venture partners. The new schedule will include departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 10.30 p.m. from New York-JFK to London Heathrow and a spread of seven daily flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK, including two late afternoon and early evening departures. It also includes two conveniently timed departures to and from Newark.
Virgin Atlantic has also retimed its Heathrow to Boston service to depart two hours later in the afternoon. This offers more flexibility for the two airlines’ customers with Delta’s Heathrow to Boston service departing in the morning. Virgin Atlantic’s evening departure from Boston will also move two hours later, giving greater schedule choice to travelers.
“A key reason for our joint venture was to offer customers more choice and convenient schedules, especially for our business travelers,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s president. “With our Seattle service, Delta will add its sixth nonstop destination between London and the United States. Combined the Delta-Virgin partnership now offers our customers 33 daily nonstop flights across the Atlantic.”
In September, Delta and Virgin Atlantic welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve the carriers’ joint venture by granting antitrust immunity on routes between North America and the UK. This ruling confirmed the clear consumer benefits of the partnership, enabling the airlines to deepen their cooperation, offering more flight choices for travelers on both sides of the Atlantic and improving the travel options for business customers in the New York to London market.
The airlines’ customers benefit from a high-quality and complementary travel experience with passenger service being a priority for both airlines. For the business traveler Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s business class uniquely includes forward-facing fully flat-bed seats, all with direct aisle access on every flight.