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Virgin Atlantic has recently undergone a reorganization in its ownership structure which has left Delta as the owner of the largest stake (49%) and Air France/KLM as an owner as well (31%).
Alongside this reorganisation, Virgin, Delta & Air France/KLM have applied to form a transatlantic joint venture (along similar lines to the joint venture already in place between a number of oneworld transatlantic airlines) and, a few weeks ago, that joint venture moved closer to reality as the European Union gave it the go ahead.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the US authorities to agree to the JV too and all will be in place for another airline group to legally price-fix across the Atlantic.
As the airlines wait to hear from the US regulators they’re not wasting any time and, as of last week, they’ve moved closer to a full integration of their networks by announcing a limited codesharing agreement between Virgin Atlantic and Air France/KLM.
A full list of the codeshare routes will follow at the end of this post but, for now, this is the key result of this move:
If you book a Virgin Atlantic codeshare flight on Air France or KLM (i.e. you book an Air France or KLM flight though Virgin Atlantic) you can credit those flights to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and you will earn miles and tier points.
The reverse is also now true (Air France and KLM flyers can book codeshares on Virgin Atlantic and credit their flights to Flying Blue)
Note: You cannot yet spend Virgin Flying Club Miles on Air France or KLM or spend Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic.
Delta summed things up well:
- The partnership offers Virgin Atlantic customers up to 58 new routes from 18 UK airports across the Atlantic via Paris and Amsterdam
- Air France and KLM customers have access to 24 new North America routes operated by Virgin Atlantic/Delta departing the UK including connections via London Heathrow or Manchester
Things aren’t working quite as they should be right now because, at the time of writing, a lot of routes on which there should be a codeshare available to book are coming up with an error message on the Virgin Atlantic website:
Here’s what flyers can expect to earn when they credit their Air France codeshare flights to Virgin’s Flying Club (click to enlarge)…..
….and here’s what flyers can expect to earn when they credit their KLM codeshare flights to Virgin’s Flying Club (click to enlarge)…..
Flyers with Virgin Atlantic elite status will also earn their usual tier bonuses:
These earning rates are not all that dissimilar to what Virgin flyers will already be used to when booking Delta flights (see here) except that, unlike with Delta flights, no long-haul Air France or KLM flight will earn a paltry 25% of miles flown – the minimum is 50%.
Why This Is May Be An Improvement
Clearly it’s not good news when we have yet more airlines being given legal permission to collude on pricing on the routes we like to fly….but I’m looking for positives here.
A lot of readers will already know that some of the excellent transatlantic Business Class fares we see originate in mainland Europe (and rarely in the UK) but, up until now, Virgin has seldom featured in these deals because it didn’t have a European partner airline on which it could place its codes – now it does.
It’s entirely possible that, going forward, we will see some much improved Virgin Atlantic Business Class fares appear in our searches as sales pop up from Amsterdam and Paris CDG.
Nothing is guaranteed but, now that Virgin can sell flights out of two major European cities and have them connect to its transatlantic network, I can’t see why we wouldn’t see the airline appear in similar sales to its partners Air France, KLM and Delta….and with Virgin Atlantic poised to launch a new Business Class seat later this year that’s very good news.
The New Codeshare Routes
Air France Routes On which Virgin Atlantic Has Added Its Code
- Paris CDG – Aberdeen
- Paris CDG – Atlanta
- Paris CDG – Birmingham
- Paris CDG – Boston
- Paris CDG – Chicago O’Hare
- Paris CDG – Dallas/Ft. Worth
- Paris CDG – Detroit
- Paris CDG – Edinburgh
- Paris CDG – Houston
- Paris CDG – London Heathrow
- Paris CDG – Los Angeles
- Paris CDG – Manchester
- Paris CDG – Miami
- Paris CDG – Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Paris CDG – Montreal
- Paris CDG – New York JFK
- Paris CDG – Newcastle
- Paris CDG – San Francisco
- Paris CDG – Seattle
- Paris CDG – Toronto
- Paris CDG – Vancouver
- Paris CDG – Washington Dulles
KLM Routes On which Virgin Atlantic Has Added Its Code
- Amsterdam – Aberdeen
- Amsterdam – Atlanta
- Amsterdam – Belfast City
- Amsterdam – Birmingham
- Amsterdam – Boston
- Amsterdam – Bristol
- Amsterdam – Calgary
- Amsterdam – Cardiff
- Amsterdam – Chicago O’Hare
- Amsterdam – Durham
- Amsterdam – Edinburgh
- Amsterdam – Edmonton
- Amsterdam – Glasgow
- Amsterdam – Houston
- Amsterdam – Humberside
- Amsterdam – Inverness
- Amsterdam – Las Vegas
- Amsterdam – Leeds/Bradford
- Amsterdam – London City
- Amsterdam – London Heathrow
- Amsterdam – Los Angeles
- Amsterdam – Manchester
- Amsterdam – Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Amsterdam – Montreal
- Amsterdam – New York JFK
- Amsterdam – Newcastle
- Amsterdam – Salt Lake City
- Amsterdam – San Francisco
- Amsterdam – Toronto
- Amsterdam – Vancouver
- Amsterdam – Washington Dulles