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Virgin Atlantic has announced that, just in time for its co-habitation agreement with Delta at LAX Terminal 2, it will be adding a third daily service between London Heathrow and Los Angeles from May 2017. The move will give Virgin Atlantic more non-stop daily flights between Heathrow and Los Angeles than its arch rival British Airways……although BA, as part of its joint business agreement with American Airlines, will still have a share of four daily flights between the two cities.
The new Virgin Atlantic service between Heathrow and Los Angeles will commence on 1 May 2017 and will run through 28 October 2017. The new flights will be operated by Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9 aircraft (just like the existing flights) and will fit in to the existing schedule as follows:
VS007 LHR 11:15 – 14:30 LAX (Daily service)
VS141 LHR 13:00 – 16:10 LAX (Daily service) **New*
VS023 LHR 15:45 – 18:55 LAX (Daily service)
VS008 LAX 17:50 – 12:20+1 day LHR (Daily service)
VS142 LAX 18:30 – 12:55+1 day LHR (Daily service) **New**
VS024 LAX 20:55 – 15:10+1 day LHR (Daily service)
I like the timing of the new outbound flight because the 13:00 departure from Heathrow gives ample time for connections from the rest of Europe….and that will be very good news if (when) there’s a good ex-Europe sale to the US.
Good News For Fares
This third daily service from Virgin Atlantic is more good news for travelers as it is yet another example of airlines giving up on any pretence of capacity discipline between Europe and the US.
We’ve already seen LOT announce new flights to Los Angeles and Chicago from next year and SAS is adding flights to Los Angeles as well. Add to that the fact that American is bringing back another US-Europe flight from next year (more on that in another post later today) and this all adds up to more seats than ever for those of us looking to fly across the pond.
More seats means more pressure to fill those seats and that can only be good news for prices – we’ve already seen roundtrip Economy fares in the $300 – $400 range for 2017 and I suspect it won’t be long before we’ll see some great Business Class fares appearing too.
Good News For Reward Flights
Virgin Atlantic recently put though a series of changes to its Flying Club rewards program and, while a few of the changes were negative, there was one big positive change that I was very happy to see – the cost of Premium Economy redemptions fell significantly.
A long as you book outside of the newly introduced “peak season” Premium Economy redemptions between Los Angeles and the UK will cost 15,000 fewer Virgin Flying Club Miles in 2017.
- 31 March to 18 April 2017
- 22 June to 6 September 2017
- 13 December to 31 December 2017
Outside of the dates above, a roundtrip Premium Economy reward flight will cost just 55,000 Virgin Flying Club Miles and, although there are considerable taxes and fees to be added on to the cost, there is still considerable scope for value here.
Virgin’s 787-9 aircraft have just 35 Premium Economy seats onboard so the addition of a third daily service to/from Los Angeles will be boosting the number of Premium Economy seats available on the route quite substantially…and that should be good news for reward redemptions which have, historically, been quite challenging to find.
Featured image courtesy of Chris Heald via Flickr