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Virgin Atlantic reduces service and removes the A350 on its Los Angeles route in December

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If you’re booked to fly with Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles this December it may be time to check your seat reservations, and if you’re considering booking Virgin Atlantic Business Class for travel to/from Los Angeles in December, it may be time to consider other options because the airline will not be flying its A350 to LAX for a period of 31 days.

The introduction of the Airbus A350-1000 into its fleet has been a big deal for Virgin Atlantic because not only is the aircraft considerably more economical than the aircraft it has been replacing, but it has also finally allowed Virgin to offer a truly competitive Business Class product on some of the most lucrative routes in the world.

One of those lucrative routes is the airline’s London – Los Angeles route but for reasons that remain unclear, not only has Virgin Atlantic reduced the number of weekly flights that it will offer to/from Los Angeles in December, but it has also withdrawn the A350 from service during the same period.

Virgin’s Los Angeles Schedule

As things stand, Virgin Atlantic offers two daily flights on its London – Los Angeles route with the early flight operated by a Dreamliner and the later flight operated by the A350.

VS7 LHR 10:40 – 13:55 LAX (Daily 787-9 service)
VS23 LHR 16:35 – 19:50 LAX (Daily A350-1000 service)

VS8 LAX 16:45 – 11:05+1 day LHR (Daily 787-9 service)
VS24 LAX 21:40 – 15:55+1 day LHR (Daily A350-1000 service)

Between 1 and 31 December, however, things look a little different:

VS7 LHR 10:40 – 13:55 LAX (Daily 787-9 service)
VS23 LHR 14:00 – 17:15 LAX (Mon, Fri, Sat & Sun 787-9 service)

VS8 LAX 15:45 – 10:05+1 day LHR (Daily 787-9 service)
VS24 LAX 19:10 – 13:25+1 day LHR (Mon, Fri, Sat & Sun 787-9 service)

Not only do we lose 3 weekly flights, but we see a few timing changes and the withdrawal of the A350-1000.

Winners & Losers

The winners here are those who have bookings in Premium Economy as the Dreamliner’s Premium Economy seats are noticeably more spacious than the Premium Economy seats in the Airbus.

The losers here are anyone who wanted to catch the late flights out of London or LA on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and anyone who is booked into Virgin’s Business Class cabin.

The Dreamliner may have more spacious Premium Economy seats than the A350, but the biggest difference between what these two aircraft offer is to be found in the frontmost cabin. Up front, in ‘Upper Class’, the Dreamliner offers a claustrophobic abomination that reminds me of horse stalls on a racetrack…

a row of seats on an airplane

…while the Airbus A350-1000 offers the airlines new(ish) Upper Class ‘suites’ which are so much better that I’m struggling to find a word to describe the gap between the two offerings.

rows of seats in a plane
The Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class cabin
A standard Upper Class window seat on the Virgin Atlantic A350
The Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class seat

You’ll get the same great Virgin Atlantic service in both cabins, but while I will actively seek out the new Upper Class suite when considering my transatlantic options, I will actively avoid flying Business Class in Virgin’s Dreamliners.

Bottom Line

Virgin Atlantic will be flying fewer weekly flights between London and Los Angeles in December and during the same timeframe, it will also not be offering its best Business Class product on the route either. Fortunately, everything returns to normal from 1 January 2022 but for one month only, Virgin Atlantic becomes an airline to avoid if you’re booking Business Class to/from Los Angeles.

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    • I’m genuinely confused by this as everything that I’ve seen supports the claims that demand is very strong on Virgin’s route to LA. Why the airline needs to reduce capacity in December is a mystery.

  1. FYI, this has been extended into April, and now JUNE. I have multiple flights booked LAXLHR and also LHRTLV that were just downgraded to “horse stall” Business Class. To make matters MUCH worse, my wife and I are now separated by the “wall” between the left & middle seats (after previously being in the “love” seats in the middle of the A350), and most of our flights are full so we cannot change seats (and their customer service refused to move us).
    Sadly, I only “discovered” Virgin Atlantic shortly before the pandemic, and had booked many flights in 2020 and 2021. Their LAX lounge was fantastic… but now is PERMANENTLY closed. First they took that away, and now they no longer provide competitive Business Class. I have gone from a loyal customer who would go out of my way to fly them to Europe to NEVER AGAIN once my vouchers are all used this year in “horse stall” mode in complete isolation from my wife on those long flights. They also totally screwed me by waiting until short notice to remove the A350 from our routes… making it impossible for us to find reasonable alternatives.
    Nice job, VA in turning customer’s LOVE into HATE.

    • Kenneth, I have had the same issue! Im flying in April and bitterly peed off that VA have changed this last minuet! I actually feel conned as the two are so different.

      Also the last time I will be flying VA!

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