Virgin Atlantic Worldwide Sale Is Now On!

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Virgin Atlantic has launched a UK sale to most (possibly all?) of the destinations that it flys to and the sale is across all of the cabins that it operates – so Premium Economy and Upper Class are included as well as Economy Class. Tickets for the sale fares must be booked by 21 September 2016 although the dates for which the sale fares are valid vary from location to location.

Note: As I’ll show towards the end of this post, Virgin Atlantic isn’t the only airline that’s offering fares like these.

Virgin Atlantic UK Sale – Travel Dates & Prices

The dates on which the sales fares are valid depend on what region of the world you’re looking to visit, what cabin you’re looking to travel in and, for a few fares, which UK airport you’re departing from.

Below I’ve posted the headline fares that Virgin Atlantic is advertising (which also show the valid travel dates) and I’ve also taken a look at how good the availability is for some of the more interesting fares.

Economy Class Fares

virgin-atlantic-economy-london

virgin-atlantic-economy-manchester

When I first took a look at the headline fares that Virgin Atlantic has published, the one’s that jumped out at me were the £499RT fare between London and Los Angeles and the £389RT fare from Manchester to New York. So I thought I’d take a look to see just how widely available those fares actually are.

London – Los Angeles:

November – December (click to enlarge in new window):

virgin-atlantic-lhr-lax-nov-dec

January – February:

virgin-atlantic-lhr-lax-jan-feb

March – April:

virgin-atlantic-lhr-lax-mar-apr

Three things to note:

  • The best fare isn’t available all that much this side of Christmas
  • The fare is quite widely available from January through March
  • The fare appears to only be available for stays of at least 6 nights.

Manchester – New York

November – December (click to enlarge in new window):

virgin-atlantic-man-jfk-nov-dec

January – February:

virgin-atlantic-lhr-lax-jan-feb

March – April:

virgin-atlantic-lhr-lax-mar-apr

  • I couldn’t find any dates with a fare starting in the £300’s in 2016
  • There were very few dates in 2017 that offered a fare under £400
  • You can’t use this fare to do a long weekend to New York – the fare was quite high for all the Friday to Monday trips I priced up:

WEEKEND-MAN-NYC

Premium Economy Fares

virgin-atlantic-premium-economy-london

virgin-atlantic-premium-economy-manchester

As a rule I’m not big on booking Premium Economy fares – I either want to travel as cheaply as possible or I’m prepared to wait for a great Business Class fares to appear out of Europe….but I completely understand why others may have a different outlook.

Out of the fares that Virgin Atlantic is promoting I’d say that £609RT for London to Dubai looks good (especially over the winter months) but I don’t see much value in the £800+ fares to the east coast when you can fly to LA and San Francisco for £829RT (which is not too bad).

Upper Class (Business Class) Fares

virgin-atlantic-upper-class-london virgin-atlantic-upper-class-manchester

Virgin haven’t exactly been overly generous with the travel dates have they?! For most US destinations all they’ve opened up are:

  • 8 days in November
  • 16 days in December/January
  • 15 days in March/April

A bonanza this isn’t!

You also have to look quite hard to see the “deals” in this lot (I’m not that impressed) but there are one or two fares that look interesting.

Firstly, it has to be said that not one of these headline fares is as good as what we’re almost bound to find for departures from one of the European cities over the coming months.

Secondly, when £1,858RT to Dubai is considered a sale fare you know not to expect too much! (Qatar Airways had a sale from London a few weeks back with fares almost half that price).

Still, if you’d prefer the convenience of departing from a UK airport then the £1,489RT fare between London and Chicago looks the most interesting to me.

Taking a look at how available that fare is this is what I found:

November:

virgin-upper-class-lhr-ord-NOV

December – January:

virgin-upper-class-lhr-ord-DEC-JAN

March – April:

virgin-upper-class-lhr-ord-MAR-APR

I was sceptical before I started to search for this fare but, credit to Virgin Atlantic (and Delta) the fare is available for a good number of dates…..during the limited windows that the airline has opened up.

From a personal perspective I would definitely not purchase any of the other fares that Virgin Atlantic is highlighting in this sale – I know that I’ll find savings of over £300 per person if I buy a Business fare originating from outside of the UK and, as the extra travel time doesn’t bother me, I’ll happily do that for that kind of saving.

Other Options Other Than The Virgin Atlantic Sale

The good thing about competition is that other airlines tend to respond when one of their competitors offers a sale….and this time things are no different.

While this is certainly not the care for all the Virgin routes, you will find comparable fares on a good number of routes from British Airways, American Airlines and, surprisingly, even Air France/KLM.

If you use ITA Matrix do a fare comparison for Economy fares to Los Angeles in January (for example), this is what you get:

ALL-CARRIERS-TO-LAX-JAN

And the good fares don’t have to involve any connections:

AA-LAX-JAN

Here’s what British Airways is showing for travel to LA on its “best fare finder” in Economy Class:

british-airways-los-angeles

And here’s what that looks like in Economy Class to Miami:

british-airways-miami

Bottom Line

If you prefer Virgin over BA then you’ll probably be reasonably happy with a few of the fares that are on offer….although be prepared for trips of at least 6 nights for the US and be prepared to be a bit flexible with your dates.

Also be aware of the varying fares between London and Manchester – if you can’t find a fare you’re happy with out of one airport it may be worth driving to the other to save some cash.

If you’re a British Airways fan and would prefer to keep your flights to oneworld airlines (for elite status and Avios earning purposes) then be aware that there are a number of good, competing oneworld fares out there too….just not on all the routes and mostly in the Economy and Premium Economy cabins.

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