Home Airlines On What Routes Does Virgin Atlantic Fly The A350 (New Business Class)

On What Routes Does Virgin Atlantic Fly The A350 (New Business Class)


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Updated 16 June 2020

When an airline takes delivery of a new type of aircraft it’s not always a key moment in its timeline but, in Virgin Atlantic’s case, the day its first Airbus A350-1000 took to the skies with a planeload of passengers was the day that Virgin Atlantic finally brought its A-game to the transatlantic premium cabin table.

Virgin Atlantic can be a great airline to travel with and its crews are often a joyous lot with whom to share a pressurized tube, but the airline’s Business Class cabin (called “Upper Class”) is a truly woeful place to be.

The service on board is good, the food isn’t bad at all and the cabin crew are mostly pretty great, but the seats are so incredibly poorly designed that I’m not sure how the team that came up with them still has a job (link to Virgin A330 Upper Class review).

With the Airbus A350-1000, Virgin has stepped up its game considerably (at least as far as the Business Class cabin goes) as onboard this aircraft the airline has introduced an entirely new Business Class seat which is orders of magnitude better than the abomination that you’ll find on its other aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Upper Class

While I frequently recommend that friends and family avoid paying for Virgin Atlantic’s legacy Upper Class seat, I also strongly recommend that they give the new seat a try. It may not be the best seat you’ll find crossing the Atlantic every day, but when you combine it with the typically good Virgin Atlantic service and crews, it forms part of an all-around Business Class product that stands out from a lot of the competition.

With all that in mind, and considering the fact that the new Business Class seat is only found on the A350 (for the time being), it’s well worth knowing where the Virgin Atlantic A350 is scheduled to fly….so here’s what things look like right now:

Virgin Atlantic A350 Routes

Atlanta (ATL)

From 25 October 2020 Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to operate an A350-1000 on its London – Atalanta route once per day. Here’s the currently published schedule:

VS103 LHR 09:50 – 14:25 ATL
VS104 ATL 19:15 – 07:20+1 day LHR

The A350 is taking over this route from an A330-300 so this aircraft swap will not only see a massive improvement in the Business Class cabin but it will also see 13 more Upper Class seats and 8 more Premium Economy seats available on every flight.

Johannesburg (JNB)

Virgin Atlantic is resuming services to Johannesburg from 20 July 2020 and it will be bringing back the route with an Airbus A350-1000. Here’s the currently published schedule:

VS449 LHR 21:35 – 09:25+1 day JNB
VS450 JNB 20:25 – 06:35+1 day LHR

This appears to be a slightly odd schedule for Virgin Atlantic to operate as it sees the A350-1000 sitting on the ground in Johannesburg for 11 hours (an apparently inefficient use of the aircraft’s time) but that’s what the current schedules show.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class on the Airbus A350

Lagos (LOS)

From 2 August 2020 Virgin Atlantic will be replacing the A330-300 which operates the London Heathrow – Lagos route with a new Airbus A350-1000. The currently published schedule looks like this:

VS411 LHR 22:30 – 05:15+1 day LOS
VS412 LOS 10:10 – 16:45 LHR

This aircraft swap will see the number of premium cabin seats rise significantly with the A350 offering 13 more Upper Class seats and 8 more Premium Economy seats on every flight than the A330-300 operating the route in July.

Los Angeles (LAX)

According to the current schedules, Virgin Atlantic will resume operations between London and Los Angeles from 20 July 2020 and, as before, the airline will be operating 7 of its 17 weekly flights between the two cities using its A350 aircraft. From 28 March 2021 Virgin Atlantic will be adding a second A350 to this route, and that will see the airline operating 13 of its 17 weekly flights with its flagship aircraft.

Here’s the schedule from 28 March 2021:

VS7 LHR 11:00 – 14:00 LAX (Daily) A350-1000*
VS143 LHR 13:25 – 16:45 LAX (Mon, Thur & Sat) B787-9
VS23 LHR 18:00 – 21:10 LAX (Daily) A350-1000

VS8 LAX 16:10 – 10:50+1 day LHR A350-1000*
VS144 LAX 19:00 – 13:20+1 day LHR (Mon, Thu & Sat) B787-9
VS24 LAX 22:55 – 17:10+1 day LHR (Daily) A530-1000

*Flight operated by a B787-9 on Mondays

New York (JFK)

New York’s JFK airport was the launch destination for the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 and when the airline restarts operations to New York on 20 July 2020, the A350-1000 will operate 11 of the 33 weekly flights.

VS3 LHR 09:05 – 11:55 JFK (Daily)*
VS137 LHR 12:30 – 15:25 JFK (Mon, Wed, Thu Fri & Sun)*
VS45 LHR 14:05 – 16:45 JFK (Daily)
VS9 LHR 15:45 – 18:50 JFK (Daily)
VS25 LHR 20:15 – 23:10 JFK (Daily)

VS26 JFK 08:15 – 20:100+ 1day LHR (Daily)
VS4 JFK 18:00 – 06:25+1 day LHR (Daily)*
VS138 JFK 20:01 – 08:00+1 day LHR (Daily)
VS46 JFK 21:00 – 09:15+1 day LHR (Daily)
VS10 JFK 22:00 – 10:10+ 1day LHR (Mon, Wed, Thu Fri & Sun)*

*A350-1000 service on most days.

San Francisco (SFO)

Prior to a schedule change made towards the end of February 2020, Virgin Atlantic was set to offer A350-1000 service between London And San Francisco from May 2020 and the A350-1000 was set to continue flying between London and San Francisco through the 2020/2021 winter season. Sadly, Covid-19 put an end to those plans and the A350-1000 disappeared from all of Virgin’s London – San Francisco flights.

Now, in a schedule change that appeared in the systems on 15 June 2020, Virgin Atlantic has brought back the A350 on to its San Francisco route…albeit from March 2021.

From 28 March 2021, Virgin Atlantic will operate two daily flights between London and San Francisco with the later flight being operated by the airline’s A350-1000. Here’s the planned schedule:

VS19 LHR 12:00 – 15:00 SFO B787-9 (Daily)
VS41 LHR 18:15 – 21:25 SFO A350-1000 (Daily)

VS20 SFO 16:30 – 10:45+1 day LHR B787-9 (Daily)
VS42 SFO 22:55 – 17:15+1 day LHR A350-1000 (Daily)

The A350-1000 is scheduled to operate in this route for a long as the current schedules allow.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a good Business Class experience on Virgin Atlantic the routes I’ve outlined above are the ones to fly. The cabin crew, the service, and the food can be the best in the world but they can’t make up for the appalling Business Class seat that Virgin offers in its other aircraft.

On the Virgin Atlantic A350 you stand an excellent chance of having some of the friendliest crews around paired with one of the better Business Class seats operating across the Atlantic.

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