Virgin Atlantic to Join SkyTeam Alliance

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350

The airlines Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Air France & Delta have been close partners for a long time. They have formed a joint venture for transatlantic flights, meaning they share revenues and coordinate schedules. The usual benefits for frequent flyers are also granted as part of this cooperation.

Virgin has so far stayed out of the big airline alliances. That will change next year: according to various British media reports, Virgin Atlantic will join the SkyTeam alliance in early 2023. A press conference is currently taking place in London where this will be officially announced.

Benefits & Miles Can Be Used throughout the Alliance

For most Europeans, the effects of the partnership are probably not as great as it first appears. Anyone who earns SkyTeam miles will usually do so with Flying Blue or Delta SkyMiles anyway – and Virgin is already a partner of those programs. Virgin’s own frequent flyer program, Flying Club, has a few sweet spots, but it’s not very well known.

Nevertheless, there are of course some advantages:

  • For Virgin Atlantic customers:
    • Those who collect miles in the Virgin Flying Club can also spend them on flights with Korean Air, Air Europa, Aeromexico, … in the future
    • Anyone with Flying Club status will receive lounge access, baggage allowance, etc. on all flights with SkyTeam airlines
    • Long-haul flights to/from London can also be booked e.g. with an ITA feeder flight from Milan
  • For customers of other SkyTeam airlines:
    • If you earn miles with e.g. Air Europa Suma, you can redeem them for flights with Virgin in the future
    • Standard SkyTeam tier benefits also apply to Virgin flights

What Will Happen to the Non-alliance Partnerships?

Since Virgin Atlantic has not previously belonged to any alliance, the airline has formed numerous partnerships with other airlines. For example, it cooperates with the Star Alliance members Singapore Airlines, SAS and ANA. This collaboration also includes select frequent flyer benefits.

It remains to be seen whether or how this will continue after joining SkyTeam. However, it is conceivable that these partnerships will be discontinued or reduced in order to concentrate entirely on the SkyTeam partners.

Sources: God save the Points and Virgin Atlantic auf Twitter

Cover Picture: © Virgin Atlantic

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