Virgin Atlantic announced it has officially joined the major airline alliance, SkyTeam, effectively becoming the alliance’s first UK member airline.
Joining the Alliance
At a signing ceremony on 2 March 2023, held in the airline’s home city of London, Virgin Atlantic completed the process of joining the airline alliance. It becomes SkyTeam’s first and only British airline.
The airline adds connectivity for the alliance via its Heathrow and Manchester bases in the UK, particularly across the Atlantic in its existing network.
Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, commented: “SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company.”
Virgin Atlantic joins sister airline, and shareholder, Delta Airlines in the alliance. The Heathrow-based carrier already has existing codeshare schemes with Delta and Air France-KLM, both members of SkyTeam.
There are also codeshare agreements in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines, again existing SkyTeam members.
Through alliance membership, adding the remaining SkyTeam members to the company’s interline agreements will aim to create a “seamless journey on one ticket” for Virgin and SkyTeam customers.
In the joint press release, Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new heights.”
As Virgin is the alliance’s first and only UK member airline, Roux added: “The U.K. is a key market for SkyTeam and with Virgin Atlantic on board, customers can look forward to more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as they fly.
‘Seamless Customer Experience’
The new membership is hailed as leap in customer experience for Virgin Atlantic and SkyTeam travellers.
In what Virgin is describing as “a consistent, seamless customer experience”, travellers will benefit from additional lounges, an expanded network, and increased access SkyTeam loyalty points scheme.
Members of Virgin’s Flying Club will have the opportunity to earn and redeem Virgin Points and Tier Points across all member airlines.
The airline’s Flying Club members will receive host of benefits which will enhance their journeys across the SkyTeam network.
Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders are recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members have become Elite Plus.
SkyTeam Elite Plus, First and Business Class customers enjoy SkyPriority services including priority check in, baggage handling and boarding. Extra baggage allowance is offered to both Elite and Elite Plus members.
Likewise, SkyTeam Elite Plus members travelling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeromexico will be able to access Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounge in London Heathrow.
There is an additional network of 750 worldwide airport lounges to choose from for loyalty scheme members.
SkyTeam’s Roux added that Virgin’s members would be “…elevating our customer offering with more routes to exciting destinations and access to aspirational airport lounges – not to mention the airline’s world-famous flair.”
Virgin Atlantic is already located in London Heathrow’s Terminal 3, alongside Delta and other SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern. This will assist with connectivity between alliance airlines in Virgin’s homebase.
Virgin Atlantic’s Weiss added: “We want to reward those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic….Our SkyTeam membership offers this through a global network of maximised reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”