Virgin Atlantic resumes its Shanghai flight services

A Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner in flight.
Photo Credit: Virgin Atlantic
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read

LONDON – Virgin Atlantic is set to restart its much-anticipated flights to Shanghai this year, with the daily service resuming on 1 May 2023.

The move comes following a relaxation in travel restrictions between the UK and China, with borders opening to foreign nationals for the first time since 2020.

A melting pot of culture

China is one of the most important trading partners to the UK and as the country’s largest city, Shanghai is a world-renowned commercial and financial hub.

It also offers UK tourists a melting pot of culture, from Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, the Bund’s famous waterfront walkways to the traditional pavilions in Yu Gardens.

Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will operate on a Boeing 787-9. Customers can enjoy a selection of experiences across three cabins: Upper Class, Premium and the airline’s three classes of Economy – Delight, Classic and Light.

China Eastern partnership

Shanghai is also a hub to Virgin Atlantic’s new SkyTeam partner, China Eastern. With a wide range of connections throughout China and beyond, Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to seamlessly connect to onward services.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “The return of our Shanghai services has been a long-time coming and I’m delighted it’s finally a reality.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back on board and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.”

“Shanghai is the final route to return following the global pandemic, restoring our flying programme to full capacity.”

“Our focus for 2023 is on delivery, as we look forward to launching routes to new destinations, welcoming brand new clean, green aircraft and getting back to our best for our customers and people.”


For Virgin Atlantic, as with many airlines globally, the relaxation of travel restrictions for China represents a quantum leap in the return to pre-pandemic traffic levels.

China remains a major trading partner across the world, as well as being a source of international tourism. This means ramping up for both cargo and passenger operations for airlines.

For air travellers, whilst travel restrictions in and out of mainland China have been eased this year, some considerations still apply.

Customers travelling to China do not need to show proof of vaccination, however each passenger will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form.

Passengers arriving from China into the UK must take a negative PCR or lateral flow test.

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