Only 18 Routes: Where Is Virgin Atlantic Flying Next Week?

Virgin Atlantic has a total of 18 routes next week, comprising 17 from Heathrow and one from Manchester. All are bookable. In all, the carrier has 91 outbound flights, 39% of what it had in 2019 when quadjets (the B747-400 and A340-600) played an important role. Now, its flights will be mainly by the B787-9, but also by the A350-1000 and A330-300.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350
Virgin Atlantic has 18 bookable routes in early September. Photo: Getty Images.

18 routes next week

In the week beginning September 6th, Heathrow to JFK has the most service using both the A350 and B787. JFK has taken the top spot despite ongoing restrictions. Fully vaccinated passengers arriving from the US don’t have to quarantine, but the US has not yet reciprocated.

  1. Heathrow to New York JFK: 14 weekly outbound flights
  2. Heathrow-Atlanta: 7
  3. Heathrow-Barbados: 7
  4. Heathrow-Mumbai: 7
  5. Heathrow-Delhi: 7
  6. Heathrow-Los Angeles: 7
  7. Heathrow-Lagos: 7
  8. Heathrow-Tel Aviv: 7
  9. Heathrow-Boston: 4
  10. Heathrow-Antigua: 3
  11. Heathrow-Islamabad: 3
  12. Heathrow-Johannesburg: 3
  13. Heathrow-Montego Bay: 3
  14. Heathrow-Miami: 3
  15. Manchester-Barbados: 3
  16. Heathrow-Granada (via Barbados): 2
  17. Heathrow-Hong Kong: 2
  18. Heathrow-Lahore: 2
Virgin's routes in early September
Earlier in August, India was taken off the UK’s red list, meaning passengers arriving no longer had to quarantine in a hotel. Mumbai and Delhi are now served seven-weekly, although this says nothing of passenger traffic or fares. Image: GCMap.

A lack of corridor holding things back

The lack of an air corridor between the UK and the USA remains a major impediment in the recovery race. It might not happen until November at the earliest. Despite this, the US remains Virgin’s leading country next week, suggesting how difficult things are.

Virgin Atlantic, Airbus A350, Caribbean
Next week, the B787-9, shown here, is due to serve 12 destinations, more than the A350-1000 (four) and A330-300 (four). Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

To Nigeria

Lagos is only one of seven routes with a once-daily service, with this destination Heathrow’s number-one in May. Virgin will use the 264-seat A330-300 to Africa’s largest city, with 31 fully flat seats in Upper Class along with 48 in premium economy and 185 in economy.

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Lagos has a scheduled departure time from Heathrow of 22:30, arriving in Nigeria the next morning at 05:15. Returning, it leaves at 09:30 and arrives back on day two at 16:20. Virgin competes head-to-head with British Airways to Lagos, with the B777-300ER used. BA has a reverse schedule: daytime to Lagos and overnight back.

Virgin A330
In 2019, Virgin had ~42,000 round-trip passengers connect from Lagos over Heathrow. Photo: Getty Images.

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A sneak peek at this winter

Normally, looking ahead is vital. However, it is now dangerous, as the situation may change dramatically, especially as decisions are taken much closer to departure than previously. Indeed, in the first week of the northern hemisphere winter, starting October 31st, Virgin expects 32 routes. If all operate at the scheduled frequencies, there would be 246 flights a week, 3% more than in 2019. Clearly, there will, unfortunately, be multiple cuts.

Aside from those routes operating next week, additional routes in that first winter week presently include Heathrow to Cape Town, Havana, Las Vegas, Orlando (up to three-daily), San Francisco, St Vincent (via Barbados), Seattle, Tobago (via Barbados), and Washington Dulles. And from Manchester to Atlanta, Islamabad, Montego Bay, New York JFK, and Orlando.

Are you planning to fly Virgin this year? Let us know in the comments.