Virgin Atlantic Is Back In San Francisco

Virgin Atlantic has resumed its flights to San Francisco from London Heathrow. The move comes after an announcement from the White House that it was lifting its travel ban on citizens from the United Kingdom and the European Union. The lifting of the travel ban for fully vaccinated travelers comes more than 18 months after former President Donald Trump imposed the ban during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virgin Atlantic 787
Virgin Atlantic once more flies non-stop between LHR and SFO. Photo: Getty Images

The decision to open its borders to certain counties comes after intense lobbying from the United Kingdom and European Union to allow its citizens access to America. When speaking about the decision in the Guardian newspaper, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is quoted as saying:

“It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”

The UK is making overseas travel easier

Officially the ban will not be lifted until early November, but that hasn’t stopped Virgin Atlantic from restarting flights to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). On October 4, 2021, the United Kingdom plans to scrap its traffic light system of green, yellow, and red counties in favor of a single red list. The government has also said that later this month, arrivals in England will no longer be required to take a PCR test two days after arriving and can instead opt for the cheaper lateral flow test.

Before the changes, UK citizens or residents arriving from red list counties (high risk) were required to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for ten days at the cost of £2,285 ($3,095) per adult. The new changes to the rules are expected to be announced next Thursday and have travel industry experts predicting a surge in bookings for overseas travel.

Flight time between LHR and SFO is around 11 hours

Virgin Atlantic is now flying from London Heathrow Airport to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), deploying one of its 17 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on the route in preparation for a relaxing of the rules:

  • Virgin Atlantic flight number VS 10 departs London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 10:55 and arrives in San Francisco at 13:50
  • Virgin Atlantic flight number VS 20 departs Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 15:50 and arrives in London at 10:05
Virgin Atlantic Is Back In San Francisco
Virgin Atlantic has restarted its non-stop flights between LHR and SFO. Image:

The flight time between London and San Francisco is around 11 hours. Virgin Atlantic’s service between SFO and LHR operates three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Starting October 24, 2021, Virgin Atlantic will add a flight on Sundays.

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About San Francisco

San Francisco is not the size of New York or Chicago, yet still punches above its weight. Home of the iconic Golden Gate bridge and the most extensive China Town outside of Asia, San Francisco has many things to see and do.

Built on 48 hills, San Francisco is famous for its colorful cable cars, Victorian architecture, and foggy weather.

Virgin Atlantic at SFO
Virgin will add an additional flight to SFO later this month. Photo: SFO

Must visit attractions in the city by the bay include:

  • Fisherman’s Wharf: Once a hub of San Francisco’s fishing industry, Fisherman’s Wharf is a dining, shopping, and entertainment destination that attracts thousands of visitors a year.
  • Alcatraz Island: Once a notorious federal prison, Alcatraz home to the likes of Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Described as being inescapable due to the strong currents in the bay, you can visit Alcatraz by taking a 15-minute ferry ride from Pier 33.
  • Napa Valley: Arguably the most famous wine-making region in the USA, the Napa Valley is also where you will find some of the countries best restaurants.

What do you think about Virgin Atlantic returning to SFO? Please tell us what you think in the comments.