Virgin Atlantic has seen a massive surge in bookings to Tel Aviv following the announcement of the UK Government’s green travel list late last week. The airline saw a 250% increase in bookings week on week to the Israeli destination, its only green list destination.
Travelers from the United Kingdom have effectively been penned in for most of the year so far. All non-essential travel was banned by the government, with fines of up to £5,000 threatened for traveling for holidays and other non-essential reasons. As such, many will be eager to travel abroad as soon as the flood gates are opened on May 17th.
Virgin’s only ‘viable’ green-list country
Virgin Atlantic is a long-haul operator, as opposed to rival British Airways with an extensive short-haul network. With a flight time of four hours, Tel Aviv is a relatively short route for Virgin Atlantic. It is also the only of the four ‘viable’ green list destinations served by Virgin Atlantic.
Travelers eager to finally leave the United Kingdom for a holiday were quick to make use of the route operated by Virgin Atlantic. Yesterday we reported that the airline had upped capacity on the route. Today, the airline revealed precisely why.
The week-on-week bookings to Tel Aviv have increased by 250%. Additionally, the airline reports a higher than usual interest in its premium cabins, suggesting that passengers are looking to treat themselves following months unable to leave the UK.
Commenting on the surge, Juha Jarvinen, Virgin’s CCO, said,
“We know there’s pent up demand to travel and our surge in bookings to Tel Aviv reflects this. We’ve seen a steady increase in interest throughout our network, particularly to Israel, as consumer confidence returns, allowing our customers to finally plan a much-needed sunny break or reconnect with family, friends and business colleagues.”
A new testing package
To help facilitate travel to both green and amber destinations, Virgin Atlantic is partnering with Prenetics to offer a suite of new testing packages. The packages will include all the tests needed to be taken by arrivals from all but red countries. Last week TUI also revealed new testing packages.
The airline’s green package will cost from £152, while amber will start at £179. The green package will include an outbound PCR test, an inbound antigen test, and a day two PCR test. Meanwhile, Amber packages will also have the day eight test. It seems that no option for the government’s day five test to release scheme is included.
Arrivals from amber destinations will be required to quarantine for at least five days upon arrival, meaning that travel to such countries may seem unattractive. It looks as though this isn’t too much of a worry for Virgin, which says it has seen strong interest in its Caribbean destinations.
All viable green list destinations see a surge
Israel is one of just four green-list countries where Brits can realistically head for a needed vacation. The other three are Portugal, Gibraltar, and Iceland. In total, the government included 12 countries on the list. Given that the likes of Australia and New Zealand are closed to tourists, they aren’t much use for holidaymakers. Meanwhile, the relatively remote South Sandwich Islands aren’t particularly accessible.
All four of the countries that travelers can realistically visit on the green list have seen a surge in bookings. Yesterday Skyscanner revealed that bookings to Portugal through its platform increased by 663% on Friday in response to the news. As a result, many carriers serving the country have been laying on extra flights.
Have you booked a trip to a green or amber destination? Let us know in the comments below!