Virgin Atlantic announced its SkyTeam membership this morning, proudly flying the flag as the alliance’s only UK-based member airline. The new membership will not only enhance SkyTeam’s transatlantic network by opening up routes into London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) airports, but it will also open a plethora of routes and destinations for Virgin Atlantic’s existing customers – including its new Maldives route opening in October.
Virgin Atlantic Joins SkyTeam Alliance
Airline alliances work by allowing member airlines to collaborate, selling tickets for trips that connect multiple routes across multiple member airlines in one smooth transaction. By joining the SkyTeam alliance, Virgin Atlantic has opened its existing network to the rest of the world – and the rest of the world to its network and customers.
In addition to the hundreds of new destinations available to customers, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members will be thrilled to hear that Virgin Points can be earned and redeemed when flying with any member airline.
Flying Club Silver Card holders will be recognised as SkyTeam Elite members, whilst Gold Card holders will be Elite Plus, earning them access to SkyPriority services, including priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding. Additional baggage allowance is offered to both Elite and Elite Plus members, whilst First and Business Class customers can also enjoy the SkyPriority services.
Flying Club Gold Card or Elite Plus members travelling on either Virgin Atlantic, Delta, or Aeromexico will have access to Virgin Atlantic’s acclaimed Clubhouse lounge at London Heathrow airport, and all Elite Plus members can enjoy a network of 750 lounges at airports worldwide.
By joining the alliance, Virgin Atlantic builds on the success of its joint venture with Delta and Air France-KLM, each already established SkyTeam member airlines.
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented, “SkyTeam shares a customer-first ethos that mirrors our own. Our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company.
“We want to reward those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic, and our Flying Club members deserve the very best loyalty proposition. Our SkyTeam membership offers this through a global network of maximised reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
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 and 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.
“The UK 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, enjoying the iconic travel experience that makes our newest member a globally loved airline.”
Virgin Atlantic codeshares already exist with AirFrance-KLM and Delta, with agreements in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines and options for more codeshares to follow. Interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.
The SkyTeam Alliance
The alliance is based in Amsterdam and was founded in 2000 by member airlines Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta, and Korean Air.
One of the world’s three largest airline alliances, SkyTeam includes major airline players, including KLM, China Airlines and now, Virgin Atlantic. The alliance’s member airlines combine to serve more than 1000 destinations in 180 countries, transporting 342 million customers annually on over 10,000 flights daily.
Other major airline alliances include the Star Alliance, which boasts United and Lufthansa as members, and the Oneworld Alliance, home of British Airways, Qatar, Qantas, and American Airlines.
Will you be booking your summer holiday with a SkyTeam member airline? Let us know your dream SkyTrip getaway in the comments!