Virgin Atlantic officially became the latest member of the SkyTeam airline alliance last week. The U.K. carrier formally joined the global airline alliance during a signing ceremony in London on Thursday, March 2.
The addition of Virgin Media is a massive boost for the alliance, with the carrier being SkyTeam’s first and only U.K.-based member, expanding its transatlantic network with more flights to London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN).
The new partnership will allow Virgin Atlantic customers seamless connections to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide, with SkyTeam’s members operating in more than 170 countries. In addition, SkyTeam will enable passengers to book multiple connecting flights with any of its member airlines under one ticket. Usually, the alliance’s airlines are often located in the same airport terminals to make connections even smoother.
Members of Flying Club—Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program—can now earn and redeem points with any SkyTeam partner, including Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM—both of which already codeshare with Virgin Atlantic. In addition to these two carriers, Virgin Atlantic will partner with Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and XiamenAir.
“SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company,” said Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic.
“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 maximized reward opportunities alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
In addition to more accessible connections and greater opportunities to earn miles, Flying Club members will also get a range of extra benefits with SkyTeam. For example, Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders will now be recognized as SkyTeam Elite Members, and Gold Card holders are now SkyTeam Elite Plus Members. Elite Plus members can enjoy several perks, including extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority baggage handling, and priority boarding.
Elite Plus members can also use SkyTeam members’ 750 airport lounges worldwide, including Virgin Atlantic’s acclaimed Clubhouse at London Heathrow.
“We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new heights and elevating our customers offering with more routes to exciting destinations and access to aspirational airport lounges – not to mention the airline’s world-famous flair,” said Patrick Roux, CEO and Managing Director of SkyTeam.
“The U.K. 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 currently serves 12 destinations across the U.S. alongside its codeshare partners Delta and Air France-KLM, including New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), San Francisco (SFO), Atlanta (ATL), and Las Vegas (LAS).