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Virgin Atlantic Set to Join SkyTeam Early This Year

The airline will become the first U.K.-based carrier to join the alliance and will help to boost its transatlantic network

by Fergus Cole

January 4, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Global airline alliance SkyTeam is set to welcome its newest member, Virgin Atlantic. The announcement that the British carrier would join SkyTeam was first made in September without providing details about the potential date for the integration.

Virgin Atlantic will become the first and only British-based carrier with SkyTeam membership. The agreement should boost the airline’s transatlantic network, especially from its hubs in London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN).

Once the airline is fully integrated with SkyTeam, its customers will gain access to easy connections with other alliance member airlines, to an extensive network of more than 750 airport lounges across the world, and the ability to earn and use air miles with a much greater number of carriers.

SkyTeam’s network extends to more than 1,062 destinations in 170 countries, logging more than 10,000 daily departures and transporting more than 341 million passengers every year.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, London Heathrow / Photo: Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Customers of other member airlines will also gain access to easy connections with Virgin Atlantic and its lounges in Europe and North America.

SkyTeam is one of the world’s largest airline alliances. Its 19 members include Delta and Air France-KLM, who have long partnered with Virgin Atlantic in codeshare agreements and terminal sharing.

Photo: Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

“At Virgin Atlantic, we strive to create thoughtful experiences that feel different for our customers, and SkyTeam shares that customer-first ethos,” said Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic. “2023 marks the year Virgin Atlantic gets back to its best for our customers and people, and joining SkyTeam is an important milestone.”

Weiss added that becoming a member of SkyTeam would allow them to enhance its current relationships with Delta and Air France-KLM and open new collaborations with the alliance’s other members. “It will enable a seamless customer experience, with an expanded network and maximized loyalty benefits,” he said.

However, Virgin will become only the second member after Delta to offer direct connections between the U.S. and the U.K.

Photo: London Heathrow Terminal 3. Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

“As a member of SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic will benefit from increased opportunities to expand its global network through partnerships and synergies: customers will have more ways to earn and burn miles while enjoying the service for which Virgin Atlantic is renowned.

“Virgin Atlantic shares SkyTeam’s values, caring for our customers, our employees, and the world in which they live, and we are excited to have them as part of the SkyTeam family.”