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About the airline
Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited (www.virginatlantic.com), trades under the name Virgin Atlantic, and is controlled by holding company Virgin Atlantic Limited – operated under the leadership and guidance of entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson.
Virgin is the leading British airline, with its head office based in Crawley, United Kingdom. It operates out of both London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport, servicing global destinations such as North America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with flights landing at both Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airport.
Originally established in 1984 as British Atlantic Airways, intended to service flights between London and the Falkland Islands, the airline was established as Virgin Atlantic Airways after Sir Richard Branson joined its original founders, Randolph Fields and Alan Hellary.
Now owned by both the Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines, the airline’s maiden flight took place in June 1984 from London Gatwick to Newark Liberty International in the United States.
In 2012, Virgin Atlantic carried 5.4 million passengers, making it the 7th largest UK airline in terms of passenger volume.
Key International Routes and Destinations
Virgin Atlantic flies to numerous global destinations, with daily flights in and out of both Johannesburg and Cape Town International airports. With their partnership with Delta Airlines, they also service close to 200 North American destinations, with 32 daily non-stop flights between the United Kingdom and the US.
Other primary destinations include South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and flights throughout Britain.
Virgin Atlantic allows travellers to choose their seats up to 331 days before their flight, for a small charge or depending on their Flying Club member status, free of charge. Online check-in opens 24 hours and closes 60 minutes prior to departure (destination dependent) and is accessible with a reservation and confirmation code, e-ticket number or frequent flyer sign in.
Cabin & Flight Classes
Economy class offers comfortable seating, added leg room, private screens and three complimentary meals for long-haul flights. Certain aircraft also offer Wi-Fi services which can be purchased.
Travellers can experience large, comfortable leather seats with added leg room, a foot rest and head rest. In-seat power sockets, on-board Wi-Fi services, a welcome glass of champagne, three complimentary meals served on china crockery for long-haul flights and an after-dinner liqueur are also available.
Ranging from a personalised chauffeur service, to express check-in and security checks, exclusive club house access as well as welcome champagne, travellers are also offered 33-inch wide seats which fold out to fully flat beds, premium entertainment options, free-of-charge seat selection, Wi-Fi connectivity and first-class meals and beverages on all long-haul flights.
The 2017 leet
Operating a combination of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, the fleet consists of:
- 10 x Airbus A330-300
- 8 x Airbus A340-600
- 8 x Boeing 747-400
- 13 x Boeing 787-9
In 2012, Virgin Atlantic became the first airline in Britain to offer in-flight mobile phone calls, texts and web access while in the air. Additionally, an extensive in-flight entertainment system is offered, with a library of the most recent movies, televisions shows, music and games. The in-flight magazine, Vera, is also available in each seat back pocket.
You can get a sense of the Virgin Atlantic in-flight experience in the video below:
Economy class permits one bag per person, with a weight limit of 23kg. For flights from the UK to India, the US to India and US to South Africa, the baggage allowance is two checked bags per person, with a maximum weight of 23kg per bag.
Upper class allowances include three checked bags per person, restricted to 32kg per bag on all routes.
Hand luggage is restricted to one bag not exceeding 23 x 36 x 56cm in dimensions. While upper class passengers are permitted a 12kg weight limit and one additional garment or laptop bag.
Frequent Flyer / Rewards Programme
Virgin Atlantic offers the Flying Club, a tiered points system that allows travellers to earn miles and spend them on flights, upgrades, seat selection, car hire and selected merchandise.
Contact Virgin Atlantic in SA
Reservations: +27 11 340 3400 (open 24 hours)
Flight Information: +27 11 978 6000
Official SA Website: www.virginatlantic.com – NOT www.virginatlantic.co.za
Virgin Atlantic in the News
Check out the latest news articles featuring Virgin Atlantic below:
Virgin Atlantic offers full reimbursement for passengers affected by Trump’s travel ban
After President Trump’s 90-day travel ban was instituted, restricting seven Muslim countries and its citizens from travelling to and entering the United States, Virgin Atlantic has taken it upon themselves to offer these customers a full refund for their flights to the US. Customers are permitted to either re-book or receive a total refund on their flights.
Celebrating 20 years between Johannesburg and London
In October 1996, Virgin Atlantic took its first flight from London to Johannesburg in an Airbus A340. In October 2016, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the airline, celebrated 20 years of flights to South Africa on a party flight from Johannesburg. Virgin Atlantic also operated flights between London and Cape Town until 2015 when this route was cancelled.