Virgin Atlantic is ending long years of “will they, won’t they” by signing onto the SkyTeam alliance, alongside partner and 49% stakeholder Delta Air Lines, with its membership kicking off in early 2023.
Along with better connectivity across SkyTeam’s 18 member airlines, the move will see Virgin’s Flying Club members enjoy alliance-wide benefits such as access to SkyTeam lounges, Sky Priority airport fast-track security lanes and other premium perks.
Flying Club Silver will line up against the ranks of SkyTeam Elite, with Flying Club Gold equivalent to SkyTeam Elite Plus – for which lounge access is a headline feature, and of course that will be a two-way street, with the top tiers of current SkyTeam airlines gaining entry to Virgin Clubhouses.
However, during the Q&A at a London press conference where the tie-up was announced, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss indicated the flagship Clubhouse at Heathrow Terminal 3 would be exempt from that arrangement, with Elite Plus members likely to be redirected to another T3 lounge.
SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile said of Virgin’s admittance “Day 1 will be early January 2023, although the exact date is yet to be decided.”
Virgin Atlantic will be SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, and is already a founding member of a Joint Venture partnership with SkyTeam members Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM.
“2022 marks the year Virgin Atlantic gets back to its best for our customers and people and joining SkyTeam is an important milestone,” said Weiss, adding “we have plans for new routes as a result of the decision to join SkyTeam and to connect with airlines in the alliance.”
Further out will be the ability for passengers to buy flights on any SkyTeam airline through any member airline’s website, such as purchasing Virgin Atlantic tickets via Delta, for which SkyTeam is developing a new alliance-wide technology platform of which CEO Colvile says "you will have a similar seamless experience as Oneworld.”
Get SkyTeam Elite Plus status with this SkyTeam status match for Qantas, Virgin Australia and many other airlines.