Virgin Atlantic joins SkyTeam

Smoother transits and the most convenient connection times possible will be just some of the wins for Virgin Atlantic customers now that the airline has officially become a SkyTeam Alliance member.

Virgin Atlantic has just become the newest member of the SkyTeam Alliance.

The UK-based airline’s official enrolment on 2 March positions Virgin Atlantic as SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, effectively enhancing the global airline alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester Airport.

Comprised of 18 airline members, SkyTeam is a global airline alliance that connects passengers across its expansive network. This means Virgin Atlantic has now added a further 15 airlines to its partnership roster, as the airline already partners with fellow SkyTeam members, Delta Airlines, Air France and KLM.

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SkyTeam Alliance members

Virgin Atlantic’s new membership is a be a big win for its customers who will benefit from more than 1,000 of the alliance’s global destinations, a network of over 750 airport lounges, as well as increased opportunities to earn and redeem points with all member airlines.

Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic said SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors that 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 maximised reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies,” Ms Weiss said.

virgin atlantic skyteam image

A highlight of the new partnership is that some Flying Club – Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program – members will also enjoy elite recognition benefits in the SkyTeam Alliance’s two tiers.

What are the Elite benefits?

By joining SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic has opened up new options for earning and burning Virgin points.

Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders will be recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, while Gold Card members will instantly achieve SkyTeam Elite Plus. 

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members can now take advantage of the following SkyTeam Elite privileges:

  • Priority airport standby
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority check in
  • Priority bag drop
  • Extra checked baggage allowance (weight or piece depending on the airline)
  • Ability to select preferred seats on board

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members have gained access to all SkyTeam Elite perks, as well as the following SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits:

  • Airport lounge access before international flights
  • Priority at airport transfer desks
  • Secure guaranteed bookings on sold-out flights
  • Immigration and security fast-track (when possible)
  • Additional checked baggage (20kg or one extra bag)
  • Priority baggage handling

What does this mean for Australia?

The news of Virgin Atlantic’s SkyTeam membership in London may seem quite far removed, but there are ways some Australian-based travellers could benefit.

Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program is now a hub for many to book SkyTeam Alliance member airline flights. As far as Australia is concerned, that involves consumers with access to the American Express Membership Rewards program.

Since Virgin Atlantic Flying Club happens to be a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards in Australia, those with access to Membership Rewards could very well convert points to Flying Club for redeeming reward seats on SkyTeam Alliance airlines.

What about Virgin Australia?

News of Virgin Atlantic joining the SkyTeam alliance has sparked some conversation around the likelihood of Virgin Australia doing the same.

It’s easy to see where this hopeful speculation comes from, seeing that if Virgin Australia were to join the SkyTeam Alliance, Velocity members would gain access to a broader network of global airline partners.

While the possibility of this coming straight off the back of Virgin Australia’s recent Qatar Airways partnership is certainly appealing, it’s safe to say that Virgin Australia appears to be focusing on re-establishing its position as a domestic airline of choice.

For now, we can safely conclude that chatter about Virgin Australia joining the SkyTeam alliance is just that, speculation.

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