Virgin Atlantic joins SkyteamBack to Forum
Yes, although there are worries about the effect on Manchester…
So, Virgin have said they can’t add any new routes to Manchester next year due to a ‘lack of trained pilots’. But just days later have stated more routes will be announced from Heathrow next summer. Must have found some pilots ‘down the back of the sofa’ as the saying goes…
— SPD travels 🚄✈️🌉 (@SPD_travels) September 27, 202227 Sep 2022
… and access to the lounge (Club Houses)
Skyteam has updated its website to include the news and also has some questions and answers on it.
Will Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LHR and others worldwide be available to all SkyTeam customers?
“We’re working closely with Virgin Atlantic regarding access to the Clubhouses. Our ambition is that all Elite Plus members will have access to every one of the Clubhouses. We know that they are world famous and will bring significant new benefits to the relevant SkyTeam members.”
Will SkyTeam customers benefit from the Upper Class Wing at LHR?
“We’re working closely with Virgin Atlantic regarding access to the Upper Class Wing.”
1 user thanked author for this post.27 Sep 2022
Is Skyteam a a real player in the airline alliance game ?
Reading the above it all reads as being a pretty loose group comprised of largely ‘also rans’ who were perhaps not wanted by the leading alliances apart from perhaps KLM/Air France who don’t seem to belong in the company of such bottom feeders as Malaysian, Air Europa Geruda,and Aeroflot.28 Sep 2022
Skyteam also includes Delta, AeroMexico, Aerolineas Argentians, Kenya Airways, Korean Air.
Air Europa was’courted’ by IAG for a while possibly due to it’s Latin America routes/competition with Iberia.28 Sep 2022
Is Skyteam a a real player in the airline alliance game ?
Valid question cwoodward.
With alliances must depends on where one lives or works.
For example, Skyteam comes last in the UK (although matters might improve in the future) whereas it’s obviously top in France or Netherlands.
Likewise in Germany/Switzerland/Austria where Star is the leader.28 Sep 2022
As I said AeroMexico, Aerolineas Argentians, Kenya Airways, Korean Air Aeroflot Czech, Tatum, Xiamen Air – are not exactly the world’s most prestigious or sought after airlines and there are many more in the same vain.
Sky team I would suggest is not number one in any major markets inc Europe. Delta would give some presents in the USA market though and perhaps that was the trigger for Virgin? As Alex suggests ST would rate higher in France and Netherlands but would it actually be number one in ether.28 Sep 2022
It’s a win for Skyteam as they get a prestigious new airline member and increased access to the UK market, as well as increasing their share of transatlantic, to better compete with One World.
It’s also a win for Virgin, as in today’s environment being a member of an airline alliance brings huge benefits in terms of partnerships, interlining and operational flexibility. BA’s membership of One World has enabled it to wet lease Qatar aircraft and crews on numerous occasions; and likewise Virgin can now call upon Sky Team partners to assist in operating flights if necessary. (filling in while Dreamliners have to be fixed, taking up the slack if Virgin suffers recruitment issues etc)
Virgin/Delta/Air France/KLM will become a strong player across the Atlantic, and be able to better compete with BA/American/Iberia29 Sep 2022
If VS exclude top Sky Team members from their amazing Upper Class Wing including check in, is it any different from QATAR not allowing entrance to their flagship First Class lounge and personalised check in, in Doha to One World Emerald?
1 user thanked author for this post.29 Sep 2022
Good point Martyn. I suspect the same policy will apply…
But as I said under the news article I think this is good news and I do not know why they took so long. But because of this I would be more likely to choose VS as well as Skyteam carriers as there a greater chance to get status and also having it recognised at the other airlines.
So for example I would now be more likely to choose VS/DL on North Atlantic, or TAROM if wanting to go to Bucharest, or KQ if wanting to go eastern or southern Africa.
Above in this thread some posters have not felt some of the fellow Skyeam members were of much quality, but for example Aeromexico I have heard good things, Korean apparently are excellent (reserving judgment on the recent clash at LHR), and years ago I took a number of flights with Kenya Airways and all were superb. All alliances have good and less-desirable carriers!
It will be interesting what “new routes” will be offered from LHR as promised in the media releases, and wonder if these will merely be codeshares or actual new routes bearing in mind slot limitations. Perhaps this is worthy for a separate forum discussion!
I do wonder thought if soon KL and AF might start to use widebodies on the LHR route.29 Sep 2022
Hello sparkyflier – Both AF and KLM used to operate wide-bodies at LHR for selected flights … generally those at busy times to feed their hubs.
Back in the 1970s when I began flying KLM it would operate long haul DC-8/63 aircraft a couple of times a day from LHR to cope with demand.
However both carriers have lost market share over the years.
AF has lost traffic to Eurostar. KLM has moved capacity from LHR to LCY. I mean I checked a Friday in late October and KLM now operates more flights from LCY than from LHR.29 Sep 2022
The logic would appear to be the same. Also BA do not allow top tier members of other onework airlines into the Concorde Room or even all of their own – though I would say the gulf in difference in quality between Clubhouse, the Qatar lounge and the Concorde Room is marked.29 Sep 2022
Alex you are right re widebody planes being used in flights into London to support their hubs. Indeed I remember KL using A310s into AMS and the old Swissair using A310s into both GVA and ZRH in the 80s.
But as you said AF has had more competition from Eurostar however as your recent piece said they are cutting back capacity due to Brexit, so wonder if that might drive more business back to AF…
And in Amsterdam KL is now not able to expand due to environmental and capacity issues, so perhaps a way KL can “expand” is via LHR using VS. LCY is preferable for point to point and City etc, but for connections LHR provides an additional option in addition to CDG and Delta hubs etc. So perhaps we will see A330/787 flights to London in the next year.29 Sep 2022