Virgin Atlantic has unveiled more details about its forthcoming domestic flights, which are scheduled to launch from the end of this month.
Services will operate under the branding “Little Red”, with flights from Heathrow to Manchester launching on March 31, followed by Edinburgh on April 5 and Aberdeen on April 9.
Customers will benefit from 23kg of free checked luggage, pre-assigned seats and free drinks and snacks, including “hot breakfasts on early morning flights” (bacon rolls and tea / coffee / juice, on flights departing before 0900).
Virgin says it has lined up “a series of exclusive brand partnerships” with Tryrells crisps, Bacardi Martini and Irn Bru (on Scottish services), and “is also exploring further exciting on-board product offerings, from Krispy Kreme doughnuts to The Collective Dairy yoghurts topped with Rude Health granola”.
Gold card holders and Upper Class passengers connecting to or from international services will be able to use shared lounge services at Aberdeen and Edinburgh (Servisair), and Manchester (Manchester Airport Authority Lounge). Lounge access will also be available at Heathrow T1 - Business Traveller is checking which facility will be used for this, and will publish here once this has been confirmed by Virgin.
Little Red will offer four return daily services to Manchester, six to Edinburgh and three to Aberdeen.
Virgin confirmed plans for the launch of services to Scotland in November last year, when it secured the rights to Heathrow slots freed up by the purchase of Bmi by BA’s parent company International Airlines Group (see online news November 19, 2012).
Unveiling the Little Red branding Virgin Atlantic’s founder and president Sir Richard Branson said:
“Virgin Atlantic has been on an incredible journey since we started with a single plane 29 years ago. Little Red represents the next step on that journey as we go head to head with British Airways to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money.
“The European Commission recognised that a British Airways monopoly would be undeniably bad for consumers and Virgin Atlantic Little Red will stop British Airways dominating routes and driving higher prices.”
Little Red services will operate from Heathrow Terminal 1, so passengers looking to connect to or from Virgin Atlantic’s international flights will need to transfer between there and Terminal 3.
Virgin says Little Red’s schedules will offer “excellent connections with Virgin Atlantic’s international flights”, and include “early flights to serve business fliers reaching morning meetings in each city”.
The carrier has published full timetables and connection possibilities for each new service on the following pages:
Virgin will operate domestic flights using single-class Airbus A320 aircraft leased from Aer Lingus (see online news December 10, 2012).
For more information visit virgin-atlantic.com.
Report by Mark Caswell