Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic today unveiled a codeshare agreement across 108 routes that offers passengers seamless connections to 66 destinations across North America and the UK.
The announcement coincides with Delta completing the acquisition of its 49 per cent stake in the British carrier, as previously reported on Business Traveller (see online news, December 2012).
Virgin Atlantic will place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic US routes.
Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including the recently launched Little Red domestic UK services connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The codesharing flights begin on July 3 and can be booked from June 29.
The agreement will offer Sky Miles and Flying Club loyalty customers up to 125 per cent bonus miles on all Delta and Virgin flights, and not just those in the codeshare agreement.
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members and Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond members will receive reciprocal access to Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
These passengers will also receive priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Virgin Atlantic and Delta operated flights worldwide.
Ed Bastian, Delta’s president, said: "This is a strategic investment that enhances Delta’s network with greatly improved access to London Heathrow, the leading marketplace on the trans-Atlantic.
"As we unite two leading global airline brands in an innovative partnership that focuses on delivering enhanced benefits and services for our customers, we also become a more formidable competitor across the Atlantic."
Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic CEO, added: "As new shareholders in the airline, Delta is an important ally in the all-important trans-Atlantic market. We can stand firm together against the competition and can now offer more destinations, a smoother connecting airport experience and ultimately the best trans-Atlantic on board experience."