VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Still Red Hot For 25 Years

INTRODUCTION
Virgin Atlantic is an airline under the ownership of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (51%) and Singapore Airlines (49%). The airline has its headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex, England.

The airline operates flights between the United Kingdom and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. The airline has a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft. Virgin Atlantic has a CAA Type A Operating License for passenger, cargo and mail transfer on aircrafts.

HISTORY

British Atlantic Airways was set up by Randolph Fields and Alan Hellary as a successor to Laker airways. Fields had an idea of operating flights between London and Falkland Islands in 1982. He required the service from an expert and hence contacted the former chief pilot for Laker Airways, Hellary. Both worked on the plan.

The improvement plan at Port Stanley Airport didn’t happen as planned and hence the idea was dropped. With a plan to secure license from Gatwick to John F.Kennedy international Airport in New York City, both failed in that option as well. Their next plan was to secure license for operation between Gatwick and Newark Liberty International Airport. A 380-seat DC-10 was finalized for operation. Due to competition, both decided to increase funds and gain more security for their operation.

In a party in Central London, Fields met Richard Branson and intended a business partnership. The airline was renamed Virgin Atlantic and after several negotiations and competitions, the operations commenced in 1984.

The airline was the rival of British Airways as it was the only British airline operating to long haul routes.

SERVICES

Economy

Economy class is Virgin Atlantic’s standard coach class. Free meals, drinks and amenity kits are offered to passengers. The seat pitch is a minimum of 31in and adjustable lumbar seats are available in updated economy seats.

Premium Economy

Premium Economy offers additional facilities which include separate check-in area, wider seats with more legroom, preflight drink and dedicated cabin crew. The airline launched the updated Economy class in November 2006. Heathrow-based A340 aircraft, all Airbus A340s, Heathrow Boeing 747s and upper deck on London Gatwick Boeing 747s have this premium class service.

Upper Class

Upper Class is an equivalent service to Business Class service offered by other airlines. The seating is the same as a big fully flat bed found in Business Class. In this class, facilities like in-seat laptop power and power leads for iPods, a larger menu, in-flight bar, access to chauffeur, driver thru check-in and private security channel at some airports are offered.

IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

All Virgin Atlantic aircrafts provide personal seat-back televisions with entertainment channels. Some 747-400s, one A340-300, and all A340-600s have an AVOD system called V: Port. Odyssey and Super Nova IFE systems are found on aircrafts based at London Gatwick and Manchester Airport. Audio and video is displayed on a loop and they have smaller screens.

LOYALTY PROGRAMME

Virgin Atlantic Frequent Flyer Programme offers three types of membership: Red, Silver and Gold. Any passenger can become a Red tier member with free registration. Silver Tier members have to earn 15 tier points within a year and it is 40 tier points for Gold Tier membership.