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PRIDE: Business Travel

How airlines are marking Pride Month

June marks Pride Month – we have taken a look at how some airlines are marking the celebration

Lufthansa

Lovehansa: June 2022’s ‘Lovehansa’ livery

To mark Pride Month, Lufthansa is taking off with a very special aircraft to destinations throughout Europe.

The Airbus A320neo with the registration D-AINY will become “Lovehansa” for the next six months.

On the outside of the aircraft, the Lufthansa livery has been replaced by a specially-designed “Lovehansa” marque, painted in the colours of the rainbow.

The welcome panel at the entrance will also have a special rainbow design.

Rainbow seats: onboard the Lovehansa

In addition, when looking out of the aircraft window, hearts in rainbow colours can be seen on the winglets. The first flight of the “Lovehansa” took place on 10 June to Billund in Denmark (LH842).

Lufthansa claims it is ‘a company that stands for openness, diversity and understanding’. And, with the “Lovehansa” special livery, ‘the company is sending another clear signal and making this important part of its corporate culture prominent and visible to the outside world’.


Virgin Atlantic

A three-year sponsorship of Manchester Pride – the UK’s largest Pride event – is probably the most public celebration of the LGBT+ community from Virgin Atlantic.

Pride: Manchester Pride’s CEO, Mark Fletcher (middle), with crew announces Virgin Atlantic’s three-year headline sponsorship of the festival

Virgin Atlantic are also the first-ever sponsor, in a ten-year agreement, of the Attitude Awards.

In 2020 the airline entered a multiyear partnership with Open for Business, launching the Caribbean Local Influencer Program to champion the business rationale for LGBTQ+ inclusion across the islands. The two-phased approach to the partnership with Open for Business consists of a research phase to understand business and socioeconomic impact of excluding the LGBTQ+ community, and a second phase to build a network of business leaders and civil society, using the research to advance LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.

But on an individual level, Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen, has written eloquently and from the heart about his experiences in the corporate world, in a blog piece:

In the workplace, organisations that will thrive in the future are those which put inclusivity at the heart of their strategy. At Virgin Atlantic, we live by our purpose – everyone can take on the world – and we take inclusion and diversity seriously. To me, it’s so important that we foster a culture of belonging and actively encourage every single one of our people to be themselves at work every day. After years of not wanting to divulge my sexuality at work or in business networks, joining this airline in 2019 was a breath of fresh air. About one month into my role, I was asked to share an introductory post on our internal communications platform, Workplace, and it was the first time in my career that I’d felt comfortable and proud sharing exactly who I was: ‘Juha, a Finnish-born 43-year old with a love of travel, running & hot yoga, and lastly – but most importantly – happily married to my husband, Jussi’.


United

United Airlines ‘recognise, embrace and celebrate the differences that make our customers and employees unique’.

EQUAL: United’s inclusive business resource group that benefits lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally coworkers.

United also claim to be ‘committed to creating an inclusive work environment while contributing to the diverse communities we serve. As a part of this mission, we believe it’s important to support the LGBTQ+ community by upholding inclusive policies and practices, partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations, and hosting programmes and engagement events to honour the LGBTQ+ community’.

United maintain sponsorships of, and relationships with, several organisations:


JetBlue

JetBlue is commemorating Pride Month with a series of special events and support for various LGBTQ+ organisations and partners throughout the month of June… and beyond.

Icema Gibbs, vice president CSR and DEI, JetBlue said,

At JetBlue, we believe the LGBTQ+ community should be supported year round, beyond Pride month, and we will continue to stand for the right for every crewmember and customer to feel safe and valued—while ensuring we are marching towards a more equal, inclusive and just world.

Gender-inclusive: JetBlue’s uniform and hair and makeup policy offers crewmembers a combination of uniform pieces, rather than pre-selected items based on binary gender terms.

JetBlue is a long-time supporter of The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), which leverages the historic significance of the New York City LGBTQ+ landmark to help other communities that don’t have the same LGBTQ+ resources or support.

The airline continues to serve as the official airline of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center – known locally as The Center. Since 1983, The Center has been supporting, fostering and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community of New York City and empowers people to lead healthy, successful lives. 

And last year, JetBlue rolled out ‘a new uniform policy with a vast range of apparel and hair and makeup preferences for all crewmembers, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, age and body type’. By adopting a gender-inclusive program, JetBlue ensures that all crewmembers, regardless of gender identity, can feel represented.


Cape Air

Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts, operating scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, the Caribbean, Midwest, and Eastern Montana.

Cape Air: a Pride-themed plane to its fleet for June. Pic: PROVINCETOWN BANNER/TAMORA ISRAEL

The airline introduced a Pride-themed plane at a media event hosted at Provincetown Municipal Airport.

Linda Markham, Cape Air CEO said

Putting a Pride flag not only on the wings, but on the tail of the plane means so much to us because we’re such a diverse organisation and we really want to celebrate inclusivity and equality.


American Airlines


KLM


Delta Air Lines


easyJet


Alaska Airlines


Virgin Atlantic celebrates the Platinum Jubilee with treats at 38,000 feet

Virgin Atlantic is marking the momentous occasion that is The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next weekend.

Customers flying to the US and Caribbean over the bank holiday weekend will be treated to extra special delicacies to celebrate Her Majesty’s historic 70-year reign.

Those travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s Economy class will be greeted with a milk chocolate crown lolly wrapped and tied with a festive red ribbon.

Virgin Atlantic is celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Premium and Upper Class customers will be offered a delicious Platinum Jubilee Mile High Tea, including a duo of finger sandwiches and a selection of mini patisseries.

The delectable cakes will be a Victoria sponge financier, a chocolate and tonka macaron, and a delicious vanilla and strawberry Battenberg with Virgin Atlantic purple-coloured marzipan.

A quintessentially English cocktail will accompany the bespoke Mile High Tea, using Hambledon English Sparkling Wine and Fever-Tree sweet British Rhubarb and Raspberry tonic.

The personalised beverage will also be available in the Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow Clubhouse, which will be wonderfully decorated to commemorate the occasion. 

Pratt Standard’s Earl Grey Vanilla Syrup, available only seasonally, is inspired by the London Fog

The celebrations are also stretching to the United States, with Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses across America also honouring the Platinum Jubilee.

Customers stopping by in San Francisco, JFK and Washington DC Clubhouses will have the chance to try out a special ‘Earl Grey Jubi-Tea’ cocktail, created with the Pratt Standard Cocktail Company’s Earl Grey Vanilla Syrup.

Pratt Standard are a woman-owned business based in Washington DC that prides itself on responsibly sourced ingredients and quality, perfectly aligning with the Virgin Atlantic five-star experience. 

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer & Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic said:

We’re delighted to take part in the celebrations for the momentous occasion that is The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next weekend. The Jubilee weekend marks a significant moment in history and we look forward to celebrating this memorable moment with our customers.

At Virgin Atlantic, creating personalised experiences and magical moments for our customers is what we do best, from the moment they arrive at the airport to when they land at their destination. From enhancing our already delicious inflight

Virgin Atlantic returns to daily Heathrow-Cape Town flights

Virgin Atlantic has announced its return to Cape Town.

A new daily service starts on 5 November 2022 and the service will operate on a Boeing 787-9 with Virgin stating fares start from £711 return in Economy.

The aircraft boasts three classes, Upper Class, Premium and Economy offering different experiences for customers as well as the airline’s world-famous social space.

The new winter service runs until 24t March 2022 and will complement the existing year-round daily service to Johannesburg. 

The airline stated that ‘with demand for travel increasing’ passengers can ‘take full advantage of the beautiful destination with easier access than ever before’.

Business travellers often extend their trips to take in Robin Island, where customers can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held; and some wish to challenge their adventurous side by riding the cable cars to Table Mountain’s flat top for sweeping views of the city.

Cape Town is the gateway to the Cape Winelands, the country’s top region for wine tasting tours. 

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:  

We’re incredibly excited to return to the fabulous city of Cape Town with daily services from November. 

Although a little later than we we’d have liked due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the move reflects the fact that travel is recovering and global demand for holidays to sunny, premium destinations is returning at pace.

We’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route who will rightly be taking advantage of the winter sun, exploring the world-renowned wine regions and soaking up the rich culture this incredible country has to offer.

Route facts

Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2021, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fifth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. 

Behind the scenes with Virgin Atlantic’s new advertising campaign

Virgin Atlantic has launched a new brand and advertising campaign – the first in more than two years since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The campaign has been created with newly appointed advertising agency Lucky Generals and introduces the end line “See the world differently”, a line that draws on the airline’s heritage of challenging the status quo – as well as recognising that the travel industry is entering an exciting new era, after the disruption brought on by the pandemic.

You can see a behind-the-scenes view of the filming of the commercial which took place over five days, in three locations and starred Virgin Atlantic pilots, crew and front line team, below:

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic CEO explained what is at the heart of the campaign: 

At the core of our business is the understanding that every one of our people can be themselves at work and that they belong. They truly are the thing that sets us apart and the reason customers choose to fly with us.

We know that the touchpoints that matter most and the experiences that differentiate Virgin Atlantic, are driven by our people and that’s why it was so important they’re at the heart of this campaign.

Annabelle Cordelli, Vice President, Brand & Marketing at Virgin Atlantic said,

It’s more important than ever that we reimagine the world and lead the way with fresh ideas. Virgin Atlantic is uniquely placed to do this because of the rich individuality of our people and our customers: the unique people who march to their own drumbeat, fly their own path, see things from a different angle.

So it makes sense to start by championing them – and then apply this spirit to everything we do. After two challenging years when life has been on pause, it’s time to see the world differently.

Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2021, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fifth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs 6,500 people worldwide, flying customers to 27 destinations across four continents.       

Virgin Atlantic elevates its customer experience

Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a series of new experiences that will be exclusively available on its A350s.

‘The Booth’ is the latest innovation in Virgin Atlantic’s industry leading social spaces and is available on its A350s with a leisure configuration.  Tucked away in the Upper Class cabin, The Booth aspires to create a cosy corner, providing comfy lounge style seating. It offers a number of experiences for two, including private dining and wine and cognac tasting.    

Upper Class customers can experience wine tasting with new drinks supplier, ‘The Uncommon’

The wine tasting experience will see drinks by The Uncommon feature for the first time on-board Virgin Atlantic.

The Uncommon is the UK’s number one producer of wine in a can and is paving the way for a new English wine era with its locally grown, sustainably made wine and spritzers. 

Customers in The Booth will be able to sample a thoughtfully curated selection of three wines from The Uncommon, which include an English White and Rose, alongside a lighter  spritzer – perfect to tantalise the tastebuds at 38,000 ft. 

For customers seeking a slightly richer experience, a cognac tasting experience with chocolate pairings courtesy of Delamain is also available. 

Delamain has been crafting some of the world’s finest cognacs for over two centuries and across nine generations.

Every Delamain cognac is crafted from deux-de-vie sourced from cognac’s finest terroir, the Grande Champagne. 

Every customer taking part in the tasting experience will receive a tasting glass to keep as a memento of their Virgin Atlantic journey. 

Further experiences on offer in The Booth include ‘Dinner for Two’ private dining for two and ‘Game Time’ where guests can compete with their travel partner thanks to exclusive Virgin Atlantic playing cards. 

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operations Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented;
 

We always strive to create brilliantly different experiences for our customers and the introduction of The Booth demonstrates this perfectly.  We’re famous for our on-board social spaces and The Booth elevates the customer proposition to new heights.

Whether that’s sampling the leading English wines from The Uncommon, sipping Delamain’s  signature cognac or simply enjoying a game of rummy at 38,000 feet, we’ve got something on offer to suit every one of our customers’ tastes.

Virgin Atlantic’s social spaces provide an unique opportunity for customers to interact with each other, alongside the airline’s famous cabin crew.  In the coming months the airline hopes to roll out further rich experiences for its customers across its entire fleet.

Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A350 is  powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and continues Virgin Atlantic’s investment in a more sustainable fleet. It’s designed to be 30% more fuel and carbon efficient than the Boeing 747s it replaced and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at its airports by more than half.

The Booth was designed collaboratively by Virgin Atlantic’s in-house design team alongside London design agency Factorydesign.

My favourite airline: Virgin Atlantic – Scott Pawley

Scott Pawley, Managing Director of Global Travel Management shares his favourite airline and tells us why Virgin Atlantic.  

Charismatic, fun and cheeky: Virgin Atlantic was built in the image of its founder, Richard Branson

The best airline depends on the destination you’re travelling to and the level of service you expect.  So, in choosing my favourite airline I took note of the range of destinations covered and the which airlines ‘go the extra mile.  And, taking account of those two criteria, Virgin Atlantic can rightly claim to be a great airline.  

Since 1984, when Richard Branson expanded his empire from music and entertainment to the aviation industry, the Virgin brand has competed for passenger traffic on some of the most popular routes.  And, as Scott says, they set about changing the way customers saw airlines.  

They had a culture of simply giving passengers everything they wanted and needed – a clubbed together several minds that knew exactly what people want.  Not surprising from a brand that launched Culture Club and Simple Minds. 

They gave legitimacy to having a business with a cheeky personality; but always managed to stay the right side of ‘over the top’. 

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson shows off a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-XWB at Farnborough Air Show

Onboard massages and seat-back video games were among the offers that got Virgin Atlantic noticed and kept them at the forefront of people’s thought. 

Scott also drew parallels between Virgin’s airline brand and Global Travel Management.  

It’s a company that embraced innovation, offered a great service and competed with much bigger, established competitors.  It’s exactly how we at GTM have approached the business travel industry: innovating, providing the best-possible offering and showing how an independent, smaller travel management company can provide a better service than some of the venture capital-owned agencies.  

Although Scott didn’t extend the similarity much further. 

I haven’t flown hot air balloons, abseiled down the Matterhorn or launched people into space.  Yet.  

Scott explained some of the things that sets Virgin Atlantic apart:

The Wander Wall in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium cabin is one of the little things that keeps the airline’s passengers happy in flight

The Wander Wall is an innovative idea from Virgin Atlantic which offers Premium Economy passengers the opportunity to choose from a selection of snacks and soft drinks mid-flight; I’m not aware of any other airline offering such a facility to its Premium Economy passengers.

Also, the Clubhouse. The design and layout are a divergence from the normal type of Business Class lounges at airports all over the world. For example, there is also the Clubhouse Retreat, a relaxation area where passengers can relax prior to their flight, or, go to the opposite extreme and jump on a Peloton.

But what’s most important for business travellers is whether an airline can get them to the place they need to go. Virgin’s network of destinations means that passengers travelling to many parts of North America and Europe can find a route on Virgin or one of its joint venture partners, Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you’re flying to a Virgin Atlantic destination.

Virgin Atlantic launches new services to Austin, Texas

Virgin Atlantic is launching new direct services to Austin, the capital of the Lonestar state of Texas and the airline’s first new route to the US since 2015.

The four times a week service will launch on 25 May 2022 and will operate on the airline’s 787-9 aircraft boasting 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats.

Austin is the fourth most populated city in the state with 7.7million passengers travelling through the airport in 2019. The city is known as the “live music capital of the world” and is famed for its art and foodie scene as well as a wide range of outdoors activities.

Austin is also known as a growing tech hub with businesses such as Apple, Tesla, Facebook, IBM and Oracle all opening up bases, giving the city the nickname “Silicon Hills”.  This booming region is a key focus for Virgin Atlantic and its expanded joint venture partners, with Delta Air Lines offering connections from Austin to 10 US cities, Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Raleigh Durham, JFK. KLM also looks forward to launching three-times weekly services from Amsterdam to Austin on 28t March 2022 offering even more choice for customers both side of the Atlantic to connect between the US and Europe.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: 

We are incredibly excited to launch this new service to Austin, Texas. With an impressive food, arts and music scene, we know it’s a destination our customers will love to explore.

The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. Since US borders opened to UK travellers on 8 November, it feels extra special to be launching new flying, especially to the fantastic city of Austin.

There are so many synergies between Virgin Atlantic and the city of Austin. We love their philosophy and desire to celebrate local brands, businesses and communities and we cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this fabulously quirky city.

Jacqueline Yaft , CEO, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport commented:

We are thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic to Austin and Central Texas. This exciting new partnership helps meet our goals of continued recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and furthers our commitment to being the Gateway of Central Texas for both leisure and business travelers alike.

As Virgin Atlantic recovers from the pandemic, the airline continues to work towards its vision of becoming the most loved travel company. With new Caribbean services to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas and St Lucia as well as new flying from Edinburgh to Barbados launching tin 2021, the airline is focussed on serving the destinations we know our customers love to visit. Later this year, Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK airline to receive the A330neo aircraft which not only boasts a step change to its Upper Class Suite and social space for customers but will help transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky.

Flights are on sale from Wednesday 12 January.

To help customers book with confidence, Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving further flexibility to customers to support future travel plans.  The updated flexible booking policy enables Virgin Atlantic customers making a new holiday or flight-only booking for travel up to 31 December 2022, to make as many changes as necessary to their travel dates, origin or destination, with the change fees waived, as well as one free name change.

Virgin Atlantic supports World Health Organization Foundation’s ‘Go Give One’ campaign through onboard donations

Virgin Atlantic is supporting the World Health Organization Foundation’s Go Give One campaign through onboard donations this December.

The campaign funds Covid-19 vaccines for middle and lower-income countries to help close the global vaccine equity gap. 

As the impact of Covid-19 continues globally, the campaign calls on everyone, everywhere to play their part in helping to offer much needed vaccines to the world. Created by the WHO Foundation, the money raised goes to an international financing mechanism called Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), which buys COVID-19 vaccines, prioritising those who need them the most in countries that cannot afford them. The campaign is asking individuals to donate £4, which is the cost of a single vaccine, with the aim to get 50 million people across the world to take part.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: 

We know that en masse vaccine programmes work, thanks to the success we’ve seen in developed nations around the world, but unless we support lower-income countries in accessing these vaccines, we will not beat this global threat.

By supporting the WHO Foundation in raising funds for the Go Give One campaign through our onboard donations this month, our teams and customers can play a part in helping to close the gap.

The WHO Foundation and Virgin Atlantic are grateful for every contribution. It costs just £4 to buy a vaccine, meaning even the smallest donations can go a long way.

Successful vaccination programmes are the route out of the pandemic and we must all play our part in combatting this virus; together we can do our bit to offer vaccines to the world and beat Covid

Anil Soni, Chief Executive Officer, WHO Foundation said:

Getting vaccines to people who need them most is vital to help end the pandemic. We are delighted to have Virgin Atlantic support vaccine equity through the Go Give One campaign with onboard donations and the additional donation through the Foundation. The travel industry has been stepping up through our coalition efforts. Only by working together can we close the gap and ensure vaccines for everyone, everywhere.

For further information on the campaign and to donate, visit https://gogiveone.org/virgin-atlantic

Transatlantic take-off, synchronised

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic made history today, when their first flights of the day took part in a fully-synchronised joint take-off from London’s Heathrow Airport.

British Airways Flight BA001 – a flight number previously reserved for Concorde – left Heathrow at 08:30 this morning, 8 November, in a first-ever synchronised take-off with Virgin Atlantic flight VS3.

The spectacular double take-off were the airlines’ first flights to the United States since the restrictions on UK and EU passengers were first imposed in March 2020.

British Airways flight BA001 and Virgin Atlantic VS3 performed a synchronised joint take-off from London’s Heathrow Airport this morning

The first British Airways flight to the United States since the lifting on that country’s restrictions used sustainable aviation fuel.

The British Airways A350 flight was directly powered by a 35% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) provided by bp and made from used cooking oil. The airline claims it is believed to be the first commercial transatlantic flight ever to be operated with such a significant level of the fuel blended with traditional jet fuel.

In September, British Airways announced a collaboration with bp to source sustainable aviation fuel in
respect of all flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during the UK COP26 conference.
British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group recently committed to operating 10% of
its flights using SAF by 2030.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive thanked the UK government and the Biden administration for their work to remove the barriers to transatlantic travel

The lifting of US restrictions after more than 600 days means that fully vaccinated Britons are now able to travel freely between the two countries – something that has not happened since 16 March 2020.

The changes have enabled British Airways to re-start direct services to 17 US destinations. The airline is set to extend its services to 23 US airports this winter, with up to 246 flights a week. Flights to New York will increase from five to eight per day in December. There will also be double-daily services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Miami and Toronto, as well as daily services to Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Houston and Vancouver.

UK Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, said:

Today is an incredibly exciting and meaningful day for the UK-US relationship. We can all once again travel to each other’s countries to visit families, take holidays, and conduct transatlantic business. I am absolutely thrilled that safe and sustainable travel can fully resume between the UK and the United States.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive said:

Today is a time for celebration, not rivalry.  Together with British Airways we are delighted to mark today’s important milestone, which finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence.  The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic.  We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations including Boston, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.

As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes. The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, through boosting trade and tourism. We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their support in removing these barriers and allowing free travel between our countries to resume.

Secretary of State, Grant Shapps said

Thanks to the work of industry and the US-UK Experts Working Group, these vitally important flight routes will help boost the economy, protect and create British jobs and through the work of the Jet Zero Council help to build back greener.

Virgin Atlantic has announced the reopening of its Clubhouse at New York JFK airport from 19 July.

Upper Class customers, Flying Club Gold members as well as Delta’s Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members, can once again enjoy access to the airline’s flagship North America lounge enjoying a complimentary a la carte menu featuring five-star dining, tapas dishes and afternoon tea plus a wide selection of cocktails, wine and soft drinks.

Customers visiting in the morning can choose from a selection of breakfast favourites including eggs benedict, avocado on toast and a full English breakfast and for those visiting later in the day, the chicken tikka masala and the famous vegan Beyond Burger are on offer, washed down by a selection of beverages including the iconic Virgin Redhead cocktail.

The Clubhouse experience has been tailored to ensure the safety of customers. Customers will be encouraged to remain in their seated areas and enjoy table service from the Clubhouse team.

In addition, Virgin Atlantic has announced a new partnership with Plaza Premium Group which will now be responsible for the day to day running of the JFK Clubhouse under the guidance of the Virgin Atlantic team. Virgin Atlantic will also work with Plaza Premium for the Clubhouses in Boston, San Francisco, Washington and Johannesburg once they reopen as travel restrictions around the world start to relax.

Whilst customers will continue to enjoy the Clubhouse experience, the award-winning Plaza Premium group will bring a wealth of experience to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse offering. The Group has won more than 60 accolades in the last five years, including “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge” for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer commented,

We’re delighted to welcome customers back to our Clubhouse at New York JFK offering the signature Virgin Atlantic experience we know they have missed over the past 18 months. With the friendly faces of our Clubhouse team, enhanced health and safety measures at every touchpoint and our innovative food and beverage offering, we will ensure our customers fly safe and fly well.

We look forward to expanding our partnership with Plaza Premium Group to our Clubhouses in North America and South Africa. Our shared values of top-notch hospitality, the most hospitable teams in the industry, a pioneering mindset and dedication to innovation will ensure our customers enjoy every moment of their journey as travel restrictions begin to relax and demand for global travel returns fast.

Bora Isbulan, Chief Commercial Officer, Plaza Premium Group told us,

Plaza Premium Group is delighted to be collaborating with Virgin Atlantic, one of the world’s most innovative and respected airline brand, in offering seamless services in their Clubhouses. With 22 years of experience in creating exquisite, award-winning airport moments, the PPG team look forward to serving Virgin Atlantic passengers a memorable and deliver each of these signature lounge experiences to life.  This unique partnership sees two global travel brands offering the brand’s unique perspectives on airport hospitality, design and service that leaves an imprint with each visit. We are here with aligned mission and goals, joining hands to offer an elevated airport journey in supporting the return of travel. We are looking forward to working with like-minded partners to bring a brand new lounge experience and provide world-class lounge experience in welcoming global travellers.

Virgin Atlantic and Plaza Premium Lounge have also agreed on the co-development of lounges in other key hubs within the airline’s network.