Strengthening the Skies: Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s 10-Year Partnership Transforms Transatlantic Travel

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are marking a decade of their joint venture partnership, an alliance initiated in 2014 to enhance transatlantic travel between the U.S. and the U.K. This collaboration was further strengthened with the inclusion of Air France-KLM in 2020, creating a prominent joint venture across the Atlantic.

Delta Air Lines 757-200
[Image: Delta Air Lines]

Over these ten years, the partnership has notably expanded its network, increasing routes and flights between the U.K. and the U.S. This expansion has facilitated the transport of nearly 40 million customers between the two countries, emphasizing seamless transatlantic travel.

Matteo Curcio, Delta’s S.V.P.-EMEAI, reflected on the partnership’s journey, stating, “Since we brought together our two iconic brands, the partnership has gone from strength to strength thanks to a shared focus on customer service and making flying fun. Back in 2014, the partnership deal was a game changer for Delta enabling us to up competition on the most popular business routes between London Heathrow and the U.S., offering customers greater choice, while providing Virgin Atlantic unparalleled access to Delta’s network across North America.”

Significant Growth in Shared Network Between the U.S. and U.K. Over a Decade

The alliance has brought several customer benefits, notably increased choice and flexibility. Currently, the airlines jointly operate up to 86 daily nonstop flights between the U.K. and the U.S., a near 40% rise since the partnership’s inception. The schedule includes up to 34 peak-day departures from London Heathrow to 15 U.S. destinations. The integration of Virgin Atlantic into the SkyTeam alliance in 2023, alongside Delta and Air France-KLM, has further broadened travel options and enhanced service consistency.

Advancements in technology have been a key focus, with investments enabling smoother travel experiences. These include automated bag drop at London Heathrow, real-time RFID bag tracking via the Fly Delta app, and biometric scanning at U.S. gateways.

Building Better Airports: Investments in Premium Lounges and State-of-the-Art Terminals

The partnership also emphasizes smoother connections, with co-located facilities at key airports in both countries, facilitating easier transitions to over 220 destinations across North America. Additionally, both airlines have invested in product innovation, offering four distinct product experiences, encompassing diverse food, drink, entertainment, and Wi-Fi options.

Enhancements in airport experiences are evident, with ongoing investments in Delta’s U.S. hubs leading to state-of-the-art terminals and premium lounges, alongside the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing and Clubhouse at London Heathrow, providing superior experiences for premium customers.

The partnership also offers greater reciprocity in terms of mile earnings and redemptions, and efficient freight handling, with a shared Cargo facility at London Heathrow capable of managing same-day shipments of various types.

Juha Jarvinen, E.V.P.-Commercial for Virgin Atlantic, commented, “We said at the time: ‘great minds fly alike’ and that’s as true today as it was back then. Our two award-winning airlines have flown millions of customers across the Atlantic and driven forward meaningful change in service excellence and responsible travel over the last decade to deliver the best travel experience for our customers.”

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