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#962879 by ColOrd
26 Nov 2021, 20:43
Seems to have been confirmed by Weaver33/SPD

I’ve defended previous Manc reductions but MAN-ATL has opped for years with DL and then VS! I don’t understand this strategically at all!
#962883 by 747G-VXLG
26 Nov 2021, 21:22
ColOrd wrote:Seems to have been confirmed by Weaver33/SPD

I’ve defended previous Manc reductions but MAN-ATL has opped for years with DL and then VS! I don’t understand this strategically at all!


They’ve really screwed up with the number of aircraft they retired a they’ve now can’t fix it until the Autumn. They probably should have kept a couple of 747s or A340s in long term storage and utilised them until they had the fleet issue sorted.
#962884 by nicsbx
26 Nov 2021, 21:34
747G-VXLG wrote:
ColOrd wrote:Seems to have been confirmed by Weaver33/SPD

I’ve defended previous Manc reductions but MAN-ATL has opped for years with DL and then VS! I don’t understand this strategically at all!


They’ve really screwed up with the number of aircraft they retired a they’ve now can’t fix it until the Autumn. They probably should have kept a couple of 747s or A340s in long term storage and utilised them until they had the fleet issue sorted.

Is this the real reason behind all of these MAN cutbacks then? It’s all very excessive given they made such a big deal about MAN before COVID.
#962886 by 747G-VXLG
26 Nov 2021, 22:59
nicsbx wrote:
747G-VXLG wrote:
ColOrd wrote:Seems to have been confirmed by Weaver33/SPD

I’ve defended previous Manc reductions but MAN-ATL has opped for years with DL and then VS! I don’t understand this strategically at all!


They’ve really screwed up with the number of aircraft they retired a they’ve now can’t fix it until the Autumn. They probably should have kept a couple of 747s or A340s in long term storage and utilised them until they had the fleet issue sorted.

Is this the real reason behind all of these MAN cutbacks then? It’s all very excessive given they made such a big deal about MAN before COVID.


They are actually down 11 planes at the moment compared to before the pandemic. G-VDOT/RNB/TEA have replaced the 3 A340s. But the 7 747s have now gone and 2 A332s have gone and the other 2 probably won’t return to service. So as usual Manchester gets all of the cuts to the routes and Heathrow doesn’t.
#962889 by ColOrd
27 Nov 2021, 00:19
That’s a really good point and one I’d not fully taken cognisance of!

So GVEVE in effect starts the process for replacing the leisure fleet in terms of 747s. When are the others due to be delivered? Bare in mind there is an imbalance between outgoing 744s and incoming 16J config 35Ks anyway in that there was 7 of the former but only 5 of the latter.

I’m very sceptical at the moment on frequency plans for the summer timetable. LAX is back to 2 flights a day so that’s clearly sustainable, but summer 2022 has 3 on sale. SFO is showing as double daily again, a sizeable chunk of corporate traffic is supported by Silicone Valley which I understand has largely been deserted due to home working, is this really gonna return by Summer?

5 JFKs a day again? Plus DL? New York is a market where frequency and choice is king, but 5 already?!

Then they are selling pre-pandemic plans for double daily TLV and DEL, again are these needed?

I’ve almost switched sides in this debate now or is there too big a risk that VS will loose it’s Manc customer base and loose traction to Aer Lingus in favour of its current strategy?

I guess there is also the prized jewels of LHR slots and at what point the 80/20 rule is reinforced fully which might be driving decisions here?
#962890 by 747G-VXLG
27 Nov 2021, 01:44
ColOrd wrote:That’s a really good point and one I’d not fully taken cognisance of!

So GVEVE in effect starts the process for replacing the leisure fleet in terms of 747s. When are the others due to be delivered? Bare in mind there is an imbalance between outgoing 744s and incoming 16J config 35Ks anyway in that there was 7 of the former but only 5 of the latter.


The way I look at the leisure A350s replacing the 747s is that when virgin got the 747s they only originally had 5 leisure 747s (the Alitalia 5). Then when they did the refurbs they went up to 7 then onto 8 for a few years.
These are what the leisure A350s are really replacing:
G-VEVE is replacing G-VROS
G-VLIB is replacing G-VGAL
G-VBOB is replacing G-VLIP
G-VNVR is replacing G-VROM
G-VELJ is replacing G-VROY

I think the problem that Virgin have gotten themselves into is that they are going from 12 leisure configured planes in 2019 (744s and 332s) to 5 by summer 2023 (This is why I’ve been saying for quite some time that they’ll probably need to reconfigure some of the fleet). At the moment they don’t have any so they are using the business planes for the leisure routes and cancelling leisure routes.
#962897 by 747G-VXLG
27 Nov 2021, 14:40
OCdreamin wrote:planespotters.net lists the current VS fleet as 36, with 32 active and 4 parked


G-VSXY is in maintenance at XMN. I believe G-VCRU is also in maintenance at LHR.
The 2 A332s are at Manchester but are only have a few months left on their leases - highly unlikely they will fly passengers for Virgin again.
#962898 by OCdreamin
27 Nov 2021, 15:32
Noted. But G-VEVE is joining the fleet next month, making the number of operable aircraft 37.
And the 2 remaining A332s are airworthy and could service routes until they go off-lease.
Regardless of the maximum fleet size pre-pandemic, VS is now cancelling services including LAX, BGI, ATL, all of which were scheduled his year but largely inoperable due to restrictions. They still have those aircraft, minus just 2 A332s compared to 2020.
As suggested elsewhere, reduced staff numbers may explain some of the current decisions, but lack of aircraft really does not convincingly explain it. Put simply, it isn't that they are unable to fly routes from MAN. They choose not to.
#962907 by Joshl257
28 Nov 2021, 18:28
Wow really shocked by this I’m flying out on VS109 in 3 weeks so will be making a point of mentioning it at the airport. VS are not helping themselves with MAN first BGI then LAX now ATL you would think the VS management would realise with Aer Lingus UK starting operations they are just giving them the opportunity. I get aircraft might be a issue but like with my ATL flight in December it’s on the same plane as the ISB flight 787 so it might be they want an all A330 operation at Manchester going forward. I really don’t know what to do for next easter and summer on the back of this news I really doubt they will have a connection to SRQ from JFK what a mess.
#962908 by mitchja
28 Nov 2021, 19:16
I'm on the VS109 as well again at the end of Dec. That will be the last time as TBH, I'm giving up again now with VS at MAN here.

I ditched VS & MAN a while ago; not because of VS but because of the shocking MAN airport facilities. Whilst that is slowly improving there's no point flying VS from MAN any more now when they continue to cut routes to the US.
#962909 by VS075
28 Nov 2021, 22:28
Given the route’s long operating history, I’m very surprised DL haven’t taken it back for summer 2022, though I guess there’s still time for that to materialise.

Agree with everyone else on here that it’s disappointing to see. Confirms my suspicion that this is being driven by resources (or lack of) but it doesn’t inspire confidence for the market. It’s not that long ago that AA pulled MAN-ORD after it was basically run down with old aircraft, poor punctuality and making the route seasonal.
#962911 by 747G-VXLG
28 Nov 2021, 23:35
Juha Jarvinen addressed this on Twitter a couple of days ago in response to Weaver/SPD_travels’ tweet.
https://mobile.twitter.com/juhahelsinki ... 8324386817
Basically a confession that they are cutting the routes due to a lack of planes but saying that more deliveries are coming in the Autumn. Hopefully this route cut won’t last very long but I completely agree with you VS075 about Delta. ATL is Delta’s main base and they own 49% of Virgin, it’s about time Delta help out to replenish the routes. They could easily operate ATL, LAX and probably even JFK (for Virgin to do BGI) next summer with the size of their fleet.
#962914 by VS075
29 Nov 2021, 10:07
747G-VXLG wrote:Juha Jarvinen addressed this on Twitter a couple of days ago in response to Weaver/SPD_travels’ tweet.
https://mobile.twitter.com/juhahelsinki ... 8324386817
Basically a confession that they are cutting the routes due to a lack of planes but saying that more deliveries are coming in the Autumn. Hopefully this route cut won’t last very long but I completely agree with you VS075 about Delta. ATL is Delta’s main base and they own 49% of Virgin, it’s about time Delta help out to replenish the routes. They could easily operate ATL, LAX and probably even JFK (for Virgin to do BGI) next summer with the size of their fleet.


Fair play to Juha for responding at least. After all, how many top airline execs who are on Twitter use it to directly engage with the public?

I know there's a lot of factors at play here, but it doesn't really change the disappointment for 2022. I speak as someone who was affected by the recent decision to suspend BGI for the summer months and didn't buy in to the reasons publicly cited at the time.

David wrote:Surely the easiest and quickest way to show commitment to Manchester is to open the Clubhouse ?

David


Possibly, though having a fairly new Clubhouse didn't save LGW. It might not be a bad idea to open up the Clubhouse to other airline's passengers if VS don't want to open it due to a slimmed down network next summer (MCO, JFK and ISB), but I don't know whether others already have contracts in place with MAN to use their lounges such as the 1903 Lounge.
#962915 by OCdreamin
29 Nov 2021, 11:24
Mr Javinen's plea for 'understanding' is curious when there are would-be passengers, including contributors here, wanting to pay their money to book flights next summer from MAN to ATL, LAX and other US destinations, and no realistic options for them.
2 or 3 sector routes via KL & AF won't do.
It is indeed curious that DL with their huge fleet have not, as yet, stepped in.

The statement on new aircraft sounds encouraging. But how many A339s will VS actually receive next autumn, and will any older aircraft (obviously!) cascade to MAN then?

Meanwhile Virgin website still claims they fly direct MAN - LAX, which I have again highlighted via customer care.
Doubt I will get any response. Disappointing lack of commitment and misleading publicity.
#962916 by 747G-VXLG
29 Nov 2021, 11:58
OCdreamin wrote:Mr Javinen's plea for 'understanding' is curious when there are would-be passengers, including contributors here, wanting to pay their money to book flights next summer from MAN to ATL, LAX and other US destinations, and no realistic options for them.
2 or 3 sector routes via KL & AF won't do.
It is indeed curious that DL with their huge fleet have not, as yet, stepped in.

The statement on new aircraft sounds encouraging. But how many A339s will VS actually receive next autumn, and will any older aircraft (obviously!) cascade to MAN then?

Meanwhile Virgin website still claims they fly direct MAN - LAX, which I have again highlighted via customer care.
Doubt I will get any response. Disappointing lack of commitment and misleading publicity.


Don’t quote me on this, but I believe in the next year there will be 3 A350s delivered (EVE, LIB and BOB) and a few A339s but mostly towards the end of next year.
#962918 by Razorback
29 Nov 2021, 12:50
I am somewhat shocked to see the news about Manchester flights being curtailed. Having held two open tickets to ATL since last year, I took the plunge and rebooked for February and June next year just a couple of weeks ago.

Now I find that the June flight will be cancelled, when will VS consider telling me, two weeks before the flight as they have done with previous cancelled.

I find it difficult to believe they did not know they were going cancel their summer operation at the time they took my booking.

I note that in his Twitter Juha Jarvinen comments “Would be great to see bit understanding to airlines post-pandemic”. I find that somewhat insulting to those customers who have been loyal and understanding to the airline and are then treated with contempt.

Given that the airline has had my monies for best part of 2 years now it will be interesting how much they fight to give me a full refund as right now there seems to be little alternative for a reasonable rerouting to allow for onward flights. No wonder they have been reluctant to engage me in as to why they downgraded my cabin in June!
#962919 by OCdreamin
29 Nov 2021, 13:10
Razorback wrote:I am somewhat shocked to see the news about Manchester flights being curtailed. Having held two open tickets to ATL since last year, I took the plunge and rebooked for February and June next year just a couple of weeks ago.

Now I find that the June flight will be cancelled, when will VS consider telling me, two weeks before the flight as they have done with previous cancelled.

I find it difficult to believe they did not know they were going cancel their summer operation at the time they took my booking.

I note that in his Twitter Juha Jarvinen comments “Would be great to see bit understanding to airlines post-pandemic”. I find that somewhat insulting to those customers who have been loyal and understanding to the airline and are then treated with contempt.

Given that the airline has had my monies for best part of 2 years now it will be interesting how much they fight to give me a full refund as right now there seems to be little alternative for a reasonable rerouting to allow for onward flights. No wonder they have been reluctant to engage me in as to why they downgraded my cabin in June!


That is quite shocking
#962920 by VS075
29 Nov 2021, 13:56
OCdreamin wrote:Mr Javinen's plea for 'understanding' is curious when there are would-be passengers, including contributors here, wanting to pay their money to book flights next summer from MAN to ATL, LAX and other US destinations, and no realistic options for them.


To add to my resources post, it's clear now the various measures taken over the last 21 months to survive such as redundancies/furlough, postponing new aircraft deliveries, bringing forward 747 retirements etc. have left VS in a position where they are struggling/unable to ramp up ops back to a full schedule quickly enough.

I can understand VS had to take the measures they did to survive and I accept they have also been at the mercy of governments easing travel restrictions. accept the Omicron variant can be seen as a threat to the recovery given the re-emergence of the red list and self-isolations on arrival until a Day 2 PCR test comes back negative. There's also now talk of making the self-isolation periods on arrival longer which will be off-putting for many.

However, what I don't understand is opening up certain flights for bookings only to then cancel the routes altogether for the season and not being honest about the reasonings until now. It's far better to be conservative and sell what they're confident of delivering than disappointing thousands. Surely somebody somewhere knew there was going to be an issue with being able to deliver the 2022 schedule as initially advertised just a few short months ago?

In a parallel universe, MAN would have had MCO, JFK, LAX, BGI, MBJ, ISB, DEL and BOM, with DL taking over BOS. I'm excluding LAS as I suspect that would have gone anyway. I'm not giving up on VS at MAN as I don't want to see VS or any airline fail at one of my two local airports that's within 45mins driving time of my house and I know the potential is there, however I'm now in the camp of believing what is said will happen when it actually happens. In the case of MAN, this means I will get excited once I see a new route pop up on MAN's departure boards with the appropriate A330/A350/787 positioning in from LHR and the ribbon is cut for the Clubhouse.

Sad times. :-(
Last edited by VS075 on 29 Nov 2021, 14:01, edited 1 time in total.
#962921 by Weaver33
29 Nov 2021, 14:01
The news of Atlanta being cancelled is indeed concerning, and the response from Juha is even more so.

1) Manchester-Atlanta is a route with 30+ years of history. To be curtailed without even so much as a whimper is incredibly frustrating.
Virgin may have crew and aircraft shortages. And that’s fine. We have had 2 of the hardest ever years on the travel industry, and you can’t just click your fingers and return it back to normal.

But equally, there were things that Virgin could have done if they *really* were committed to the routes. They could have extended the lease of the A332 (the A332 still being in the Virgin fleet up until now means it can’t be that expensive otherwise they would have gotten rid of all 4 by now, but they haven’t), they could have asked Delta if they could run some of Virgins flights (after all, the joint venture means the money all goes in the same pot). They could have wet leased. BA have done it. Even low cost airlines have done it. But they didn’t. They didn’t try anything. Like another poster said. It’s not that they couldn’t have found an alternative. They chose not to.

2) Juhas comments are deeply insensitive to the consumers needs. He needs to remember a business needs to serve its customers, not the other way around. What about the thousands of cancelled bookings which, as cheesy as it sounds, were bookings of hopes, dreams, family reunions etc? What about consumer confidence on the last 3 Manchester routes, customers who will now either be sat there wondering if their route too will be cut, or perhaps not book Virgin due to the risk involved?

3) opening Virgin to competition.
Firstly, Virgin had a massive open goal at Manchester to really ‘lock in’ that market after the demise of Thomas Cook. We are now in a position where Virgin are at the smallest size they have been at Manchester in 10 or so years.

Now Aer Lingus (IAG) have arrived, and by ‘forcing’ passengers to travel to Heathrow means you are opening that passenger to a world of choices. For example, if I’m being forced to use Heathrow, then why would I stick to Virgin, and not BA, United or JetBlue as examples. If I’m forced to take a 1-stop option then why would Virgin now be in my plans when KLM, BA, Lufthansa are now in contention.

And those people who use the other airlines while ‘Virgin sort themselves out’, what if they quite like the competition? What if they don’t come back?

The issue Virgin have now is how do they come
Back from this? They have cut Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and St Lucia. They cancelled off Delhi, Mumbai and Montego Bay before they even launched. The harder you cut, they harder you have to build back. Will there even be an appetite to build back? I would personally be very surprised to see Los Angeles return at all to be honest. Montego Bay is gone for good too, let’s not kid ourselves there.

Overall, I’ve been a loyal supporter of Virgin throughout the years. I’m a FC member and always use VS when I can. The uncertainty means the 2 bookings I have will genuinely be my last now. The trust has gone, and the attitude to the cuts by the airline (through Juhas comments) means I feel the care has gone too. It’s a shame, but it is what it is.

Like VS075, I don’t want to see an airline fail, but equally, i don’t like an airline that just turns around and essentially says ‘we have cut the routes, deal with it’ and expects the customer to feel sorry for them, without even attempting an apology. That’s not the customer service Virgin was once famous for.
Last edited by Weaver33 on 29 Nov 2021, 14:12, edited 1 time in total.
#962922 by matt.hibb
29 Nov 2021, 14:10
This is gutting. I assume MAN is down to just JFK and MCO throughout '22? I'm not holding my breath for the Clubhouse opening at all next year.

I flew MAN-ATL often pre-pandemic (although not as much as normal in '19) and it seemed to me that quite a few were using it for business purposes and many were connecting passengers, same as me. It was the only destination from MAN with *daily* service into well a placed (geographically) US airport with good connectivity.

I guess JFK covers it for quite a few of the business customers. But it does add an hour onto the connecting flight for most things west of Chicago. I wonder how JFK stacks up from a leisure market point of view. I can imagine in the summer and other peak times, ATL provided extra capacity for MCO at least. But I could also see JFK being perhaps a bit more stable in that regard year round.

Can't have been an easy decision between axing JFK and ATL until you factor in Aer Lingus. I would imagine VS wouldn't want to hand any foothold/success with JFK over to the newcomers.
#962924 by ColOrd
29 Nov 2021, 16:15
I'm not entirely sure its the right strategic decision on VS's part, maintaining frequency on some LHR routes in favour of loosing routes out of MAN.
As I said previously, it probably stands that they have done this based on which strategy will generate them more cash for a recovery in 2022 as well as maintaining the crown jewels which is the LHR slot portfolio. I'm rather on the fence about the whole thing.

I'd like to think that JFK and MCO are so entrenched with VS at Manchester that they will allow them to retain a foothold during 2022 and service most customers, and then start to return to growth from Winter 22 onwards.
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