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#954121 by Scottie920
04 Feb 2020, 10:36
Advertised daily flights from 29th March from LHR to GRU on 787. Flights 30th March 1st and 3rd April cancelled and no bookings being taken on other flights during this week. Is there a problem with this new route?
#954147 by chrisfinch_2000
06 Feb 2020, 15:29
Interesting... I have to say 6 of us were wanting to book Upper Rewards... then we saw just how many miles were needed - it’s a joke! Especially for a new route!

it’s by far the most expensive route, despite it being similar in distance to other destinations, so we went another way!
#954166 by mattpawlow
07 Feb 2020, 17:29
What's interesting is I'm looking at the announcement of this being available for reservation, and it was scheduled in as a daily departure. Looking via flex dates on the VS site, appears to be 3-4x/week in availability all the way into May. Some days say "not available", others "not offered" in the calendar. Wondering how far out the overbooking runs
#954421 by mattpawlow
22 Feb 2020, 21:21
From Routes Online today —-
“Virgin Atlantic in recent schedule update filed frequency changes for its planned London Heathrow – Sao Paulo Guarulhos route. Planned to commence on 29MAR20, the airline is adjusting initial frequencies from 29MAR20 to 23MAY20.

29MAR20 – 05APR20 4 weekly
06APR20 – 12APR20 1 daily
14APR20 – 20APR20 5 weekly
21APR20 – 23MAY20 4 weekly (operational day varies on alternate week)
24MAY20 – 24OCT20 1 daily

VS197 LHR2230 – 0605+1GRU 789
VS198 GRU1555 – 0750+1LHR 789

This route remains subject to Government Approval.”

The route being subject to approval still is real interesting
#954422 by mitchja
22 Feb 2020, 21:54
It’s pretty common for airlines to announce routes to new countries whilst negotiations are still ongoing between the 2 countries. If those negotiations don’t quite go to plan the route launch can be delayed or amended.

I remember booking return VS flights to BGI before they launched that route but ended up being switched to BA flights a week or so before my departure because VS didn’t get the government approval in time for their initial launch date.

Another other issue that’s just occurred to me could be to do with slots at LHR as well.
#954436 by bebop
23 Feb 2020, 19:04
Thanks very much for the updated info. Have been following this thread with trepidation.

I’ve booked a couple of reward flights on this route in April. Out in Upper and back in Premium.

Looks like my outbound will be ok as it’s the week in April when they have daily flights still (subject to government approval of course). But on the way back I may be on one of the days they’re not flying (down to 4 flights weekly).

Could anyone please advise what Virgin would do if my flight is cancelled and I am booked on a reward flight using miles? And should I contact them now to see what’s going on? Both legs are still showing as happening when I look at them in ‘My Flights’ in the app.

#954440 by VS075
24 Feb 2020, 10:17
bebop wrote:Could anyone please advise what Virgin would do if my flight is cancelled and I am booked on a reward flight using miles? And should I contact them now to see what’s going on? Both legs are still showing as happening when I look at them in ‘My Flights’ in the app.

This is based on what happened to me when my flight was cancelled and was re-booked onto another flight 24 hours later. This was 2 years ago but I can't imagine it's changed much...

You would get an automated e-mail with details of what flight you've been re-booked on to and a link to call Customer Services if you need further help (i.e. if you're not happy with the change). If you provided your mobile number at the time of booking, you will also get a text advising you of a change and to look at your booking online for further details.

I don't think it matters whether you paid with money or miles or a combination of both. If your flight has been cancelled, they are obliged to re-book you onto an alternative flight either with VS or somebody else. Another option they are obliged to offer is a full refund. ... cancelled/
#954638 by bebop
03 Mar 2020, 23:20
Huge thanks for the info and to hear about your experience, VS075. Very much appreciated.

Good to know there will be options should the flights be cancelled. On reading the dates above from mattpowlow (thank you for sharing those) I think the outbound flight should be ok as that's during the week VS are still flying daily (subject to government approval). The return could be iffy, however, as it's down to four flights that week.

I'm only really fussed about the outbound. I'm booked into Upper on the way out and taking a friend who's not had the pleasure of flying business class and visiting the fabulous Clubhouse (it will only be my third time in the LHR CH) so I am keen that government approval comes through and there are no further schedule changes but we shall see.

I've not heard yet from VS about any changes to my flights so I'm assuming all is ok for now, though I do check the seat map for my bookings from time to time; sometimes it shows which seats have been picked and which are empty, and sometimes it shows all seats booked out, and I am trying not to read too much into that!
#954657 by Scottie920
04 Mar 2020, 11:19
Flight VS197 on 29th March now showing 08:45 departure from Lhr arriving GRU 16:40. Bookings taken in Economy and PE only.
Virgin not accepting bookings in any class on flights 31/03, 02/04 and 04/04 out of LHR despite seats being available.
#954675 by mitchja
04 Mar 2020, 18:54
Full details can be found here

Sao Paulo service will now fly from 05 October 2020
We continue to monitor the ongoing Covid-19 situation very carefully and changing demand for travel. As a result, we have decided to make additional changes to our flying programme as part of measures being taken to ensure that the airline is in a robust position for the months ahead.

Virgin Atlantic’s new London Heathrow - São Paulo service, due to commence on 29 March 2020, has been deferred, with services now beginning from 05 October 2020. This change is part of wider measures being taken including the suspension of our Heathrow – Shanghai route, and reduced frequency between Heathrow – Hong Kong. We are committed and excited to launch our first route to Brazil and South America in October.

All passengers booked to travel should contact Virgin Atlantic to discuss their travel plans, with the option to receive a refund. They can contact our customer care team via our SMS messaging system +44 (0) 7481 339184 or WhatsApp 0344 874 7747.
#954680 by slinky09
04 Mar 2020, 20:27
Well frankly this is a complete balls up - I remember when Sao Paulo was first announced (was it back in 2014!) and now using coronavirus as an excuse is just shoddy marketing ... sad for all the people who booked and no doubt now an expense for VS.
#954702 by bebop
05 Mar 2020, 00:35
Ahhh, well at the least the uncertainty is no more! This has rather thrown a spanner in the works for my holiday plans in April.

Spoke with Virgin earlier. They initially offered a refund or a choice of another destination on their network (presumably subject to reward seat availability). I got put through to someone else who explained that as the cancellation is outside of 14 days, they have the right to cancel without offering rerouting. This second agent (and I must say they were helpful and supportive) did take time to look at options of getting to and from São Paulo via JFK or Atlanta, connecting onto Delta. This would involve using air miles to pay for the Delta legs, but these would be in Economy (with the VS legs in Upper).

Flight times including connections around 20 hours. Far from ideal, and not sure I can do 9+ hours overnight in Economy straight after another flight. ~20 hours in total including a stopover is around the same duration as flying (with a stopover) to Perth!

Alternative is to take the refund and buy flights with another airline, likely in Economy but at least will be direct, on either BA or LATAM. Will weigh up the options. Thanks again for all the info posted on this thread.
#954769 by Giboning
07 Mar 2020, 14:56
That's harsh from Virgin to ask extra for the Delta leg.

I have a one way flight Sao Paolo to London booked with miles. I called Virgin, they told me if I want a refund, they will process it immediately. For replacements flights, agent told me to call back in couple of days as they are discussing with partner airlines for other options.

Any other updates?
#954909 by bebop
12 Mar 2020, 19:28
Quick update from me. I've got a refund on its way from Virgin. The miles are back in the account and they advised up to four weeks to receive the cash refund due to the backlog.

I've since booked cash flights with BA via the travel agent I am arranging the rest of the trip with but with the situation very fluid at the moment will have to see if even going away is feasible. Have seen today LATAM are reducing international flights by 30% from 1 April to 30 May. V tough time for airlines right now.
#959247 by ColOrd
27 Jan 2021, 23:48
I wouldn’t say it’s likely but I wouldn’t say it’s off the cards. At this point last year no one would have forecast that VS would pick up substantial daily ops to Pakistan!

The Aviation sector is about trying to make what it can to survive at the moment and for VS that’s away from the US for right now.
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