It’s codeshare season, with SkyTeam carriers Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern launching their codeshare agreement between the two airlines.
The codeshare aims to strengthen l business and leisure connections to East Asia and provide greater access to more destinations throughout China.
The first phase of the agreement will allow customers booking through Virgin Atlantic to connect seamlessly from the airline’s Heathrow to Shanghai services to other destinations in China on one ticket, including Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Xi’an.
Flights are on sale now for these destinations, whilst Virgin Atlantic resumed operations to Shanghai on 1 May 2023, following the global pandemic.
China Eastern customers will also, subject to government approval, soon have the opportunity to connect via Heathrow onto Caribbean and African destinations, including Jamaica, Nassau, Lagos, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Since Virgin Atlantic joined the SkyTeam alliance, the airline has co-located at Shanghai Pudong Terminal One with China Eastern. Here, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and Silver members and China Eastern Miles members can take advantage of SkyPriority services, including priority check-in, boarding and extra baggage.
The expanded codeshare also allows Flying Club members to reach their rewards faster, with opportunities to earn Virgin Points and Tier Points on every codeshare flight with China Eastern. The option to spend Virgin Points is expected to follow shortly.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented,
“China and East Asia is an incredibly important region for Virgin Atlantic and we were delighted to welcome back our Heathrow to Shanghai service last year, providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.
“Our new codeshare with China Eastern, a fellow SkyTeam partner, will serve continued demand for travel to the region and strengthens our commitment to China and East Asia. We know these agreements bring plenty of benefits to our customers, from increased network scope to China and beyond, to reciprocal loyalty rewards for our Flying Club members.”
Opening more possibilities
We all know the value of a codeshare – with an airline instantly being able to expand its network with a signature and political agreement. For Virgin Atlantic, it opens up more destinations in China that can be booked under a single ticket, whilst allowing passengers to earn points (which is always a welcome thing).
Virgin Atlantic will be keen for their customers to spend points, as well as for a reciprocal codeshare to be activated on its services soon, to capture further passenger traffic.
It’ll be interesting when it kicks off.
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