Virgin Atlantic has announced it will join global airline alliance SkyTeam from early 2023, becoming the first carrier to enter the organisation in eight years.
It will also be the first and only UK airline to become a SkyTeam member.
Chief executive Shai Weiss told journalists on Tuesday morning the move was “an obvious extension” as SkyTeam is a customer-centric organisation and partners such as KLM and Delta are already members.
As part of SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic loyalty customers and frequent flyers will benefit from additional perks while flying – including priority boarding and check-in.
They will also have access to 750 lounges around the world.
“Our membership will allow us to enhance established relationships with our valued partners at Delta and Air France-KLM, as well as opening up opportunities to collaborate with new airlines,” Weiss explained.
“It will enable a seamless customer experience, with an expanded network and maximised loyalty benefits.”
The chief executive said that, even though Virgin Atlantic had been courted since 2014, the pandemic gave the airline the final push to join.
“The pandemic has taught us the strength of partnership,” he said.