June 18, 2024

Virgin prepares for VFR revival

Virgin Atlantic is set to add services between the UK and Pakistan in anticipation of travel recovery coming initially from the visiting friends and relatives market.

Three new routes from Heathrow to Lahore and Heathrow to Islamabad, as well as from Manchester to Islamabad will begin in December with Upper Class, Premium and Economy Light, Classic and Delight offerings.

Pakistan has the seventh  largest diaspora in the world and the new services aim to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for VFR from customers in the UK and the US, as well as capturing demand for business travel to the region as global economies gradually recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and safety measures will include enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard with the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant in all cabins and lavatories before every flight.  Safe distancing will also be adhered to wherever possible, and mask wearing will be required throughout the journey. All customers will be provided with a personal Health Pack for their health and safety, which will contain three medical grade face masks to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.

The airline is working with Gate Gourmet to offer a temporary, simplified hot food service in all cabins and from October, will be reintroducing special meals catering for individual dietary requirements including Halal, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Meals have been redesigned to limit interaction, enclosed and controlled from preparation in a Covid-safe, monitored environment to the moment it is served. Economy and Premium Economy customers will now enjoy a “Fly safe, eat well” meal box, which incorporates a choice of three hot meals, cheese and biscuits and a dessert pot washed down with a selection of beverages. Upper Class customers will receive a choice of three hot meals, desserts, including cheese & biscuits and a ciabatta roll, all delivered to their seat on a tray. All customers will receive a second meal service which, on day flights from the UK, includes the delicious Mile High Tea in collaboration with celebrity pâtissier Eric Lanlard.  They are serving a temporary limited alcohol offering in all cabins.