Last week saw the announcement of Virgin Atlantic’s return to service, with first flights taking wing on the 20th July to Orlando and Hong Kong, with New York (JFK) Los Angeles and Shanghai following suit the very next day. Following destinations will be announced in the following week for flights commencing at the start of August.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic commented: “As the Covid-19 crisis stabilises and demand slowly returns, we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to their favourite destinations. To ensure the health and safety of our customers and our people, we’re introducing new measures at every point in the journey to offer peace of mind when taking to the skies with us.”
And unlike any Covid product release from rival BA, Virgin Atlantic has worked quickly to brand its efforts in a bid to mitigate any safety concerns onboard. Instead of just handing out quickly-pieced together kits, the airline has taken its downtime to create quirky clean kits that come with the usual Virgin flair we’ve come to expect from the carrier.
As well as enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant onboard in cabins and lavatories, the airline is going further to help with social distancing.
Although masks will be required from entrance of the airport, the airline is blocking off seats onboard with specially designed cushions – where possible. The airline will also be boarding from the rear first, meaning those in Premium and Upper will be the last to board.
The personal wellbeing ‘Health Pack’ will contain medical grade face masks as a requirement to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel. In the short term, the airline will also be offering a simplified hot food service onboard to minimise contact, enclosed in a card box during preparation in a Covid-safe, monitored environment delivered directly to the airline’s customers.