Virgin Atlantic is shifting their seasonal Chicago-London Heathrow flight to Los Angeles, giving them three flights a day between LAX and London.
Business Traveller, which reported the story, has some “interesting” insights into why Virgin Atlantic is shifting the flight.
Another, perhaps more important, reason is the possible yield (earnings per seat) and the fact that the low-cost carriers haven’t made as many inroads into the West Coast as they have with the East Coast market.
I am not really sure how they come to that conclusion. Carriers like Condor and Norwegian have inundated the west coast and focused heavily on the leisure markets. Because of this, transatlantic fares from places like San Francisco have fallen dramatically. British Airways is even trying to get in on the act by adding a flight to Oakland on one of their high density Boeing 777s.
The reality is that the transatlantic market is overall pretty weak right now and Virgin probably can’t get a lot of connecting traffic in Chicago. In Los Angeles they have their partnership with Delta, giving them great connections all over points west of the Rockies. Delta is also building a new terminal LAX and I’m sure that’s a big draw as well.
Personally, I’m not sure Virgin Atlantic will be successful with a third flight to Los Angeles but only time will tell.