British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the United Kingdom’s leading airlines. Both airlines offer similar products, although there is one significant difference. Comparing inflight services, network, and industry reputation helps compare these two exceptional airlines.
British Airways has unique services depending on whether you are flying short-haul or long-haul. Wi-Fi is offered on most aircraft, while personal entertainment is generally available only on long-haul routes. In Europe, Euro Traveller is the airline’s economy service and Club Europe is its business class. A buy-on-board menu with food and beverages is available in Euro Traveller. Club Europe boasts spacious seating and a free meal service.
For long-haul flights, World Traveller is British Airways’ economy product. Along with lower fares, complimentary meals are offered. World Traveller Plus is the airline’s premium economy service with spacious seats and other perks in a dedicated cabin. First is available on long-haul flights, which has lie-flat seating in a private suite. Club World is the airline’s business class, and it too offers lie-flat seating. First and Club World deliver excellent find dining experiences.
Virgin Atlantic also offers a range of classes, although the options are more limited. Economy offers passengers exceptional meals and diverse inflight entertainment. Premium is the airline’s premium economy class. Seating is more spacious and there are perks, including enhanced meals and amenities. In 2019, Virgin Atlantic’s Premium class was recognised as the world’s best premium economy product.
Upper Class combines business and first class experiences for a luxury experience. Benefits include a chauffeur driven car service, access to stylish airport lounges, spacious seats that transform into flat beds, and fine dining throughout the flight. On Airbus A350 aircraft, there is a social area. Other planes feature a beautiful bar space.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and their network
British Airways has a worldwide network of 191 destination. It is one of very few airlines that serve all inhabited continents. Along with Spain’s Iberia, British Airways is part of the International Airlines Group. It is also a member of Oneworld, which offers hundreds of additional destinations through codeshare flights.
Virgin Atlantic’s network is limited. The airline has 30 destinations in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. It also has codeshare agreements with several airlines, including Delta Air Lines and Air France. Virgin Atlantic also codeshares with Gol Transportes Aereos, Air New Zealand, and Aeromexico.
Skytrax recognises Virgin Atlantic as a 4-Star Airline. This means if offers a high-quality product and consistently good service at airports and onboard. Food, amenities, comfort, staff, and other services rank above average. In 2019, Virgin Atlantic ranked 21st among Skytrax’s top airlines. British Airlines did slightly better, coming in the 19th position.
British Airways is also certified as a 4-Star Airline by Skytrax. British Airways is taking positive steps in renewing its services, especially First Class and Club World products. Overall, airport and inflight services rank consistently high. You can expect high-quality amenities, food, seats, cleanliness, staff, and other services.
Virgin Atlantic or British Airways – The verdict
With comparable reputations and services, it is difficult to differentiate British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. What sets these two airlines apart is reach. British Airways delivers a more extensive network of routes to every corner of the world, while Virgin Atlantic has a very small number of destinations.