Virgin will soon be flying from Heathrow to Edinburgh six times a day. With some flights available for nearly half the price of train tickets, I may be tempted to book next time I head home north of the border…
…and it’s not just because I’ll be served Irn-Bru on the plane!
As from 5 April, Virgin Atlantic will be offering six flights a day from London Heathrow to Edinburgh, followed by a thrice daily Heathrow to Aberdeen service on 9 April.
These two new Scottish routes, along with new flights from London to Manchester, will be Virgin’s first ever domestic flight service – to be known as Little Red. And I’m sure they will be popular among passengers, leisure ones as well as those travelling for business.
Is Virgin’s price right for a short-haul flight?
Taking a quick look at prices for a weekend break in April, I found a return flight from London to Edinburgh with Virgin for just over £98. The same journey on a Virgin train costs £180. Even if you add on additional fares for getting to and from airports, the price still makes the flight attractive. And that’s even before you start comparing journey times. Yes, you need to travel to the airport, and get through security, but a 90 minute flight does sound more inviting than a Friday night train journey of 5 hours 40 minutes.
There are, of course, other flight options available. Looking at the same dates, I found the cheapest flight with EasyJet costs £76. With British Airways, the cheapest available flight was £111.
When Which? Travel compared short-haul airlines, BA did score better than EasyJet, but when it comes to long-haul, Virgin Atlantic is higher up the satisfaction ratings table. So it’ll be interesting to monitor how Virgin does with its new Little Red service, especially as it’s giving passengers free 23kg hold luggage allowance, pre-assigned seats and complimentary snacks and drinks.
Tuck in to Virgin’s airline food
What did make me smile when I saw the press release this week, was that Virgin is planning to serve passengers on its Scottish services ‘Scotland’s other national drink’, otherwise known as Irn Bru. Fellow Scots look away – I don’t really like the orange-coloured fizzy stuff – but it did get me thinking as to what else passengers could be offered. Will crew be offering us Scott’s Porage Oats? What about some Walkers’ highland shortbread, or my particular favourite Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers?
And will it just be on flights to Scotland, or can passengers look forward to similar treats on their way to London? Maybe on you’ll be offered a nice cream tea or cucumber sandwiches, perhaps? Virgin has said it will also have Tyrrells’ ‘plane’ crisps, so maybe the ‘hand-cooked English crisps’ covers that base. I just hope the proposed Krispy Kreme partnership isn’t only for transatlantic trips…