Air France, Delta, KLM and Virgin expand trans-Atlantic partnership

by James Wilkinson

Air France, Delta, KLM and Virgin Atlantic have launched their expanded joint venture offering, which the airlines say offers “a greater choice of routes and loyalty options when travelling between Europe, the United Kingdom and North America”.

The airlines say the new partnership provides customers “with more convenient flight schedules and a shared goal of ensuring a smooth and consistent travel experience, whichever airline people fly”.

According to the carriers, the partnership also provides the flexibility to book flights on any of the four carriers through their respective mobile apps, websites, or via travel agents.

Delta’s in-flight entertainment system is loaded-up with great movies

Across the board, the airlines say customers will enjoy award-winning service, top-tier premium cabin products and complimentary food, drink and seat-back in-flight entertainment in all cabins on all trans-Atlantic flights.

“Our expanded partnership is a major step forward for all of our airlines as we deliver greater reliability, top travel benefits and leading service that our customers deserve,” said Delta CEO, Ed Bastian.

“[This] launch brings our historic, longstanding collaboration to a new level as we continue to build the partnership of choice across Europe and North America that sets us apart from the rest of the industry.”

Virgin Atlantic’s stylish new Upper Class suite

Enhanced customer benefits starting February 13 mean that loyalty program members will be able to earn and use miles or enjoy elite benefits for flights on any of the four airlines’ worldwide operations, including a trans-Atlantic trip, intra-Europe hops, or domestic U.S. journey, offering more opportunities to quickly move through loyalty tiers and reach a higher status.

Eligible Elite loyalty program members can also enjoy priority boarding and relax in over 100 airport lounges when travelling internationally.

“Customers are at the heart of this expanded joint venture with our partners Delta, Air France and KLM, where seamless connections, a greater range of flights, unrivalled customer service and increased frequent flyer benefits will reinforce its position as the choice passengers most love to fly,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO, Shai Weiss.

Lounging around: The ‘Loft’ onboard Virgin Atlantic

“One of the pillars of our strategy is successfully collaborating with our partners. Combining our strengths, our network, and our people allows us to achieve more together.”

The four carriers offer up to 341 peak daily trans-Atlantic flights, covering the top 10 routes on a nonstop basis, as well as onward connections to 238 cities in North America, 98 in continental Europe and 16 in the U.K. It gives customers a choice of 110 nonstop trans-Atlantic routes.

“Ten years after starting our joint venture with Delta, this new agreement is a major milestone that will even further reinforce our presence on the Atlantic, by allowing our passengers the choice between four major airlines combining their network for the benefit of our customers,” said Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith.

Delta’s new international economy class cabin

“For Air France–KLM, it also means greater access to the U.K. market and especially London Heathrow, the leading global travel market.”

The carriers say customer benefits effective this month are just the start, “with more initiatives being rolled out later this year such as the launch of more codeshare routes, aligning schedules to reduce connection times and smoothing the airport experience from check-in to baggage claim”.

Customers will also soon be able to check-in and select their seat through any of the partner airline mobile apps or websites.