Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern have inked a pivotal codeshare agreement aimed at bolstering both business and leisure travel ties to East Asia. The deal promises enhanced access to a wider array of destinations across China and beyond.
Under the initial phase of the agreement, travelers booking through Virgin Atlantic can seamlessly connect from Heathrow to Shanghai flights to various cities in China, including Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Xi’an. Tickets for these routes are now available for purchase.
In reciprocation, China Eastern customers will soon gain the ability to connect via Heathrow to select Caribbean and African destinations pending government approval. These destinations include Jamaica, Nassau, Lagos, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.
The collaboration comes as both airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance, with Virgin Atlantic having joined last year. This alliance facilitates smoother travel experiences, particularly for frequent flyers, with services like priority check-in, boarding, and extra baggage allowances available to members of both Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and China Eastern Miles.
Additionally, the expanded codeshare presents a boon for Flying Club members, who stand to accrue Virgin Points and Tier Points on all codeshare flights with China Eastern, thereby accelerating their journey towards rewards. The ability to redeem Virgin Points for flights is expected to be introduced shortly.
The announcement follows Virgin Atlantic’s resumption of services to Shanghai in May 2023, signaling a renewed commitment to strengthening ties with China, a crucial trading partner for the UK. Shanghai, as China’s largest city and a global economic powerhouse, holds immense significance for both business and leisure travelers alike.