Virgin Atlantic Announces “Light” Hand Baggage Only Fares

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The trend is obvious… and Virgin Atlantic have joined the crowd. From Spring 2018, Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to choose to fly Economy Delight”, “Economy Classic” or “Economy Light”.

What Will Change?

Probably not much… although I couldn’t help noticing this tidbit at the bottom of the press release (click here to read):

Virgin scent: Virgin Atlantic has partnered with leading British candle maker Rachel Vosper to create a new scent called “Air.” Designed to evoke wellbeing and inspire future travel it will be available across check in, the gate and upon boarding the aircraft.

Err… thanks Virgin Atlantic… I’m assuming they aren’t really intending to have open flame candles on-board their aircraft or circulate perfume scents for the entirety of a 12-hour flight…

In all seriousness, Virgin Atlantic already allows Economy passengers to pre-select Economy seats with additional legroom, for an additional fee. (for the avoidance of doubt, this is NOT Premium Economy, which remains as a separate cabin) So this change appears to be marketing fluff to cover for the introduction of hand baggage only fares, especially since there appears to be no mention of earning additional miles in “Classic” or “Delight”.

The Bottom Line

I suppose that the success of Norwegian has made it inevitable that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic would introduce hand-baggage only fares on long-haul flights. And will eventually squeeze ever more seats into Economy class.

Ultimately this is because marketing departments have a problem… BA and Virgin can claim to have a “better economy class” than the likes of Norwegian or LEVEL, but many Norwegian travellers, like our Joe, can’t see much of a difference, except in the fares…



  1. Ian Macky says

    This trend for carry-on only allows for price creep by putting up the cost of luggage inclusive fares under the radar whilst doing high profile promotion on the luggage-less fares that are held lower.

  2. Tom says

    Big question: will the all-inclusive prices be higher than they currently are charging for the same full service flights?

    And that crucial final point: BA/VIrgin etc. try to compete with Norwegian, but still charge higher for the same cheap product. If they want customers to focus only on price & forgo any level of comfort, we will choose Norwegian over BA. It’s an existential problem for BA, whether to be a premium airline or a budget airline. They can’t seem to make their minds up.

  3. 7wood says

    Seriously though all these so called “ambiance improvers” or stink covers are just adding to the incidence of asthma and other allergic respiratory conditions – a responsible airline would consider this before introducing more pollutants to the cabin.
    ( excessive aftershave perfume etc are just as bad!!)

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I was going to make a similar serious comment in my article instead of joking, but then I read “check-in, gate and boarding” which I interpreted to mean that this isn’t actually going to be on the planes themselves.

      Interesting poll idea though… Which is worse? Passenger with bad body odour or passenger with too much aftershave / perfume…

  4. Winnie says

    As long as I can see the benefit of light travelling tickets vs the tickets with suitcase allowance I am all for it. I never check in any suitcases these days and I am always baffled by why I am paying (eg. BA) flights with 2 check in pieces allowance.

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