Virgin Atlantic to begin serving Seattle

Virgin Atlantic will launch its first flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on March 26, 2017, connecting SEA to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

The flight will replace the current SEA-LHR flight operated by Virgin’s joint-venture partner Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL). Virgin will operate a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 87-9 Dreamliner on the route, which will result in a net addition of 53 seats per flight.

Delta currently operates a Boeing 767-300 on the route. According to, the current aircraft has 36 Delta One seats that are 21 inches wide with between 76.5 and 81.4 inches of pitch. Its 32 Comfort+ seats are 17.9 inches wide with 35 inches of pitch, while the 143 economy seats are the same width but have between 31 and 32 inches of pitch.

By comparison, Virgin Atlantic’s Dreamliner will have 31 Upper Class seats that are 22 inches wide with 79.5 inches of pitch, 35 premium economy seats that are 21 inches wide with 38 inches of pitch and 198 standard economy seats that are 17.5 inches wide with 31 inches of pitch.

Virgin Atlantic's service includes a new Wander Wall for snacks and socializing in its Premium Economy class. Developed by design outfit Viewport Studio, the wall is akin to a curio cabinet in design and is in a location where passengers can visit to pick up a drink, snack or a newspaper. Upper Class passengers have access to chauffeur limo service, an in-flight bar, fully flat-bed seats and access to Virgin Atlantic's Revivals Lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal Three.

Wander Wall
A slight but significant schedule change will accompany the debut of Virgin Atlantic service. Flights will depart Seattle at 7:10 p.m., while the current Delta flight leaves at 9:16 p.m.

The earlier departure will mean arrival at LHR at 1 p.m. the following day, enabling arriving passengers to clear customs and travel to downtown London before the peak of the evening rush hour. Current flights arrive at LHR at 3:05 p.m. the day following departure.

Departure times for return flights will be unchanged. Virgin Atlantic flights will leave LHR at 11 a.m. and arrive in Seattle at 1:20 p.m., while the current Delta flights leave at 11 a.m. and arrive at 1:09 p.m.

New PDX-LHR service

Along with the swap in Seattle, Delta will launch seasonal service from Portland, Ore. (PDX) to LHR, which will be Portland's first and only flight to the U.K. The flight will be operated four days per week from May 26, 2017, through Oct. 29, 2017 using a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Flights will leave PDX at 5 p.m., arriving at LHR at 11:05 a.m. the following day. Return flights depart LHR at 12:30 p.m., arriving in Portland at 3:15 p.m.

Delta is the largest global carrier at both SEA and PDX and has more than tripled flights at its Seattle hub since 2012, the airline said in a statement announcing the route swap with Virgin Atlantic. Delta has also invested $15 million in its facilities at SEA, including its Delta Sky Club and lobby renovations, Sky Priority services, new gate area power recharging stations, expanded ticket counters and enhancements to the international arrivals area.

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Photo courtesy Virgin Atlantic
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