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Everything you
need to know

About us

Virgin Atlantic plane

The success of our business strategy requires us to build on our foundations by focusing on the business and leisure markets, and driving efficiency and effectiveness.

Aircraft engine

Our mission statement

Our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic embrace the human spirit and let it fly,

Virgin Atlantic aircraft on runway

Our story

Virgin Atlantic is a major British success story. From our first leased jumbo to the UK's second largest long haul airline, we've come a long way, and there's still much more to do! Take a look at our story by clicking on the links below...

The eighties...

Back in the early 80s Richard Branson was probably best known for Virgin Records - the legendary record label that signed major names like the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson and The Human League. In 1984, much to the horror of his directors, Richard announced to the world that a high quality, value for money airline would begin operating within three months. Three months, some licences, staff and an aircraft packed with celebrities later, Virgin Atlantic Airways was born. By the end of the decade we had flown over 1 million passengers and started shaking up services onboard by being the first airline to offer individual TVs to their business class passengers...

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic

Founder of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson.

The nineties...

In 1992 Richard sold Virgin Music to Thorn EMI and invested the proceeds into Virgin Atlantic, improving on an already great service. In the same year we launched the first super economy service that went on to become our award winning Premium Economy. We spent most of the Nineties buying new planes, expanding our route network and generally breaking new ground in passenger service, both on the ground and in the air. In 1999 Richard sold a 49% stake in the company to Singapore Airlines valuing us at a minimum of £1.225bn. In the same year, for services to entrepreneurship Richard received a knighthood.

Premium Economy seating onboard Virgin Atlantic aircraft

Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy seating

The noughties...

The noughties have proved exciting times...

In 2003 came the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s revolutionary Upper Class Suite, the longest and most comfortable flat bed and seat in business class.

The new Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow opened in March 2006. Amongst the many unique features of the flagship lounge are a cocktail bar, a hair salon, a Cowshed spa, a brasserie and a games room.

The Virgin Atantic Clubhouse at Heathrow

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow

In 2007 came the launch of Virgin Atlantic's brand new check in facilities at Heathrow Terminal Three. For Economy and Premium Economy passengers Zone A is now wider, brighter and more spacious, enabling passengers to check-in at kiosks in a faster and more stress-free way. For Upper Class passengers, came the Upper Class Wing, which offers a private security corridor so passengers can speed through the terminal to the Clubhouse quicker than ever before.

In 2008 we operated a pioneering biofuel demonstration with Boeing and engine manufacturer GE Aviation on a 747 between London and Amsterdam. This was the world's first flight using biofuel by a commercial airline. Virgin Atlantic has also ordered 15 of the 787-9 Dreamliners which burn around 27% less fuel per passenger than the A340-300, the aircraft it will replace in the Virgin Atlantic fleet.


Virgin Atlantic staff collecting an award

Our awards

We've been winning awards since 1986 and we're honoured to receive them! Take a look at a selection of our awards below...


Awards 2015

Data Storytelling awards

- Winner of the Real-time data and automation award

Awards 2013

Online Retail Awards

  • Winner of the coveted ORA Prix d'OR (top accolade)
  • Best Leisure & Travel Website

World Travel Awards 2013

  • Our London Heathrow clubhouse lounge, crowned winner of Europe's leading airline lounge 2013

BIMA Awards 2013

  • Commended - Website User Experience

Digital Impact Awards

  • Bronze - Best use of digital in the travel and leisure sector

Awards 2012

Chartered Institute of Marketing's Travel Industry Group Awards

  • Travel Brand of the Year
  • Campaign of Year
  • Best TV Commercial
  • Best Press Campaign (Upper Class)
  • Best Website (VSFlyinghub – our global trade website not
  • Best Brochure - Little Red Book – our interactive online Flying Club brochure

Travolution Awards

  • Best Airline Website

Awards 2011

Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Passenger Choice Awards

  • Best in Region – Europe

Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards

  • Best Long-Haul Leisure Airline


  • Brand of the decade- Virgin Atlantic

Treasury Today Adam Smith Award

  • Harnessing the Power of Technology

Ultra Travel Awards

  • Best Cabin Crew
  • Best Airport Lounge

Travolution Awards

  • Best Airline Website

HolidayExtras.Com Customers’ Awards

  • Best Airline for travelling with children
  • Best Airline for disabled passengers

Group Leisure Awards

  • Best Airline for Groups

Cool Brands

  • Winner of Travel General category

Travel Choice Awards

  • Airline of the Year to North America

British Travel Awards

  • Best Economy Class Airline
  • Best Airline Customer Service

Awards 2010

The Travel Agent Choice Awards 2010

  • Best Scheduled Airline - Transatlantic
  • Best Scheduled Airline - Carribean

The World Travel Awards 2010

  • Leading Transatlantic Airline

The 2010 British Travel Awards

  • Best Business/First Class
  • Best Scheduled Airline - Long Haul
  • Best airline of the year
  • Best Economy Class airline


Awards 2009

OAG Travel Industry Awards 2009

  • Best Airline Based in Western Europe
  • Best Transatlantic Airline

2009 British Travel Awards 

  • Best Business/First Class 
  • Best scheduled Airline - Long haul

Holidays Extra's Customer Awards

  • Best Airline

World Travel Awards 2009

  • Leading Transatlantic Airline
  • Leading Travel Commercial


  • CoolBrand 2009/10


The 2009 Zagat Airline Survey

  • International Airline for Inflight Entertainment
  • No.1 - Best Frequent Flyer Programme

Conde Naste Business Travellers Awards 2009

  • Best Transatlantic Business Class

Business Travellers Awards

  • Best Premium Economy Class
  • Best Airport Lounge

Conde Nast Traveller Readers Travel Awards

  • Favourite Long Haul Airline

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Readers Awards 2009

  • Best Long Haul Airline