Virgin hails terminal success

15th May 2008

Five months after the official opening last December of its new Terminal at Heathrow, Virgin Atlantic has announced outstanding customer feedback and performance results for the first few months of operation in the new facilities.The new terminal 3 is also attracting thousands of new passengers, with total long-haul passenger numbers up 4% in April. Upper Class sales were particularly strong, with a 10% increase in passenger numbers last month.

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“Our investment in Terminal 3 is proving money well-spent. Passengers are voting with their feet and switching to us in their droves. These results are in stark contrast to the shambles from a certain other airline. We’re sure that the speed and efficiency of Virgin Atlantic’s new terminal is restoring the public’s faith in travelling from this vitally important UK hub.”

Following an independent research report commissioned by Virgin Atlantic, and with the results of its own customer satisfaction survey, the airline can reveal exceptional scores with over 83% of all passengers rating their experience as Excellent or Good at Terminal 3.

The airline’s Upper Class Wing opened in November last year, introducing a private security corridor for Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers to get from their limos to the Clubhouse in record time.  Since it opened, approximately 90,000 passengers have travelled through the new Wing and the airline has found the following:


á      Typically Upper Class passengers are taking just 8 minutes from leaving their limo to arriving at the Clubhouse
á      98% of passengers using the Upper Class Wing have rated their overall airport   experience as Excellent or Good
á      100% of passengers going through the Upper Class Wing thought the friendliness of the Virgin Atlantic staff was Excellent or Good
á      100% agreed that the process of getting from limo through to the Clubhouse was quick and convenient

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented: 

“Passengers are choosing to travel through our new terminal at Heathrow in their thousands. We are delighted with our early performance at T3, which is a credit to all the hard work put in every day by the Virgin Atlantic and BAA teams. The success of the new T3 is clear - big is not beautiful - and with an innovative new approach, which cuts journey time for all passengers and improves the customer experience, we definitely have a winning formula.  The success of the Upper Class Wing has meant some passengers have transferred from their limos to the Clubhouse in 4-5 minutes, which must be a record for any airport worldwide. No wonder we recently won the accolade of “World’s Fastest Airport Check-in.”

The airline’s new check in area in Zone A for Economy and Premium Economy passengers, has also scored highly with 85% of passengers rating the customer service experienced from Virgin Atlantic staff as Excellent or Good.  The airline was also pleased to reach its target of 80% of economy passengers checking in using Kiosk or Online check in, eight months ahead of its target date of December 2008.

Virgin Atlantic’s new facilities in Zone A have been redesigned to be wider, brighter and more spacious, enabling passengers to check-in at kiosks in a fast, efficient and stress-free way. 

The new T3 now boasts improved parking, a new brand new elegantly-landscaped forecourt development, improved access to trains and underground and a host of new amenities.  Shopping at T3 includes Jo Malone, Chanel, Gucci, Paul Smith, Thomas Pink, Mulberry, Smythson and Starbucks.

The Upper Class Wing enables business class passengers to speed from their Virgin Atlantic limos, through a dedicated security channel and through to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in a matter of minutes.  Since opening it has been named ‘Fastest Airport Check In’ by Wallpaper magazine.  Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members making their own way to the airport can check-in at the Upper Class Check-In, in Zone A of the main terminal, before taking a priority lift straight to the dedicated security channel.  The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow was recently named Best Airport Lounge in the World 2007 by Skytrax.

The new facilities at T3 were designed by architects Foster + Partners in conjunction with Virgin Atlantic’s in-house design team.  The new terminal is part of BAA’s £1 billion investment plan for Terminal 3 over the next ten years. 

Virgin Atlantic currently operates 160 flights a week from Heathrow to a range of long-haul destinations worldwide, including New York, Washington, LA, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Lagos and Nairobi.



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