Virgin Atlantic to Introduce Economy Light Fare with No Free Checked Bags

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will split it's Economy Class into three tiers. The lowest of those tiers, Economy Light, will no longer include any checked baggage and your seat will be assigned upon check-in.

Competition among transatlantic rotues has become fierce in recent years. The massive expansion of long-haul, low-cost airlines such as Norwegian and WOW, along with newcomers LEVEL and Primera, have brought a new business model to this market. The new model being to sell a really low priced, bare-bones ticket that only includes transportation and small amount of luggage. Everything else, like checked bags, seat selection, and meals, is availble for an additional cost.

At first, the major airlines didn't really budge in price, but it seems like the budget airlines are here to stay, which has resulted in some excellent price wars over the past couple of years. Recently, some of the major airlines have taken further steps to better compete with the growing low-cost carriers. Delta, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, Lufthansa, SAS, Aer Lingus, TAP, and Icelandair have all introduced some form of a basic economy fare on transatlantic routes, which has extra costs for some amenities that used to be included.

Virgin Atlantic will now also sell an Economy Light fare. They are marketing this as dividing the economy experience into three different tiers. All tickets will still include carry-on luggage, food, drink, and inflight entertainment, but there are a few differences, which I'll highlight below.

Economy Light

  • No checked luggage included
  • Seat assignment only at check-in

Economy Classic

  • One free checked bag
  • Classic experience as before

Economy Delight

  • 34" seat pitch (compared to 31" for Economy Light and Classic)
  • One free checked bag

These new economy options are not for sale yet, but are said to be introduced in spring 2018. For now, you'll still get the classic economy experience if you buy a ticket on Virgin Atlantic. Don't wait too long though, because spring is fast approaching. Once the Economy Light fare is for sale, it's likely that their lowest fares will just include less for the same amount of money.