Virgin Atlantic

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Robert T
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Virgin Atlantic

Post by Robert T » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:13 pm

Looks like Virgin A had a change of heart?? I'd very much welcome their return.....
https://www.facebook.com/tobagonews/pho ... =1&theater

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:43 pm

Hi Robert

You beat me to it with your post coming in while I was in the middle of updating our 'Air Services' page.

It is "all change" at the moment. BA announced last week that they were offering an additional weekly flight from Spring 2015, via Antigua.

In tandem with this, we learn that the Monarch service is to end next April. Golden Caribbean were told the news last week and clearly this was because the THA has signed the deal with Virgin.

It is so sad, because it means that there will be no non-stop direct flights to Tobago from the UK and neither will there be a more affordable alternative to BA/Virgin.
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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Robert T » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:17 pm

Hi Steve,
This February we flew with Virgin via St Lucia. I was dreading that flight as it was longer than before with the 747 non-stop service but it actually turned out to be the best flight we ever had. Almost everyone got off in St Lucia so It only took us about 10 minutes to get out of the airport in Tobago which totally made up for the extra time we spent on the plane.
And of course for the same reason it was a lot easier to board the plane on the way back to London.

Rob

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Andy&sam » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:31 pm

All change indeed. we looked at several options, in the end we found that it was cheaper for us to fly to New York, spend a few days there and then fly on to Tobago. This throws another option into the mix! either way, we cannot wait to get back to limin' in Castara :D

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by GillianM » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:16 pm

Reading your post about the cancelled Monarch service also makes me very sad Steve. It is bound to have a huge effect on all the small guest houses on the island who rely on the more 'budget' traveller of which I am one. As I understood it, the THA subsidised the Monarch flight via Golden Caribbean(which was passed on to the traveller with lower fares)-am I correct? From what you say, the situation with the Virgin flight is unlikely to be the same?
It will also be a disaster for those people who wish to travel as a family-flight costs for a family of four now around £3,200 instead of £1700.

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:36 pm

Hi Gillian

Yes, you are correct. The Golden Caribbean/Monarch flights were subsidised by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) tourism department. The THA are now claiming that the service was cancelled because Monarch are terminating their long-haul services. However, Golden Caribbean assure me that they had alternative carriers lined up and ready to take over the charter.

With no cheap-flight competition, BA and Virgin will be able to keep prices higher. Either way, it is bound to have a very negative impact on tourism to Tobago, particularly at the 'cheaper' end of the market - as you say.

Worse still, not only will we pay more, but we shall have to endure flights via other islands. I personally found the direct flight time just about on the limit of 'tolerable'. The extra travelling time of flying via St Lucia or Antigua could just tip the balance for many people. I hate to confess that I might be one of them!
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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by GillianM » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:01 pm

Thanks for the update Steve. It is so depressing. Do you think there will be any kind of fight put up by the affected islanders/interested parties to redress this situation?
Have you ever considered any of the flights going to Port of Spain, with the 20 minute onward flight to Tobago? I wondered if any of these might provide better/cheaper alternative?
Only other option may be to consider a package holiday….groan.

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:14 pm

No chance of anything being done by 'interested partied' - they are so busy in-fighting and building egos that they are unlikely to have even noticed the news. There's no chance of them getting a consensus to any plan, much less have the funding to action it.

Going via POS is a possibility, but only something that would be considered by true diehards.
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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Hugh S » Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:37 pm

True diehards or Tobago lovers traveling from the US. 8)

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:43 pm

Hi Hugh

Of course. :) I was referring to travellers from Europe who have had to suffer around 9 hours in the air, possibly in very cramped surroundings. Having to disembark and take another flight, no matter how short, is going to put a lot of people off. Transferring after a 4-5 hour flight from North America is not too bad a price to pay.
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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Hugh S » Sat Nov 15, 2014 3:59 pm

Nine hours on one plane is tough!

But from San Francisco to Miami is 5 hours, who knows how long the layover might be and then 4 hours to POS and then the indignities of passing through to Tobago. Typically 19 hours total give or take. Delta used to go direct from SFO to Atlanta and then straight to Tobago which was only 10 to 12 hours.

Hugh

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:02 pm

That makes you diehard. :)
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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Hugh S » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:04 pm

True love! And that is part of the reason I stay so long each visit.

Hugh 8)

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Robert T » Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:31 pm

HI Steve,
About 2 years ago we were told about Monarch pulling out of Tobago by another holiday maker whose partner was a flight attendant for the airline.

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Robert T » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:40 pm

According to this article BA might just offer a direct non-stop service to Tobago in the future.
http://www.thetobagonews.com/news/item/ ... the-spring

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:06 pm

I am aware Monarch are stopping soon.

Virgin are doing some flights for a couple of months but these seem to be packaged with the main resorts.

BA already do non-direct flights via Antigua and also a flight to Trinidad via St Lucia ... these are on Mondays.

I have just found out that BA are adding Fridays which is good to allow you to recover from jetlag over the weekends.

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Ronald » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:17 pm

About BA-flight

I arrived to Tobago on a BA-flight fron Garwick North, on a Monday Dec 1 via Antigua, and the flight was almost 100% full, mostly of these passengers (about 80%) did get off in Antigua.
I always use BA all the way from Stockholm, and I find their service be Very good even for us in the Economic section!

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by WendyMay » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:20 pm

Fell in love with Tobago on our first visit back in 2003. As a family we have visited 3 times since that very first trip. We were there in 2013 and again in 2014 for family wedding. We had planned to visit again this year and spend 3 weeks, as two weeks were never long enough. We usually rent a villa, we are a family of 6, this includes a child and we like the freedom to do our own thing.
I would also say that 12 out of the 14 night stay, we ate out at local restaurant's each night. Always hired a car, did the rain forest trail with a local guide and a trip out on "Island Girl" and glass bottom boat. However! I am really sorry to say that due to Monarch flights no longer running (as well as the prices that BA and Virgin charge). With no other direct flights available. We have decided to cancel our visit and are now looking at Antigua or Barbados. Nine hour flight time is just about bearable as it is, for someone who is not too happy flying.
Hopefully! will be back to Tobago in the future, if they re-instate direct flights and if we win the lottery.
Tobago we love you and will miss you.

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Re: Virgin Atlantic

Post by Robert T » Tue May 05, 2015 9:11 pm

We flew with BA first time this February and will probably never again. Very old run down plane and pretty bad service. We are very happy that Virgin is back as we always found them far superior regarding service , punctuality etc. If you are a loyal customer you'll often find great prices using your airmiles.. Just offering flights for £423 pounds for most of the low season and I doubt anyone can call that pricey..

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