Virgin Atlantic to end Pakistan flights

Virgin Atlantic is terminating its Pakistan flights later this year as the airline continues to restructure its route network following the pandemic.

Flights to Lahore will end on 1st May whilst flights to Islamabad will continue a while longer, until 9th July.

Virgin confirmed the news to us in a statement:

Virgin Atlantic to end Pakistan flights

“It is with regret that we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Pakistan. Since commencing operations in December 2020, we have been proud to offer choice for customers travelling between London and Manchester in the UK, and Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. During that time, we have also provided important cargo capacity, as well as delivering vital medical supplies. ​

This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.  We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone in Pakistan; our customers, teams, partners and the authorities for their support over the past two years.”​

Both flights were launched in August 2020 as a way to diversify away from the United States, which didn’t re-open to tourists for another 15 months. The routes catered to the ‘visiting friends and family’ market which remained fairly buoyant during covid.

Virgin Atlantic clearly feels it can use those aircraft more profitably on other routes. As well as forthcoming new routes to the Maldives and Turks & Caicos, two more new routes were rumoured to be on the cards. The Korean press has speculated that Seoul may be one of them – home of Virgin’s upcoming SkyTeam partner Korean Air – with a deal done to get EU approval for the pending Korean / Asiana merger.

The move may also have been spurred by rumours that the EU flight ban of Pakistan International Airlines will soon be lifted.

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TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry vs CLEAR

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about flying, it’s that nobody likes a long security line at the airport. Thankfully, when it comes to paying a little extra to skip the crowds, there are a few options to choose from.

Increasingly, statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees (of up to $100 every four years) are becoming a standard benefit of many travel rewards cards. And with a third alternative added to the mix, CLEAR®, the decision of which program to choose for expedited security at the airport can be a difficult one to make.

If you travel often, these are great benefits that can save you both time and money — but which program does what?

Below, CNBC Select reviews the difference between each travel perk — TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR.

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TSA PreCheck

If you rarely travel abroad and don’t want to pay for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck is $85 for a five-year membership and gives you expedited security checks at more than 200 select airports in the U.S. If you don’t have a U.S. passport, this is the best option.

For anyone who has experienced TSA PreCheck, the process is also less invasive than the standard security screenings. You don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, light jacket, laptop or TSA-approved liquids.

To apply, you have to submit an online application and then schedule a 10-minute in-person appointment at one of the many enrollment centers. The appointment includes a background check and fingerprinting.

Global Entry

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival

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