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Tel Aviv is one of my favourite destinations in the world. If you’ve never been before, this autumn could be the perfect time to go. The food is mind blowing, the beaches are great and the culture is second to none.
It therefore came as an incredibly pleasant surprise when Virgin Atlantic announced the launch of a new route from London Heathrow (LHR) to Tel Aviv (TLV). Not only did it add more capacity and frequencies to the already-busy London to Israel route (some days have a whopping 12 direct flights), but it added a brilliant points and miles option on a proper long-haul aircraft, with Virgin set to operate an Airbus A330-300.
Virgin Atlantic is set to begin flights on 25 September 2019, with the initial schedule being as follows:
- VS453 London (LHR) 1:30pm Departure ⇒ Tel Aviv (TLV) 8:35pm Arrival
- VS454 Tel Aviv (TLV) 7:15am Departure ⇒ London (LHR) 11:10am Arrival
Cash prices are rather competitive, with return economy flights available from £300, premium economy from £600 and Upper Class from £1,135. When booking with cash, you’ll earn miles to bolster your Flying Club stash.
What is even more exciting is the mileage pricing on this route. Virgin Flying Club miles are relatively easy to earn in the UK, and the redemption prices are refreshingly low. The amounts below are the number of miles you’ll need for a one-way flight (off peak/peak):
If you’re not sitting on a huge bank of points, 28,000 miles can be easily earned. And with reasonable taxes and fees (compared to some other airlines and routes) Upper Class to TLV on points could be your access point to some true luxury, including the incredible Clubhouse at LHR.
Why Tel Aviv?
Food — The food in Israel — and Tel Aviv in particular — is insane. Don’t miss hummus at Abu Hassan (order the Masabacha) and dinner at one of Eyal Shani’s restaurants like Romano or Port Said.
Beaches — Tel Aviv is blessed with a huge coastline of wide, sandy beaches, which are even nice after the renovation of the boardwalk along almost the entire length of the city.
Culture — Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world, and some of the best are in or around Tel Aviv. One of my favourites is the blind exhibition as part of the Children’s Museum in Holon, which takes you on an experiential journey of life without sight.
Launch pad to the rest of Israel — Israel is small, with the same land mass as Wales. Tracking from north to south, you can enjoy a ski resort, waterfalls, beaches, forests, Dead Sea floating, deserts and scuba diving. Jerusalem is only a 40-minute drive down the road, and you can be steeped in history within the hour.
Tel Aviv is an incredible destination, and Virgin Atlantic‘s new route gives you the opportunity to fly there on a full-service airline for a reasonable price. With a mileage redemption in Upper Class, you could experience true in-flight comfort and take advantage of a true sweet spot in the Virgin Flying Club programme.
Featured photo by Anna Bryukhanova/Getty Images.
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