The only direct flight from Heathrow to Barbados takes off today (Tuesday).

The twice-weekly Virgin Atlantic service means the airline will offer up to 11 flights a week to the Caribbean island from Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow.

The new winter flights operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays using an Airbus A330 in a three class configuration with 31 Upper Class, 48 premium economy and 185 economy seats.

Return economy fares start at £649 including tax.

Heathrow-Barbados is Virgin Atlantic’s fifth new service this year following routes to Seattle from Heathrow and Boston, New York and San Francisco from Manchester airport.

An extended codeshare agreement with Flybe will enable travellers from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to connect to Barbados via Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Shai Weiss said: “The Caribbean has always been a core market for Virgin Atlantic and we’re excited to be offering more choice to our customers with the option of flying from Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester direct to Barbados.”