Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330neo premium customer experience has made its debut with an Upper Class cabin that features new seating, an evolution of its social space and the unveiling of an exclusive suite system called ‘The Retreat Suite’.
Premium and Upper Class customers will soon enjoy what the airline terms ‘game changing’ in-seat wireless charging, while customers throughout the aircraft will also benefit from the aircraft’s additional USB connections, Bluetooth-enabled entertainment systems and the airline’s fastest ever Wi-Fi.
In 2019, Virgin Atlantic became the first UK airline to announce a firm order for up to 16 Airbus A330neos, which is designed to be 11 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than its A330-300 predecessor. From September, the airline will take delivery of three aircraft, with the remaining deliveries scheduled between 2023 and 2026. First customer flights are expected to launch from Boston in early October.
“When it comes to innovating for our customers, we never stand still,” said Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer at Virgin Atlantic. “Our desire to create memorable experiences means we’ll continue to imagine with fresh ideas. We care about every detail of the cabin design and every step of our customer’s journey. We’re proud to unveil our state-of-the-art A330neo and show the evolution of our customer experience, with each of our customers receiving a premium experience regardless of the cabin they travel in. They’ll be better connected with their fellow travellers and our amazing crew in the air, and with their friends and family on the ground.”
The airline’s Upper Class innovation, The Retreat Suite, will consist of two exclusive suites at the front of the cabin comprising a 6ft 7in direct seat to fully flat bed and a 27in touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging. Each suite boasts an ottoman that doubles up as an extra seat so up to four people can enjoys their own private social space.
The A330neo will also offer 30 brand new fully forward-facing Upper Class suites offering more space and storage alongside a fully closing privacy door and passenger-controlled mood lighting as well as a 17.3in touchscreen TV.
The airline’s social space, ‘The Loft’, remains a focal point of the cabin design but has evolved to offer a space for eight people, with four seats, allowing guests to socialise while using the new self-service fridge and drinks dispenser. Customers can also connect Bluetooth headphones to the dual panoramic 27in touchscreens or use the wireless charging facilities.
Virgin Atlantic’s 46 Premium cabin seats, with their 38in pitch remain, although they will now be accompanied by calf rests in every seat and a 13.3in touchscreen with Bluetooth audio and a new, in-seat wireless charging pad.
In the new Economy cabin, customers are set to experience the airline’s largest ever economy screen at 13.3in, with an intuitive touchscreen and Bluetooth audio to connect headphones, with customers also able to use their phone as a controller. AC power and USB ports will also keep gadgets energised. The Economy cabin offers 28 Economy Delight seats, which offer an increased 34in seat pitch, or 156 Economy Classic seats, providing a 31in pitch.
Virgin Atlantic’s in-house design team worked in collaboration with Factorydesign to develop the Retreat Suite, Upper Class Suite and The Loft.