Virgin Atlantic poised for A330 Upper Class retrofit

Virgin Atlantic's A330 Upper Class Cabin

At long last Upper Class travellers flying Virgin Atlantic’s A330s can look forward to roomier accommodation.

As we reported back in October 2015, negative feedback prompted Virgin Atlantic to phase out the Dream Suite on its A330s.

Upper Class passengers complained about the tighter Dream Suite space, and this for an aircraft which operates some of Virgin Atlantic’s most important routes.

Why did Virgin Atlantic install such seating?

It was simply a matter of economics. Installing the Dream Suite enabled Virgin Atlantic to add three more seats which, assuming Upper Class was heavily booked, would potentially provide extra revenue.

The tighter space was noted by Business Travelller‘s editorial director Tom Otley when he sampled Virgin Atlantic’s A330 soon after it entered service over three years ago.

The A330’s cabin width is the same as Virgin Atlantic’s A340s, but the carrier had decided to opt for a 1-2-1 layout as against the roomier 1-1-1 found on its A340s and B787s.

It was said that passengers found the A330’s Upper Class seating too tight and too awkward.

One of the airline’s ex-staff members tweeted. “The Dream Suite [on the A330] was a fiasco. The retrofit brings the A330 product in line with the rest of the Virgin fleet.”

Virgin Atlantic plans to carry out the A330 retrofit over the coming months. During this period it will mean that some A330s will have the new seating installed while others will not. Readers are advised to check the A330 seating plan (for their particular flight) at the time of booking.

Industry website recently tweeted that “Subject to change” the intention is to convert all ten A330s in time for this year’s summer flying programme effective March 26.

Details of the A330’s revised seat count will be published when Virgin Atlantic makes an official announcement.

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  • Bullfrog

    Finally … I have always avoided Virgin’s A330 for the very reason of the narrower seat.

    • Billy S

      It wasn’t a narrower seat, that’s the thing. It was much better than the existing seat, except that you could see the person opposite you which clearly is the worst thing that has happened to anyone, ever.

    • Zabka

      I completely agree. From all Virgin aircraft, the A330 Upper Class had the worst layout. It may not be narrower – but felt like it. It was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever traveled in Business Class. My favorite Virgin plane is still the 747, in the nose.

  • hueyjudy

    I do believe that this was the plane referred to by the Chief Steward a couple of years ago when he told me that many UC passengers refused to fly on it. I remember kinda doing a slalom up and down the aisles, a most interesting way to walk in the dark. Haven’t had the misfortune of a flight on this particular plane after the first time, thank goodness.