Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of the first of four A330-200 aircraft it is leasing from defunct carrier Air Berlin, which it says offer a choice of three seat “styles”.
As detailed on this forum thread at the end of 2017, Virgin is leasing the aircraft due to issues with the Rolls Royce engines on some of the carrier’s B787 aircraft.
The configuration of the aircraft means that passengers will see a very different interior from the normal Virgin Atlantic economy, premium economy and Upper Class seating.
The carrier says instead passengers can choose from “…the Love Suite, the Freedom Solo Suite, and the Corner Solo Suite” depending on their preference.
According to Virgin, the Love Suite is located in the centre of the cabin and “ideal for couples or groups travelling and looking to dine and watch movies together”.
The Solo Freedom Suite “lets customers unwind and stretch out with direct aisle access”, while the Solo Corner Suite “Provides customers with extra privacy and a great view”.
Virgin stresses that all three choices offer direct aisle access – a seatplan showing the new layout can be seen below.
The carrier is set to take delivery of the four A330-200s by March – the first is called ‘Daydream Believer’, while subsequent aircraft will be named ‘Scarlett O’Hara’, ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’.
The 287-seater aircraft feature 19 fully flat beds in business class, 46 extra leg room economy seats, and 222 economy seats.
They will initially operate flights from Manchester to New York, Boston, San Francisco and Barbados.
The absence of a premium economy cabin is because Air Berlin did not offer a fully fledged premium economy class. Virgin says that the aircraft will be fitted with premium economy seats “towards the end of 2018”.
Commenting on the news Phil Maher, EVP Operations for Virgin Atlantic, said:
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming four A330-200s to the Virgin Atlantic fleet this March. These aircraft will add resilience to our flying programme in light of an industry wide shortage of Trent 1000 engines used on our Boeing 787 aircraft.”
“Featuring our iconic Virgin Atlantic livery and crewed by our world class pilots and cabin crew, these aircraft will offer our award winning food, drink and inflight entertainment.
“The Upper Class cabin introduces three new styles of seating for customers to choose from, as well as extra touches such as a barista style coffee menu and free wifi messaging. The Economy cabin offers 222 seats, and we’re investing in a premium economy cabin for each aircraft, to be fitted towards the end of the year.”
Note that this aircraft configuration is completely different to the revised A330 Upper Class seating unveiled by the carrier on its own aircraft last year.