Virgin Atlantic has provided more details about the revamp of its four A330-200 aircraft which were acquired from bankrupt carrier Air Berlin earlier this year.
The aircraft are being leased in order to “provide extra resilience in light of the global industry shortage of Trent 1000 engines”, which has affected Virgin’s fleet of B787 aircraft.
The aircraft came in a two-class economy and business class layout (albeit with 46 extra legroom economy seats), and the carrier has now confirmed it will add a premium economy cabin (now referred to simply as Premium) from November, with a total of 35 seats offering 38 inches of seat pitch.
Virgin also says that the aircraft’s economy offering “will also see additional touches of our famous style throughout the cabin”, with new leather headrests, refreshed bathrooms, and “stylish mood lighting and wall finishes”.
Finally the airline says that that Upper Class “will enjoy a sleek new makeover” from November.
As a result of leasing these aircraft, the business class seating is very different to that offered on the rest of Virgin’s fleet, with a staggered 1-2-1 layout providing all passengers with direct aisle access.
The carrier has attempted to put a positive spin on this “exclusive” layout, marketing the seat options with names like the “Love Suite”, the “Freedom Solo Suite”, and the “Corner Solo Suite”, and from November the revamped seats will feature fabric “entirely upholstered with natural and soft Espresso leather, underlining the cabin’s distinctive Virgin Atlantic flair”.
The A330-200 aircraft were initially rostered onto routes from Manchester to New York, Boston, San Francisco and Barbados (note that the San Francisco service is being dropped in favour of Los Angeles next spring), and Virgin said that “whilst the number one priority was to ensure no customer journeys were impacted, steps were immediately put in place to guarantee the full Virgin Atlantic flair would be evident in every cabin”
Commenting on the revamp Daniel Kerzner, vice president of customer experience said:
“Earlier this year, we acquired A330-200s to maintain our flying programme and were committed to refurbishing these aircraft to our high standards. We quickly gathered insights from our customers that have influenced the exciting product we’re launching later this year.
“In only a few months we’ve been able to source, design and manufacture new cabin interiors, which is a true testament to our teams and their focus on giving our customers a truly Virgin Atlantic experience. When life gives you lemons, we say – make sparkling lemonade!”
Virgin also noted in the press release that it is set to take delivery of its first A350 next year, with Upper Class seats for this aircraft “currently in development to set another industry standard for business class travel”.