Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its brand new Upper Class suite which will launch on the carrier’s A350-1000 aircraft this summer.
The carrier has moved away from its current herringbone Upper Class layout (where seats face into the cabin), to a new 1-2-1 configuration with seats facing outwards towards the windows.
Features include a 44-inch seat pitch, with the seat converting into a fully flat bed measuring up to 82 inches, and the carrier stresses that “All suites will transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed”, meaning no more having to get out of the seat to flip it over into bed mode.
There is an 18.5-inch screen, with passengers able to control the IFE system through their personal devices, and “a deployable privacy screen”.
It’s not entirely clear what this means, but a piece in today’s Telegraph states that the door “only half closes”, with Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO quoted as saying that “The people who love us, we love them right back and that means we have to be able to see them”. Virgin has also confirmed to Business Traveller that the door “does not go fully across”.
The Telegraph article also states that there will be a total of 44 Upper Class suites on the A350, with passengers benefiting from “a deep mattress and the thickest pillow in the sky”.
Upper Class customers will have access to the new A350 social space The Loft, which features a 32-inch TV screen, with the ability to connect individual headsets via Bluetooth.
Premium and economy seats have also updated with larger IFE screens (13.3 inches in Premium and 11.6 inches in economy), with increased storage space in Premium, and new fabrics in economy. All passengers have access to “high-speed wifi”.
The carrier’s A350 will initially launch on the London Heathrow-New York JFK route from August, with four of the carrier’s six flights per day on the route set to feature the A350 by the end of the year.
Virgin is scheduled to take delivery of four A350s this year, and has a further eight on order for delivery by 2021.
The airline confirmed that there are currently no plans to retrofit the new suite on existing aircraft, with its A330 fleet recently having been refurbished, and the A340s and B747s set to be retired by the end of 2021.
Commenting on the unveiling Mark Anderson, Executive Vice President Customer, at Virgin Atlantic said:
“The introduction of our A350 represents a true evolution of our customer experience. We believe flying should be exciting, whether it’s your first or 100th flight with us and that’s why we’ve elevated our offering to provide our customers with something totally unique.
“The A350 forms a significant part of our fleet transformation strategy and by 2022, we’ll have our youngest, cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky as the aircraft transforms our customer experience, reduces our environmental impact and improves our route economics.”
The launch of the new Upper Class suite follows the recent unveiling of British Airways’ Club Suite, which will also launch on an A350 aircraft this summer.
For our indepth guide to the different types of business class seats and which aircraft you’ll find them on, click here.