Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of the first of 12 A350-1000 aircraft, ahead of the planned launch of transatlantic services to New York JFK from September 10.
The carrier has posted several images of the A350 – named Red Velvet – on its social media pages, as the Airbus aircraft made its way from Toulouse to Gatwick.
As previously reported, the carrier’s A350 features a brand new Upper Class Suite. Virgin 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.
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.
Virgin is scheduled to take delivery of four A350s this year, and has a further eight on order for delivery by 2021.
The next-generation aircraft is set to initially operate six flights per week on the route from September 10, departing Heathrow on flight VS153 at 1330, arriving into JFK at 1625, returning on VS138 at 1900, landing back into London at 0720 the following day.
From September 25 the outbound A350 service will switch to flight VS137, departing Heathrow at 1150 and arriving into New York at 1450.
Until October 26 the aircraft will not operate on Thursdays, and between October 27 and March 28, 2019, it will not operate on Tuesdays.