Virgin Atlantic is to withdraw its A330 Upper Class Dream Suite.
The carrier will reconfigure the aircraft’s top cabin to bring it in-line with the B787-9, reports Runway Girl Network.
A spokesperson said: “This will improve consistency of experience for our Upper Class passengers and give more of them the opportunity to enjoy a product which has received excellent feedback from both our customers and our people on the B787.”
The reason behind scrapping the Dream Suite is not hard to understand.
Check the seating plans for both the A330 and B787 and it’s clear that the Upper Class seating on the former adopts a staggered 1-2-1 layout, which is more cramped than the B787’s 1-1-1 configuration.
While the A330’s cabin is a little wider than that of the B787*, the extra width does not compensate for the loss of space.
To read a review a flight in Upper Class on the B787-9, click here, and to read a write-up of a flight in Upper Class on the A330, see Tried and Tested: Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class
To consider a costly change such as this must mean that Virgin Atlantic has received negative feedback; business class is any airline’s most lucrative product so carriers must get it right first time.
Upper Class seats, like all business seating, is expensive to produce and can be time-consuming to install. And this in an industry where planes are expected to earn their keep aloft rather than be marooned inside a maintenance hangar.
Yet this is not the first time that Virgin has misjudged its high-revenue business class cabin.
Readers with long memories will recall that Virgin’s first fully-flat bed seating, which was launched at roughly the same time as British Airways’ Club World in 2000, was also a failure. It had to be replaced with the current herringbone seating after just a few years.
And what must thrifty Delta Air Lines, which holds the Virgin Atlantic purse strings, be thinking?
No timeline for the seat replacement is available. Expect nothing to happen in the near future.
Virgin’s short-lived Little Red domestic operations ended last month (see news, September 28).
* See comments below.