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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Virgin Atlantic reveals new Upper Class suite

New Upper Class suite on Virgin Atlantic's A350-1000 aircraft

Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its new Upper Class suite, which will debut on the airline’s A350-1000 aircraft this summer.

The new cabin will be laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration with seats facing outward towards the windows (as opposed to the current inward-facing herringbone layout). New features include a 44-inch seat pitch with seats that convert into 82-inch fully-flat beds and an 18.5-inch entertainment screen. Passengers will be able to control the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system with their personal devices.

Virgin Atlantic says each suite will feature “a deployable privacy screen”, though it has been revealed that this does not completely close.

Reports say there will be 44 Upper Class suites on the A350. Each will have access to a new on-board social space called The Loft, which features a 32-inch TV screen with the ability to connect individual headsets via Bluetooth.

The airline has also updated Premium and economy seats with larger IFE screens, increased storage space in Premium and new fabrics in economy.

All passengers will have access to high-speed wifi.

Virgin Atlantic will initially deploy the new A350 on the Heathrow-JFK route from August. Four of its six daily flights on the route will be operated by the new aircraft by the end of 2019. The carrier will take delivery of four A350s this year and has a total of eight due to arrive by 2021.

According to Business Traveller, the airline confirmed it has no plans to retrofit its existing aircraft with the new Upper Class suite. It has recently refurbished its A330 fleet and plans to retire the A340 and B747 by the end of 2021.

Mark Anderson, executive vice president customer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: “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 evaluated 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.”

Virgin Atlantic’s launch follows British Airways’ unveiling of its new Club Suite, which will also debut on an A350 this summer.

virginatlantic.com

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