Virgin Atlantic is the latest airline to offer a differentiated experience for some passengers in its business class cabin. The carrier introduced the Retreat Suite, a more premium version of its Upper Class suite, as part of the unveiling of its new A330neo interior.
We’re proud to unveil our state of the art A330neo and show the evolution of our customer experience, with each of our customers receiving a premium experience regardless of the cabin they travel in. They’ll be better connected with their fellow travelers and our amazing crew in the air, and with their friends and family on the ground.– Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic
Extra Premium in the Retreat Suite
Upper Class has always been the premium option for Virgin Atlantic passengers. Now two of those travelers can get a bit extra on board with the Retreat Suite offering. The center pair of seats at the front of the cabin feature an extra long 79″ bed, as well as a larger 27″ in-flight entertainment screen. Each Retreat Suite also allows the ottoman to convert to a seat for a guest to visit or for passengers to dine together.
Dropping the center divider between the pair of seats allows up to four passengers to “comfortably dine, chat or play games in their own private social space.” Unlike the Qatar Airways QSuites quad seat social space, however, the two ottoman seats are not occupied during taxi, take-off, and landing.
Read More: Additional details, images for Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe, SkyNest seats
Upper Class suites
The other 30 Upper Class suites on board are forward facing seats with a privacy door. Customers can control the mood lighting in their suite, as well as enjoy the 17.3” touchscreen TV for entertainment.
All Upper Class passengers can also take advantage of the Loft social space on board. Located at the back of the business class cabin, the Loft includes space for eight passengers, four of whom can be seated. A self-service mini-fridge allows these passengers to grab a snack or drink during the flight. A pair of 27″ screens are available in the Loft for entertainment as well.
Virgin Atlantic in-house Design team worked in collaboration with Factorydesign to develop the Retreat Suite, Upper Class Suite and The Loft.
Up to 46 passengers in Premium (economy) will enjoy a 2-3-2 layout on board with 38″ of pitch.
The seats all include a calf rest for increased comfort, as well as 13.3″ IFE screens.
The Virgin Atlantic A330 features 28 extra legroom Economy Delight seats pitched at 34″. The remaining 156 seats are pitched at 31″. All seats include 13.3″ screens, similar to the Premium Economy cabin.
In a slightly interesting twist, the Economy Delight seats are only the outside pairs, located in the rear-most cabin.
There are seven rows just aft of the Premium cabin that do not include the extra legroom option. The exit row also is not included in the Economy Delight count.
Wi-Fi, Power and Bluetooth for all!
All passengers in Premium Economy and Upper Class have Qi-compatible wireless charging options for their electronics, as well as USB and universal power outlets. In economy class passengers get USB and universal power. With some airlines choosing to remove the traditional power outlets from economy class, Virgin Atlantic’s choice to keep that option is a nice win for travelers.
Every seat also offers Bluetooth pairing for the in-flight entertainment system. Considered by most vendors impossible just a few years ago, it is a nearly ubiquitous choice by airlines as they configure new aircraft today.
Virgin Atlantic selected Viasat to provide in-flight connectivity on the A330neo fleet. This was first tipped in February and confirmed as part of the cabin unveiling. The carrier describes it as its “fastest ever Wi-Fi.” It also makes Virgin Atlantic one of very few airlines to have contracts with four different in-flight internet providers, one for each aircraft type. The 787s fly with Panasonic Avionics‘ eXConnect, the A330s with Intelsat‘s 2Ku and the A350s with Inmarsat‘s GX Aviation.
The A330neo is expected to enter service in October, with Boston flagged as the first destination. Tickets will go on sale later this month.
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