Virgin Atlantic has unveiled details of its forthcoming Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which includes an entirely new Upper Class cabin, featuring a brand new suite and social space. On sale this month, the airline’s first A350, named Red Velvet, will begin services in the late summer.
As the first airline to introduce an on-board bar, Virgin Atlantic says it has taken its customer proposition to the next level, as customers can now enjoy a social space known as The Loft. As the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends.
The Loft extends the airline’s Clubhouse experience to the skies, offering a wide range of cocktails, and the option for customers to dine together and enjoy Mile High afternoon tea by Eric Lanlard and a selection of new dishes by Donal Skehan.
As well as enjoying luxe comfort and high-end finishes, the airline says its customers can settle in with Bluetooth headphones and connect to the 32” screen – catch a show, or watch the live tailcam.
The Loft is not the only innovation to the Upper Class cabin, as customers can also experience an entirely new suite, which has been designed in collaboration with a number of Virgin Atlantic’s most frequent flyers; Every seat now faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, every suite has a 44” pitch, with a fully flat-bed length of up to 82”.
Virgin says all suites will transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed and encompass the airline’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features an intuitive new system, controllable by customers’ own personal device.
In line with the rest of the fleet, every customer will still have direct aisle access.
Customers travelling in the Premium and Economy cabins will also be able to enjoy the increased levels of luxury and comfort the A350 has to offer. Both have the largest entertainment screens Virgin has ever offered; 13.3” in Premium and 11.6” in Economy. Premium customers will also have a generous 7” recline, increased space for storage, a four way adjustable headrest and leather seats.
Economy seats have been upgraded with fabrics which have adjustable headrests. Economy Light and Classic will offer a 31” seat pitch whilst Economy Delight offers 34”. The entire aircraft will also have access to high speed wifi.
Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president customer, 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 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.”
Virgin Atlantic’s first A350 flight will take place between will take between London Heathrow and New York JFK this August and will be followed by other services to JFK later in the year. The airline has 12 Airbus A350-1000s on order and all are scheduled to be in service by 2021.
The A350 will also be the first aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet to feature its new Flying Icons, which are set to replace the airline’s famous Flying Ladies. Virgin said the high flyers are a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain.