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Keep it in the family. Though the initial image of the Corleone family in The Godfather Part II comes to mind first, the phrase symbolizes the ambition to keep something great amongst close peers. A family. Few realize just how much work and cost goes into creating a new airplane seat in any cabin. The more parts, the more elaborate the more problems and a few months can easily turn into a few years. Though it’s slightly overdue, for those in the Virgin family, one could only hope that Virgin Australia’s new business class will be passed around like the family remote, it’s glorious. It’s here, it’s FLYING!

Unlike most seating and product announcements scheduled for some time in the near to Star Wars distant future these seats are rolling down a runway right now. In fact, they took off yesterday. Virgin Australia are retrofitting their A330’s over the course of the month focusing on their domestic and short haul fleet first before adding what one could assume to be a near identical seat to their current fleet of 777’s serving North America. Hooray! The new seats will take the current seven across in business to a four across sleek industry standard flat bed with the competitive advantage of being brand new, or “Virgin” with extra large screens, increased storage space, retrofitted mood lighting and the brands unique styling.

Speaking of styling, other than the stylish color palette and modular seating a few things caught my eye. I love the privacy divider (above) on middle seats allowing those that want to chat direct facing access and those that would prefer not to stare back in fear at their creepy seat mate an easy way out. No one likes a creepy staring contest. Ok, maybe Thom Yorke. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done an ounce of actual work in business class, ever. Sure, it’s my job to review planes and seats but I don’t consider drinking champagne and watching Entourage re runs to be gainful employment. For those that are far more disciplined and enjoy champagne less than I, the new seats seem to feature a functional and transformable work space complete with storage lockers for things like laptops and a desk/tray area you might even be able to crunch a few numbers on. Alternately, if you are as bad as I am, there’s a new bar…

Sooo….Virgin. You just developed an amazing new seat, it looks perfect and it’s only flying in Australia? Keep it in the family and create some plans for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to join the party. There’s no doubt that reverse herringbone seats of this style are the most desirable offering privacy, window watching and increased legroom. I like all of those things. I for one will keep a watchful eye. With the seats installed in November for all North American routes, December could be a wonderful time to visit the land down under…

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