Virgin Atlantic just entered new territory — and my goodness, it’s sexy.
That’s a bold way to describe an airline seat, or cabin, but that’s pretty much the only way to sum up this clever and creative new Airbus.
With the launch of the new A330neo, the airline is taking aim at “best in class”, not just across the Atlantic; but globally. Importantly, it’s doing so in all cabins, with cool new features in every cabin.
Sure, there’s a fully enclosed new business class seat full of beauty to talk about, but there’s also a new row called the “Retreat Suite” which rivals top first class offerings and a stellar premium cabin to match the spacious economy setup, too.
Plus — big time technology innovations.
But First, The Retreat Suite
There’s so much to unpack from the Virgin Atlantic A330neo unveiling, and believe me — we will unpack it all.
But like most humans, wow factor turns heads, and the guest stares were borderline awkward at the A330neo unveiling. Like, leave your partner kind of stuff – so we’ve just got to talk about the Retreat Suite, first. Seriously impressive.
The best place to start is that it’s like “First”, as in class.
For the A330neo, Virgin Atlantic made the bold call to install a front row of two extra premium seats which are a step above business class. For clarity, these are way nicer than the Qsuite, or ANA’s The Room and will be marketed as “business class plus”. I’d say, emphasis on the plus.
They’ll be a chance for people to buy an add on to their ‘Upper Class’ business class trip and enjoy another level of comfort and privacy that’s never really been seen across the Atlantic.
The two Retreat Suites feature 27” Screens, 6 foot 7 inch beds and a high walled door for enclosed privacy. It’s safe to say the pictures say quite a lot. The only downside to these absolutely stunning “business plus” options, if there could even be such a thing, is that they’re interior seats, so no windows to be found.
Super Cool: Dinner For Four On A Plane
Virgin’s A330neo retreat suites feature two ottomans which convert into full on seats, allowing up to 4 people to dine at once in the fully enclosed ‘Retreat Suites’. With the privacy doors, you can effectively create a private meal in the sky. This may not be the first seat to offer it, but it’s a bigger version with great fun.
New Virgin Atlantic Business Class Too
With all the fanfare over the “Retreat Suite”, it’s could be all too easy for what would otherwise be a huge product announcement to get buried.
After all, Virgin Atlantic just launched a brand new business class seat for the A330neo that’s likely their very best. It’s not as if the lovely A350 was any slouch!
The new seat picks up where the Airbus A350-1000 left off, with increased seat privacy, storage and modern technology to create seamless enjoyment.
Yep, the quasi-doors on the Virgin Airbus A350 are now fully closable privacy doors on the A330neo. The seat is great — and champions the achievements of Virgin Atlantic’s long time partner, Delta.
Delta flies a very similar seat with a privacy door, but its the tech on this bird that’s the center of praise and new excitement.
Every seat on these new Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330neo’s offer bluetooth connectivity.
Yep, you can pair your favorite pair of headphones to each seat back monitor and enjoy the full selection of film and television in personal and hygienic comfort.
Storage space is also significant. Tray tables have been engineered to maximize both comfort and space and there’s vanity mirrors and closing cupboards to freshen up and store key personal items during taxi, takeoff and landing.
Beds are extra long, plenty wide and the controls are ideally laid out for relaxing without accidentally “butt dialing” the cabin crew. There’s even a new “do not disturb” button to help the cabin crew stay on best terms with cranky passengers.
Premium economy keeps its benchmark 38” of legroom, foot rests and calf rests to match the wide leather seats. It’s got added power ports now too, with USB and AC charging at every seat. There are 48 of them, by the way, echoing Virgin’s sentiments on how much premium leisure matters.
Everyone wants to reconnect with travel and premium provides an economical way of doing so in comfort.
The tray tables are incredibly spacious for a premium economy seat too, allowing people to work or game comfortably during a flight.
Again, the tech takes the cake though. Virgin was already among best in class for Premium Economy but now the addition of wireless charging and bluetooth make this a truly top notch premium experience.
Economy Is Delightful
Virgin Atlantic isn’t just investing in passengers all the way up front.
They know that the 200+ other seats on the plane connect families, friends, place and colleagues too — and that those journeys should be stellar. Economy still features up to 34” of pitch — aka legroom — with the economy delight seats.
Entertainment screens are an impressive 13.3”, complete with bluetooth connectivity. Little color touches are everywhere, adding amusing little reminders that you’re flying the “red” airline throughout the journey.
Virgin A330neo: Awesome New Social Space
I’m a huge fan of social spaces on planes. I don’t care if you think they’re a novelty, because I simply don’t. Even if you’re stretching out up front, there’s something great about getting up out of your seat and taking a wander. And — snacking.
Everyone needs a reset, even in the new first class like “Retreat Suite”. The new loft space takes the great seating and social elements of ‘The Loft’ on the A350 and adds desired features to the experience.
There are little arm rest drink holders that pop down in between seats, which can’t be underestimated. Not only can they act as a buffer between you and whoever sits next to you, they can also hold your drink too.
All the social space seats also have seatbelts, so any unexpected turbulence won’t disturb the party or cinema catch up.
As a life long, die-hard snacker, the new social space brings a welcome addition, with a fridge freezer chock full of goodies, and a snack bar too. Passengers in Upper Class can just help themselves to whatever they desire.
And if you want to stay in the social space, you should. Two large televisions offer up to four bluetooth connections each, which means friends or colleagues can get together for movie night in the sky. Pretty cool.
A Sexy New Virgin Atlantic Cabin & Exciting Time
Virgin Atlantic survived when no one thought they would. Now, it’s time to shine, and maybe throw a little shade at the doubters.
The airline is back in a position of strength, unveiling an Airbus A330neo, six of which will begin to join the airline from October 2022.
The plane takes the luxury of Upper Class to new heights, the allure of premium further, and keeps their economy experience something worth paying more for, even when you don’t have to.
My wallet is at the ready to buy the first Upper Class tickets, whenever they become available. On that note, tickets for the new aircraft go on sale from next month. And one key detail, Boston will be the first route to feature the new plane, with daily service between London Heathrow and the East Coast gem.