a seat on a plane

There’s a seat in Virgin Atlantic’s A350-1000 economy cabin that has more legroom than any seat in premium economy, or even the airlines beautiful new upper class. Yep, In every airplane cabin, there are always going to be seats and rows which are far more desirable than others, and if you are clever enough to get in and pick one early, you’ll have a better flying experience. Who doesn’t want that?

We went up and down the aisles of each Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000 cabin, testing all the seats to find the best option in each, just to save you hassle. Well, that, and we get advertising money from you being here, which is nice too.

Oh – and wherever you sit, don’t forget to watch the HD tail or belly cams to enjoy a front on view of your take offs and landings. They are found under “my flight” on the entertainment system. It’s amazing, seriously.

a screen shot of an airplaneBest Virgin Atlantic A350 Economy Seats

Virgin Atlantic went big on economy on the Airbus A350, so much so, that the new economy seats have larger entertainment screens than some of the older Upper Class seats on the Airbus A340, coming in at 11.5 inches with HD clarity and USB ports for charging!

All A350 economy seats have 17.4 inches of width, which is far above average, and 5” of recline, which is nice! If you book economy delight, the seat pitch, which basically means legroom – will go up from 31” to 34”. For comparison sake – 34” is as much or more legroom as any airline offers in economy.virgin a350 economy seat

virgin a350 economy seatThe best Virgin Atlantic economy seats on the A350 are without a doubt found in rows 45, 52, 53 and 54. Row 45 is the first row of economy and isn’t a “delight” seat, which means it can be acquired even on lower fares. Being in the front means you’ll beat most of the plane through immigration. Row 52 is near the lavatories, but if you don’t mind, you’ll be able to recline sooner during an overnight flight, since you won’t have anyone behind you.

virgin a350 economy delight virgin a350 economy delightEconomy delight Rows 53 and 54 each have absolute gems for economy seats, with row 53 offering virtually unlimited legroom – just look at the pictures! As far as the true best seats, aim for any seat in row 53 or seats 54A or 54K, since these seats in row 54 don’t have a seat in front, meaning they too have virtually unlimited legroom. At the far rear, the A350 has an incredibly large galley near row 70, so if you like to stretch your legs – that’s the place to go!

seats in an airplane with a television screen a row of seats in an airplaneHot Tip: in terms of value, there’s no better Virgin Atlantic value than Economy Delight on the A350. You’ll earn 150% of the miles flown, which is higher miles earning than the cheap premium economy fares, and you’ll earn just as many tier points toward elite Silver or Gold elite status in the Virgin Flying Club. And, some rows have more legroom than any Premium or Upper Class seats. Plus, you get to use premium check in anyway…

Best Virgin Atlantic A350 Premium Economy Seats

Premium economy is a great way to fly, particularly when the price is right, which can be just above economy but thousands below business class. Virgin Atlantic shrunk seat width on premium economy to create a 2-4-2 setup for the A350, but they made up for it with a few new touches, including 13.3” next generation screens and both USB and AC power ports.

virgin a350 premium economy virgin a350 premium economyThanks to the new screens which don’t require separate boxes for the entertainment system, there’s actually a lot more space in the foot area and below the seat now for storage. Having flown in the old premium seats and the new ones, most passengers would hardly notice the new width – especially considering 18.5” is only 1.5” narrower than 20” the superb Upper Class Suites. Premium economy is located just behind the Upper Class “loft bar”, which means if you’re looking to make a quick getaway from the flight, this is a great option.

a seat with food in itvirgin a350 premium economyThe best premium economy seats on the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 are absolutely those in the first and last rows of the cabin in seats A,C or H,K – in pairs of two. Row 21 would be a natural choice since it’s at the front of the cabin and enjoys a little bit of extra legroom, but if sleep is the priority on your A350 flight, seats 27A, 27C, 27H or 27K are extremely desirable because you’ll be able to recline immediately, since no one will be eating behind you.

a group of bags on a chair a tv and magazines in the back of an airplaneThere’s a wall directly behind Row 27 but no toilets, which means things should stay relatively quiet and undisturbed. Basically: if you’re trying to get out of there fast, go for row 21, but if you want the most flexibility to work, sleep or recline as you wish – go for row 27. Oh, and side note, premium also gets the cool new sustainable amenity kits, now called “goodie bags”.

Best Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Suites

For a full review of the new Upper Class experience, head here. Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class is unlike anything the airline has ever previously launched, featuring legitimate seclusion, privacy and next generation tech. The best feature? You can order anything from a glass of champagne to your complimentary afternoon tea directly from your seat, using the in-flight entertainment system.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Virgin Atlantic New Upper ClassAs for the best Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class seats, those are most certainly in row 1. Seats 1A, 1D, 1G and 1K each have increased bed width and length thanks to their position at the bulkhead. Every seat is a massive improvement and a top business class experience, but these have extra room which brings them nearer to first class dimensions.

a seat in a planeIf this is a celebration, as all business class travel should be, those fancying a trip to the bar may also enjoy row 11, where you’re a mere one step away from one of the seats. I sat in 11K and couldn’t hear any noise from those talking at the bar with my headphones on, but for light sleepers these are best avoided.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Virgin Atlantic New Upper ClassIf you’re flying Upper Class solo, window seats in A or K are your friend, and if you’re travelling as a pair and actually want to talk, then the D and G middle seats are perfect. The seats are extremely well designed so that they face out to keep it from being awkward for strangers, but with the partition lowered it’s really easy to reach across and chat if there’s actually someone you care to speak to.

Hot tip: If you’re flying from London the USA, always sit in a K seat in that direction to enjoy view of Greenland and any other seaboard features, and sit in an A row on the way back, so that you stand a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, if you happen to take a Northern route.

a large white airplane on a runwayVirgin Atlantic A350-1000 Flight Routes

The Virgin Atlantic A350’s are flying out of the Airbus factory quickly, and the first four are headed to New York JFK. By December 2019, four daily flights will feature the A350 in each direction. For 2020, Los Angeles has been named as the second destination, and the airline will also launch a reconfigured A350 version onto leisure routes later in 2020. Here’s more details, including flight numbers.

You can book with Virgin Atlantic here.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Thank you for this! Whenever I fly in VS economy or premium economy, I’ve found VS always blocks off the front row in each cabin. At the airport I’m able to get those seats if they’re available but at times I wish it’s possible to book them in advance (I know I know… they reserve them for pax with babies.)

  2. Genuinely useful information. Thanks. I like that you don’t just list business class and ignore the rest of the plane. One thing that puzzles me though is when you write “All A350 economy seats have 17.4 inches of width, which is far above average”. So if 17.4 inches is far above average, average is what, 15 inches? I thought that Airbus had specifically stated that they set up for a width of 18 inches in coach because anything less would be uncomfortable or worse. I’m not looking to troll here, and you know more than I do, but I really am curious.

  3. Remarkable what going for something other than the base model crammed with too many seats can do…
    What a contrast with @British_Airways much trumpeted launch of their a350 product, which conveniently omitted to mention the rows of non-reclining seats (seriously on an airfrome likely to fly some of the longest non stop routes), the absence of any external cameras, the absence of a third galley or indeed ANY other option that would have cost uncle Alex and slasher Willie more than the bare minimum Airbus charge.
    Roll on real competition and genuine change in approach by the national embarrassment (yes even in the context of the Brexit debate) that Spanglish Airlines has become.
    #flyabba for better; comfort, honesty, reliability, service and value!

  4. I’m not sure that 17.4 is “far above average” for an economy seat on Transatlantic… Just looking at Virgin the A330 is 17.7, A340 17.5, 747 17.5, 787 17.5. BA A350 17.6, A380 & 747 17.5, 777 18.1. Delta 767 18.1, 777 18.5, A330neo 18.0.

    Strikes me 17.4 is average at best and 18.5 for PE is a shame when AA/DL and even Norwegian offer 19″ width and the 350 is supposed to be “XWB”!

  5. Does anyone else here think that the A350 PE armrests look inadequate in terms of width? One of the benefits of the wider PE seats on the B787 et al is that the armrest is very wide, meaning that conflict of arms and elbows is never a problem. The A350 armrests look much narrower – where each passenger had a whole arm’s worth of space on the B787, there’s only half an arm’s space on the A350.

    It’s obvious that Virgin have compensated for the 2-4-2 configuration by shrinking the arm rest. This could be a deal breaker for me; I’d say that a roomy armrest is more important to overall comfort than either legroom or seat width. Being prodded in the side by a neghbour’s elbow isn’t my idea of comfort.

  6. When it says “Premium economy is located just behind the Upper Class “loft bar”, which means if you’re looking to make a quick getaway from the flight, this is a great option” does that mean it’s possible to ‘sneak’ into the Loft area as I understand it’s only for Upper Class passengers?Do Cabin crew keep a lookout for this?

  7. Good reviews and helpful information. Thanks.
    What is missing is how to actually book the bulkhead rows, as always blanked out when I try and book VS Premium.
    For Upper Class the A350 looks a real winner, sadly Premium is a huge regression to 2-4-2 and 18.5 inches seat width is a deal-breaker combined with the narrower arm rests.
    Economy also seems to assume people are shrinking. The window seats in economy seem built into the arc of the fuselage; can you sit straight with window-side arm full on the arm rest?
    So unless I’m sure of a 2/3rds full flight (or springing for UC) I will be avoiding VS A350 routes.
    Sad, as looks a very nicely set up plane for quietness, good air quality and humidity.

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