Heralding a new era of more eco-friendly and sustainable aviation, the Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330neo will offer customers a range of flying experiences
Words by Emily Martin
IF YOUR SUMMER getaway was somewhat disrupted, then you might want to try a Boston trip this autumn with Virgin Atlantic, which sees its first customer flight for the new Airbus A330neo set for departure in October. With an interior scheme designed to provide a premium, personalised experience, you will be sure to leave all disappointments at the boarding gate.
The Virgin Atlantic in-house design team, led by Henry Buckley, worked in collaboration with Factorydesign to develop the Retreat Suite, Upper Class Suite and The Loft of the new aircraft. The Upper Class cabin features a brand new seat design, transformation of the airline’s renowned social space and the unveiling of The Retreat Suite; Virgin Atlantic’s most spacious suite to date.
The Airbus A330-900neos will replace the A330-300 and provide an 11 per cent increase in efficiency and reduction in emissions
The Retreat Suite is an innovation in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class offering and consists of two exclusive suites at the front of the cabin. The airline’s most spacious suite yet, it features a 6ft 7in direct seat to fully flat bed and a 27in touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging. With each suite boasting an ottoman that doubles up as an extra seat, up to four people can comfortably dine, chat, or play games in their own private social space. Customers can enjoy an intimate dinner or settle in comfort to watch a film.
The Economy cabin features 28 Economy Delight seats, with a 34in pitch.
In addition to The Retreat Suite, the A330neo will offer 30 new Upper Class suites. The fully forward-facing suite offers more space and storage alongside a fully closing privacy door with a ‘do not disturb’ feature. It has passenger-controlled mood lighting, a 17.3in touchscreen TV and even a mirror.
A window seat from the Upper Class suite.
The Loft remains a focal point of the cabin design as customers board the aircraft and is a core part of the Upper Class experience. In an evolution of design from the Airbus A350, it consists of space for eight people, with four comfortable seats, allowing guests to sit and chat or enjoy refreshments from the new self-service fridge and drinks dispenser. Customers can also connect Bluetooth headphones to the dual panoramic 27in touchscreens or utilise the wireless charging facilities for their devices.
The trademark burgundy of the Premium seats, with a 38in pitch and calf rests.
The Premium cabin consists of 46 seats on the A330neo. Virgin Atlantic’s trademark burgundy Premium seats, with a 38in pitch remain, but they are accompanied by calf rests in every seat and a 13.3in touchscreen with Bluetooth audio. The airline also offers Premium customers an in-seat wireless charging pad.
But travelling in the Economy cabin does not mean compromising on comfort and connection. Here, customers can experience in-flight entertainment via a generous 13.3in screen, with an intuitive touchscreen and Bluetooth audio to connect headphones and even have the option to use their phone as a controller. There is also plenty of storage, plus AC power and USB ports to keep gadgets charged. Customers have the choice between 28 Economy Delight seats, which offer an increased 34in seat pitch, or 156 Economy Classic seats, providing a 31in pitch.
The Loft is an integral part of the Upper Class experience, with space for eight people to sit, chat and enjoy refreshments
The A330-900neos are designed to be 11 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the A330-300 they are directly replacing, and will deliver a 50 per cent reduction in airport noise contour. By the beginning of 2027, Virgin Atlantic will be operating 100 per cent next generation aircraft, meaning they are equipped with the most efficient engines and state-of-the-art technology designed to save fuel and reduce emissions. This has so far delivered a 20 per cent reduction in fleet carbon emissions. Over the next decade, the airline will save another 10 per cent in carbon emissions.
The forward-facing Upper Class suites offer more space and storage as well as a fully closing private door with a ‘do not disturb’ feature
Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo is expected to take off to Boston on its first customer flight in early October. From September 2022, the airline will take delivery of three aircraft, with the remaining deliveries following between 2023 and 2026.