Either I’ve been asleep for the past few months or Virgin Atlantic has been really quiet about their new business class product, because it’s already flying between New York and London on their brand new three class Airbus 330s (featuring Economy, Premium Economy, and Upper Class).
You can find all the details of their new Upper Class Suite here, which is currently operating VS003/004 six days a week with the following schedule:
Virgin Atlantic 3 London Heathrow to New York JFK departing at 9:30AM and arriving at 12:20PM
Virgin Atlantic 4 New York JFK to London Heathrow departing at 6:15PM and arriving at 6:35AM (+1 day)
On the whole the product looks like an evolution of the old seat, and not an entirely new concept. The seats are still in a “herringbone” configuration, though it looks like they’ve made quite a few functional improvements. First of all, the bed is now 7ft2in, the longest business class bed of any airline. One of the complaints about the previous seat is that it doesn’t recline all that far, since in order to turn the seat into a bed you have to “flip” the seatback. The new seat seems to have 50% more recline, which is great when you’re not interested in sleeping.
Virgin Atlantic has a pretty cool virtual tour of the product on their website, so check that out. Best I can tell they’ll be installing this product on the Airbus 330s they’re taking delivery of, as well as the 787s they take delivery of starting in 2014, though I don’t think they plan on reconfiguring their existing fleet just yet.
Anyway, I’m rather excited about the new product. I flew Virgin Atlantic last year and thought they had one of the most solid business class products of any airline I’ve flown, between the great in-flight service and awesome ground experience, whether it be in New York, San Francisco, or London (where they have both an arrivals lounge and departures lounge).
I’ve briefly browsed award availability and unfortunately haven’t been able to find any Upper Class award availability for the coming weeks. If I find any I’ll probably make a booking to try the product out and report back to you guys. Or if anyone else comes across space but doesn’t want to use it, let me know and I’ll gladly be the sacrificial lamb and report back. 😉