This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Air Berlin’s 2017 demise was calculated and swift — unlike bankrupt Alitalia, which has been kept afloat by the Italian government time and time again, Germany’s carrier was all but abandoned immediately after declaring insolvency. It was at the same time impressive and painful to watch, given that customers were left stranded and many of the airline’s employees lost their jobs.
The carrier’s A330s haven’t been grounded for long, though — four have now made their way to Virgin Atlantic’s fleet, and the first just underwent a livery overhaul, emerging in Virgin Atlantic’s colors:
Virgin sent out a press release to celebrate its new acquisition, positioning the A330-200s as a new product, complete with “new seat styles” — which are really just the old Air Berlin seats with a bit of marketing magic. As the airline explains:
The unique Upper Class cabin introduces three new seat styles for Virgin Atlantic customers to choose from — the Love Suite, the Freedom Solo Suite, and the Corner Solo Suite — all with direct aisle access. Customers will also be able to select from a special barista style coffee menu; receive free messaging, and an improved amenity kit featuring ‘Happy Socks.’
Now, before you get excited about that “Love Suite,” it’s really just the same old (read: actually old) “honeymoon-style” center seats already installed by Air Berlin, which I reviewed toward the end of last year:
And here’s that “Freedom Solo Suite,” which Virgin Atlantic says “Lets customers unwind and stretch out with direct aisle access:”
And finally the “Corner Solo Suite,” which “Provides customers with extra privacy and a great view:”
While these seats have already been flying for years for Air Berlin, TPG considers them to be a step up from the older herringbone configuration on some of Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet — although I haven’t flown Upper Class before, I’ve experienced a similar seat on Air New Zealand, and I do find these A330-200 seats to be more spacious.
There will be four “new” A330-200s in total. They will follow in the longstanding Virgin Atlantic tradition of giving its jets cheeky names and registrations, often with references to rock and roll. The first, “Daydream Believer” (registered G-VMNK), will enter service in March, followed by “Scarlett O’Hara” (G-VWND), “Honky Tonk Woman” (G-VMIK) and “Strawberry Fields” (G-VLNM) in the spring. They’ll be assigned to flights from Manchester to New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO) and Barbados (BGI), offering 19 Upper Class seats, 45 extra-legroom economy seats and 222 regular coach seats, both in a 2-4-2 configuration with on-demand entertainment and Wi-Fi. A premium economy cabin will be added later this year.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees