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.
Through the summer of 2017, Air Berlin was still flying passengers across the Atlantic and throughout Europe on its fleet of narrow- and wide-body Airbus jets. I even reviewed the carrier’s business-class product to New York (JFK) in late-September, but within weeks the Oneworld member was no more, with its assets making their way to other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, which acquired four of Air Berlin’s A330-200s.
Rather than keep those planes on the ground any longer, Virgin Atlantic quickly slapped its own livery and branding on Air Berlin’s former fleet. These seats — the same I flew back when the planes were with Air Berlin — are still flying today, but the aircraft interiors will soon undergo a major refresh, to the tune of £10 million (about $13.35 million).
Those funds won’t go too far, since they’re being used to cover the retrofit of four wide-body aircraft, but Virgin has confirmed that it’ll add a premium-economy cabin, with 35 seats each offering 38 inches of pitch. Business class and economy will get a facelift as well, though the changes there are largely cosmetic — it sounds like Virgin Atlantic will maintain the existing layout and shells.
For example, here’s the business cabin from when it was flying with Air Berlin:
And here’s what it’ll look like after the refresh:
Based on the airline’s description and renderings, the business-class seats, called “Upper Class” on Virgin Atlantic, will get a leather finish, along with a new in-flight entertainment system, including a touchscreen remote and 20-inch screen. All seats will continue to have aisle access, as they do today.
Virgin is maintaining its new seat branding, differentiating this staggered 1-2-1 arrangement from the herringbone Upper Class seats you’ll find elsewhere in the fleet.
Economy seats will be reupholstered, and new adjustable headrests will be added. They’ll maintain the standard 2-4-2 arrangement standard on almost all A330s.
These refreshed A330-200s will begin flying in November. The four aircraft — registered G-VLNM, G-VMNK, G-VMIK and G-VWND — are currently based at London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN), flying to Boston (BOS) and San Francisco (SFO) in the US, and Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI) and Saint Lucia (UVF) in the Caribbean. Virgin Atlantic has not yet confirmed whether they’ll continue to operate those routes or will be assigned to different city pairs once the upcoming renovations are complete.
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), 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