Virgin Atlantic Begins Flying A330 With New Upper Class ‘Suites’

Dec 6, 2018

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Virgin Atlantic operates some of the world’s best business-class lounges, with a-la-carte dining, complimentary spa treatments and more, but Virgin’s Upper Class seat has been in need of an update, especially on some of the carrier’s oldest planes.

Earlier this year, the airline added four Airbus A330-200s to its fleet, with “new” seats in business class. Problem is, while they were new to Virgin Atlantic — and had fun “new” names like “Love Suite” and “Freedom Solo Suite” — they had actually been flying with defunct Air Berlin for years.

Staggered business class on the refreshed A330-200. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.
Staggered business class on the refreshed A330-200. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

Fortunately, these particular A330s are currently undergoing a sub-fleet retrofit project, and the first refreshed plane, G-VMNK, recently returned to service with the new seats. G-VWND will likely be the next retrofitted A330-200 to re-enter service, perhaps by the end of 2018, with G-VLNM and G-VMIK following a few weeks behind.

After the update, each A330-200 will offer 19 brand new staggered 1-2-1 seats in business class, a dedicated 35-seat premium-economy cabin and 212 coach seats arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.

Virgin Atlantic's new premium-economy cabin. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic’s new premium-economy cabin. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

The rest of the interior is being redesigned as well, from the mood lighting to the lavatories — most passengers won’t have any idea they’re boarding an almost 20-year-old plane.

Currently, these A330-200s are being used to operate flights from London Gatwick (LGW) to the Caribbean, including Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI), Grenada (GND), St. Lucia (UVF) and Tobago (TAB). They’re also expected to operate service between Manchester (MAN) and Los Angeles (LAX), once that route launches in May 2019.

If you’re hoping to land this new configuration, keep an eye out for the aircraft’s subtype — while Virgin’s A330-300s have a mix of two entirely different seating arrangements, all four A330-200s will have these new forward-facing staggered seats by Jan. 2019.

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