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In Pictures: Virgin Atlantic Wows With New Business Class Seat On its Upcoming Airbus A330neo Aircraft

In Pictures: Virgin Atlantic Wows With New Business Class Seat On its Upcoming Airbus A330neo Aircraft

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Virgin Atlantic unveiled the new interiors for its upcoming Airbus A330neo aircraft on Monday and the initial reaction from aviation industry insiders has been very positive.

The airline has opted to install a third different Business Class seat into its fleet on its A330neos but in doing so, Virgin Atlantic was presented with the opportunity to provide a product that is a step above its normal Business Class.

Virgin Atlantic has ordered 12 A330neo aircraft as part of a wider fleet renewal and the airline is currently the only British carrier to have committed to the aircraft. The first deliveries are expected before the end of the year and Virgin Atlantic initially intends to serve Boston from its Heathrow base with its A330neo.

Thanks to new Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo is far more fuel-efficient than previous generations of the A330 but underneath the layers of mood lighting and new extra-large overhead bins, the bone structure of the neo version is the same.

That means the A330’s narrower cabin fuselage remains the same and, as a result, Virgin Atlantic found itself in a situation where the Business Class seat it chose for its A350 aircraft wouldn’t fit in A330neo.

That means a new type of seat was required and Virgin Atlantic has chosen the tried and tested Thomson Vantage XL seats which are already used by a slew of other carriers including Qantas and Delta.

But Virgin Atlantic is adding a sliding privacy door and as a result, the seat is now being dubbed a suite.

Passengers will be able to individually control in-suite mood lighting, and each suite comes with a 17.3” touchscreen, wireless device charging a ‘do not disturb’ feature.

Virgin Atlantic has even found a way to make use of the additional space offered by the front two middle bulkhead suites by turning them into what the airline has dubbed ‘Retreat Suites’.

Along with larger 27″ screens, the main draw of the Retreat Suites is an ottoman that doubles as a buddy dining seat so that couples can eat together. Virgin Atlantic will upsell the Retreat Suite to customers who have already booked themselves in its Upper Class Business Class.

The airline has also used the opportunity to update its Business Class social space called The Loft where eight passengers can sit down and socialise away from their seats. A new self-service fridge and drinks dispenser has been added and passengers will be able to connect their Bluetooth earphones to the large wall-mounted video screens.

West London-based design consultancy Factorydesign worked with Virgin Atlantic to create the A330neo interiors. The firm has previously worked with Singapore Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.

Factorydesign was also responsible for the very first ‘The Loft’ which launched on Virgin Atlantic A350 aircraft.

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