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Virgin Atlantic only recently took delivery of its new Airbus A350 aircraft (Red Velvet) and this means that the airline will soon be introducing travelers to its new Business Class and Premium Economy cabins.
While British Airways will be launching its new A350 (and Club Suite Business Class cabin) on its route to Dubai from 2 September, Virgin Atlantic will be launching its A350 aircraft on the highly lucrative London – New York route from 10 September.
Although British Airways has now scheduled a couple of reconfigured 777 aircraft (complete with its new Business Class cabin) to operate between London and New York later this year, Virgin Atlantic has managed to steal a march on its competitor by scheduling its first four A350 aircraft to serve the New York market….and it’s stolen a march in another US market too.
By the end of this year, Virgin Atlantic will be operating A350 aircraft on the following 4 flights between London and New York…
VS003 LHR 0850 – 1145 JFK (Daily)
VS137 LHR 1230 – 1520 JFK (Daily except Tuesdays)
VS045 LHR 1435 – 1730 JFK (Daily)
VS009 LHR 1555 – 1855 JFK (Daily)
VS004 JFK 1830 – 0630+1day LHR (Daily)
VS046 JFK 2000 – 0755+1day LHR (Daily)
VS138 JFK 2100 – 0900+1day LHR (Daily except Tuesdays)
VS010 JFK 2200 – 0950+1day LHR (Daily)
…and now the airline has confirmed that Los Angeles will be the second destination to get service from its A350.
There has been no confirmation as to when Los Angeles will see its first A350 flight but, because its introduction is almost certainly part of Delta & Virgin’s West Coast growth plans, we can reasonably assume that it won’t be until (or after) 29 March 2020.
Here’s what Delta and Virgin have announced:
On March 29, 2020, Virgin Atlantic will be bolstering the joint venture’s presence from Los Angeles and Seattle to Heathrow. Los Angeles will see three additional weekly flights, for a total of 17 weekly frequencies and Seattle will see four additional weekly flights, for a total of 11 weekly frequencies.
LA will also be the second Virgin Atlantic destination to receive the airline’s new A350, from next year, while the additional frequencies from Seattle will be operated by Boeing 787 aircraft equipped with 31 lie-flat seats in Upper Class, 35 seats in Premium Economy, 36 Economy Delight and 162 seats in Economy.
Just like Virgin Atlantic appears to have stolen a march on BA on the New York route, it now appears to have stolen a march on the route between London and Los Angeles – I may have my doubts as to just how good the new Virgin Atlantic Business Class seat is going to be, but I have no doubt that it will be considerably better than BA’s Club World product.
For any readers unfamiliar with the Virgin Atlantic A350, here’s why it’s good news (for Business Class flyers) when you see the aircraft scheduled on a route you like to fly:
The Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 comes equipped with the airline’s new Upper Class (Business Class) suite and, although it’s not a true suite (it doesn’t have a fully closing door), it can’t fail to be a huge improvement on the very poor Business Class seats that the airline currently offers (I actually prefer BA’s Club World product to Virgin’s current Business Class seats).
Also, not only does Virgin Atlantic now have a Business Class seat that will probably be as good as anything American Airlines & United offer (I suspect the Delta One suite will be superior to Virgin’s new Upper Class seat), but it also has cabin crew who are generally considerably more flyer-friendly than the crews flying with American and United…and that’s good news for transatlantic flyers.
While British Airways appears a little constrained by the lack of a First Class cabin on its A350 (so it can’t schedule the aircraft on routes where it makes a good profit on First Class passengers), Virgin Atlantic’s A350 offers the very best Business Class product it has so the airline is happy to schedule it on its most prestigious routes…and that’s good news for those of us who travel between London and New York/LA on a frequent basis.
Also, with Virgin Atlantic bringing its A350 to LA, the days of Angelenos wishing to fly non-stop to London but having to choose between a good Business Class seat with a potentially poor crew (American’s 777-300ERs) or a (generally speaking) friendly crew and truly terrible Business Class cabin (Virgin Atlantic/British Airways) will soon be over – Virgin Atlantic will have the best seat/crew combination on the route and will be the obvious choice for comfort.