Virgin Atlantic Expands New Business Class Cabin Service To New York

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Virgin Atlantic will be introducing its new A350-1000 to London Heathrow – New York JFK route from 10 September, and the reason for all the excitement surrounding the introduction of the A350 to Virgin’s schedules it that the aircraft comes equipped with Virgin’s new Upper Class (Business Class) cabin.

Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Up until now, Virgin Atlantic had only scheduled the new aircraft to operate a single daily rotation between London and New York but, in a schedule update that was put through over the weekend, the airline scheduled a second A350 to operate the route from late September.

The new schedule for the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 is anything but simple but fortunately Routes Online has distilled it down.

Here’s what the A350-1000 schedule now looks like for the rest of the summer season:

VS137 LHR 11:50 – 14:50 JFK (Daily) 25 Sep – 26 Oct
VS153 LHR 13:30 – 16:25 JFK (Mon-Wed & Fri–Sun) 10 Sep – 24 Sep
VS045 LHR 14:30 – 17:25 JFK (Mon-Wed & Fri–Sun) 24 Sep – 26 Oct

VS138 JFK 19:00 – 07:20+1 day LHR (Mon-Wed & Fri–Sun) 10 Sep – 25 Sep
VS138 JFK 19:00 – 07:20+1 day LHR (Daily) 26 Sep – 25 Oct
VS154 JFK 20:30 – 08:45+1 day LHR (Mon-Wed & Fri–Sun) 24 Sep – 26 Oct

Things get a little simpler for the winter season but there’s still every reason to be cautious if you’re looking to book the new Virgin Atlantic Business Class cabin.

On the whole, this is what the A350-100’s winter schedule (3 November 2019 – 7 March 2020) looks like:

VS137 LHR 12:30 – 15:20 JFK (Mon & Wed-Sun)
VS009 LHR 15:55 – 18:55 JFK (Daily)

VS138 JFK 21:00 – 09:00+1 day LHR (Mon & Wed-Sun)
VS010 JFK 22:00 – 09:50+1 day LHR Daily

The reason why I say that caution should be used if you’re trying to specifically book a seat on the A350-1000 is that Virgin Atlantic is still playing around with the schedules.

Technically, during winter season, the new aircraft (complete with new Business Class cabin) should be operating twice daily with the exception of Tuesdays…but here’s a screenshot from ExpertFlyer clearly showing that only one A350-1000 will be operating on Wednesday 6 November.

It’s entirely possible that a second A350 will eventually appear in the schedules on this date but, for now, don’t make too many assumptions about the days and flights the 2nd A350 will be operating.

Check the schedules carefully before booking and be aware that Virgin may swap aircraft again before you board your flight, so you’re not guaranteed to fly in the new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seat until you physically sit in it and take off.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Cabin – The Basics

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class debuting on the Airbus A350
  • The A350-1000 will offer an entirely redesigned Upper Class cabin
  • Every seat now faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens.
  • The new cabin is set out in a 1-2-1 configuration so all passengers will have direct access to one of the aircraft aisles.
  • Every ‘suite’ has a 44” pitch, which can be converted I to a flatbed with a length of up to 82″
  • The “suites” aren’t really suites like the Qatar Airways Qsuite or the new British Airways Club Suite as they don’t have doors that close the seat off from the rest of the aircraft.
  • All suites will transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed- there will be no need to flip the seat over as you do with the current Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seats.
  • The new suite boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest-ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5” and features an intuitive new system, controllable by customers’ own personal devices.
  • The Upper Class cabin will also now have a new ‘social space’ called ‘The Loft’
The Loft

One clever innovation which Virgin Atlantic is introducing is that the seats in the new Business Class cabin will not be set out in a traditional reverse herringbone layout – the seats on either side of the aisle will be angled towards the windows (as with a regular reverse herringbone layout) but the center seats will both angle towards the aisles.

Having the center seats laid out this way should make it easier for couples traveling together to communicate during the flight and it should ensure that any flickering from the IFE screens in the center section of the aircraft doesn’t disturb passengers in the window seats.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to try out the new Virgin Atlantic Business Class cabin the airline has just made it a little easier for you to find a flight which works for you – just make sure you’re very careful when choosing what dates and flights to fly.