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Virgin Australia has announced details of its new international Business Class cabin for its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft together with an enhanced Premium Economy Cabin on the same aircraft.
Virgin Australia New Business Class
Virgin Australia’s new Business Class product is set to be rolled out on their long haul flights from Australia to Los Angeles and to Abu Dhabi.
According to the airline the key features of the new cabin are as follows:
- 37 individual and private suites that convert into the length of a queen size bed at 80 inches;
- Reverse herringbone cabin layout, maximizing privacy and enabling 100 per cent direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration;
- Generous side console area providing ample space to work, multitask and store personal items, with the addition of a bedside amenity nook for easy access while resting;
- Customised triple-layer seat cushion supported by a hammock sub-frame and a turndown service with memory foam mattress toppers and high-grade cotton pillows and doonas;
- The largest in-flight entertainment screen flying between Australia and North America, with an 18 inch High Definition touch screen featuring the Virgin Australia Entertainment seatback system and a stylish new intuitive user interface;
- Luke Mangan-designed menus paired with premium wines and delivered in a fine dining experience tailored to our guests’ needs through à la carte or Express Dining options;
In addition to the new cabin features, Virgin Australia is adding what it calls “three new Signature Service elements designed to enhance Virgin Australia’s award-winning service” including:
- Cocktail and Canapé Service offered prior to the first meal service with a choice of Bellini, Kir Royale or Mimosa along with a Luke Mangan-designed canapé plate;
- The new Business Class Bar and Lounge will be open after the first meal service and hosted by Business Class cabin crew, offering a selection of nibbles and bites, beer, wine and spirits as well as a hot beverage selection with petit fours;
- Continental breakfast at the bar prior to the full breakfast service, or the opportunity to enjoy a full breakfast at the bar rather than in the suite.
These pictures are of a real cabin in a real Virgin Australia 777-300ER (albeit photoshopped quite a bit!) and the product looks fantastic.
As I’m a fan of reminding everyone whenever the topic comes up, I’m a big fan of the reverse herringbone layout for a Business Class cabin so I was always going to like what Virgin Australia has done with its new Business Class product…but this looks even better than I had expected.
As things stand, Virgin Australia only had one of it’s five 777-300ER aircraft fitted with the new Business Class cabin but the airline expects to have the remaining four aircraft refitted by the end of 3Q 2016.
The Business Class Bar and lounge, the cocktail and canapé service and the turndown service with memory foam mattress toppers should make this feel like a true premium cabin experience and it will be one I’ll be looking to try out as soon as I can.
Virgin Australia Premium Economy
As well as introducing a fantastic-looking Business Class cabin on its 777-300ER aircraft Virgin Australia has upped its game when it comes to passengers in Premium Economy.
Per Virgin Australia the new “Premium” product will feature:
- An exclusive and intimate cabin size of 24 seats with dedicated Business Class-trained crew;
- More legroom than any other Australian airline with an increased seat pitch of 41 inches;
- A roomy 19.5 inch seat width with nine inches of recline;
- Plated meal services inspired by Business Class, served on Business class crockery and accompanied by a selection of wines from our Business Class cellar;
- The introduction of Nespresso coffee and Madame Flavour Tea along with a Premium Pantry for exclusive use by our Premium guests during the flight;
- Two new Signature Service elements including cocktails and Movie Snack service each hour throughout the flight;
- 10.6 inch screen featuring the Virgin Australia setback system with a stylish new intuitive user interface;
- In-seat power and a USB outlet for charging personal electronic devices;
- Amenity packs with luxurious blankets, pillows and skincare products;
- Dedicated check-in, Priority Boarding and Priority Baggage, enabling Premium guests to speed through airport formalities.
That all sounds very nice indeed – especially the 41″ of seat pitch which, for the purposes of comparison, is 3″ more than you get onboard Qantas, British Airways, Singapore Airlines & Cathay Pacific.
One thing that is a negative in all of this is the Premium Economy cabin size. The Virgin Australia Premium Economy cabin will be shrinking significantly as, with just 24 seats it’s losing 16 seats compared to its current incarnation. That’s never a good thing as it means that prices will probably be higher and award availability will be worse – Kryptonite to a miles & points collector.
With these new and enhanced products (and I mean “enhanced” in the good way), Virgin Australia is looking more and more attractive as an option for travel between the US and Australia. In the next few days I’ll make sure I write a post on the best ways to pay for awards on Virgin Australia and which points/miles to collect to ensure you get the best value.
All images courtesy of Virgin Australia.