Virgin Introduces New Business Class Seat, Debuting Across The Atlantic This Fall

In spring 2019 Virgin Atlantic unveiled a new business class product that would debut on the airline’s new Airbus A350 aircraft. It was a leap forward compared to their existing seat, but hardly revolutionary, and lacked doors.

Now Virgin has unveiled yet another new business seat which will debut on Airbus A330s. They have 16 A330-900s on order, and 3 of them are expected to be delivered between September and the end of the year. With a narrower fuselage than he A350, their old new seat wouldn’t fit and they needed another.

There will be 30 business class seats on the aircraft and two ‘Retreat Suites’ which are ‘business plus’. Seats will be in a staggered format, and window seats in some rows will be right at the window while others will be near the aisle (several European carriers and Delta also have such a format).

The new ‘business plus’ Retreat Suite is at the center of the bulkhead row and offers a more spacious product. These seats are expected to be sold as an upgrade beginning 14 days prior to departure for around US$250, with unsold seats offered as an upgrade at the airport.

Retreat Suite, Credit: Virgin Atlantic

The new business seat is… Thompson Vantage XL, which is the basis of Delta’s Suite product (Delta effectively controls Virgin). As with Delta, the new Virgin Thompson Vantage XL features doors. It’ll be a tight seat, but also a nice product, though hardly revolutionary despite the airline’s claims.

Business Class, Credit: Virgin Atlantic

The new product should debut on Boston – London Heathrow this fall.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Of course, Virgin Atlantic and every other airline at Heathrow will have to deal with their tyranical landlord that thinks it is ok to tell them to fly planes but not sell seats.

    Since you have a loyal AA following in Texas, any of them willing to say if word that AA has embargoed non-rev travel at LHR is true?

    If LHR succeeds at capping airline flights without a reduction and non-revs can’t fly there, there will be a whole lot of air being hauled across the Atlantic and upset airline employees that can’t use their pass benefits to some of the top global destinations.

  2. I’m sitting on some nice fat Virgin credits. I only want to know if the Upper Class seats SFO-LHR now have infinite recline. I’ve made a couple trips to London in UC seats that barely recline or lie flat. This is not good for the non-sleeper-on-airplanes. I’ve been going to use my VS credits for some Delta tix, but I really, really like flying Virgin-Atlantic. I sincerely hope that Virgin gets her act together so I can fly with them again.

  3. Pssst… Delta does not “effectively control Virgin”. If they did, you’d see a completely different operating model.

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