Delivery of the first Airbus A330-900 to Virgin Atlantic is still some two months away, but the airline has already offered a sneak preview of what customers can expect on board. The UK airline revealed some details of the cabin on July 12, which includes a new premium product: The Retreat Suite. Virgin Atlantic offers First Class experience on new Airbus A330-900.
Virgin is set to become one of the major A330-900 customers. It confirmed an order for sixteen aircraft during the 2019 Paris Airshow as a direct replacement of the ten aging A330-300s, although eight aircraft will be leased. The first four -900s (MSN2018, 2019, 2025, and 2030) are in various stages of final assembly in Toulouse. Virgin plans to take delivery of the first three in September, with entry into service scheduled in early October to Boston. Earlier this year, Virgin announced a strong return to the US.
The remaining thirteen deliveries will follow in 2023 through 2026. The Virgin fleet will then comprise of the Boeing 787-9 (currently seventeen are in the fleet), the A330-900s, and the A350-1000s. The carrier has nine in service with four more on direct order plus two leased ones to follow.
Virgin Atlantic will have a fleet of sixteen A330-900s in 2026. (Virgin Atlantic)
With The Retreat Suite, Virgin adds a new premium product to its portfolio. Alike a First Class suite, the Retreat Suite offers an ottoman suit that can be configured into a fully flat bed of 6 feet 7 inches. There will be two of them at the front of the cabin in the center position, which allows them to be connected when the divider between them is lowered. Each suite has privacy doors. The ottoman acts as an extra seat, so four people could sit in the Retreat Suite for dining. The suite, which has been designed in collaboration with Factorydesign, comes with a 27 inches touchscreen with Bluetooth function.
The A330-900 will have thirty Upper Class suites. (Virgin Atlantic)
Around The Retreat Suite are thirty Upper Class suites that mirror Business Class. They too have a fully closing privacy door, but the touchscreen is smaller at ‘just’ 17.3 inches. The seat can be converted into a flatbed. Upper Class is already offered on the other Virgin aircraft types.
That also goes for the Loft, a lounge where premium passengers can relax and stretch their legs. The concept of the A350 has been modified to include space for eight people and four seats.
Premium passengers will have access to the Loft, a lounge for eight people with four seats. (Virgin Atlantic)
The A330-900 will have 46 Premium Economy seats with a pitch of 38 inches and a 13.8 inches touchscreen. Economy consists of in total of 156 seats, of which 28 are Economy Delight with a 34 inches seat pitch and 128 of the standard seat with a 31 inches seat pitch. All Economy seats have Bluetooth.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.