Virgin Atlantic’s shiny new A350-1000, Red Velvet, is all packed up and ready to head out on its first trip across the pond. As Virgin crew make their final preparations for the flight, and Virgin passengers check they’ve got their passports for the 50th time this morning, we take a look at what there is to get so darned excited about on Virgin’s brand new Airbus.
A new icon
Perhaps the most obvious (from the outside) change is the interesting new Flying Icon that has graced the nose of the A350. Replacing the classic Varga Girl, which has been a staple of Virgin’s fleet for decades, the new icons have been designed to be more representative of modern Britain and the diversity we enjoy.
Beautiful Zadie, equipped with her Union flag, is ready to lead the charge all the way to JFK. The next four A350s will also have new icons too, with Rey the next character to join the fleet. She’ll adorn the front of Virgin’s second A350, G-VPOP or Mamma Mia, due to join the fleet any day. After this will come Daley, Oscar and Meera to complete the revamped line up.
Tailcams really are the icing on the cake for any lover of sky high travel. The A350 will be the first in Virgin’s fleet to offer this technology, giving passengers uninterrupted views of what’s going on outside the plane.
Virgin says that two external camera views will be available to passengers; the tailcam, which looks forward from the top of the tail, and an underbelly forward facing camera too.
We’ve said lots about the new Upper Class suite, so we won’t go on about it too much. Let’s just say, its something of a game-changer. With almost as much privacy as BA’s Club World Suite (minus only a door – because Virgin is a ‘social’ airline) every seat has direct aisle access and is finished in stunning red leather; inimitably Virgin through and through.
But for passengers in Upper Class, that’s only the start of the fun. Because every person traveling in Virgin’s premium cabin will be able to enjoy another new addition to the A350, and that’s…
The new social space on board the A350 is something really special. Harking back to the days of luxury travel, where first class passengers could sit at bars and even listen to live piano shows, The Loft has been designed to give Upper Class travelers something really unique.
The Loft is large enough to socialize with a few friends, to share a drink or watch the tailcam on the huge screen together. Even better, Virgin has installed Bluetooth connectivity in this area, to allow groups to watch a movie together or even to have a silent disco!
In seat ordering
If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat in Virgin’s new Upper Class cabin, you’ll be able to check out this revolutionary new way to dine on board. Instead of waiting for the trolley to appear, passengers can oder what they want, when they want it, right from their seat!
Use the humongous 18.5” IFE screen, passengers can select their food or beverage of choice from the onboard menu, and have it delivered right away. This will be a massive bonus for transatlantic travellers, as it will allow them to enjoy meals around their sleep schedule, rather than having to fit in with the crew’s planned service times.
New amenity kits
Virgin’s revamped amenity kits will make their debut on the A350. Dubbed the ‘most sustainable amenity kit in the sky’, the carrier has redesigned both the bag and the products inside to drive down single-use plastics and make the contents more reusable.
Featuring REN vegan skincare products, the Upper Class amenity kit will also have a bamboo toothbrush by @BamBuuBrush, funky socks and comfy loungewear. Premium passengers get a kit too, with similarly sustainable contents.
WiFi all the way, IFE better than ever
Virgin has gone all out to ensure passengers are entertained for their long trip across the Atlantic, with award-winning WiFi delivered in partnership with Inmarsat and T-Mobile. Using the Inmarsat GX Ka-band connectivity, the A350 will stay connected for the duration of the flight.
Added to this, IFE is being powered by Zodiac Rave and will be delivered on some of the largest screens in the sky. In Upper, these are 18.5”, in Premium it’s 13.3” and in economy the screens come in at 11.6”. Built in are more than 100 movies, 300 hours of TV shows, 350 music albums and more than 45 hours of children’s programming. That’s enough to keep anyone busy!
To make this even better, passengers can now pair their smart device with the IFE system. This will enable control of the screen via smartphone or tablet, as well as duel screen viewing on demand. Yes, that means you can binge on your fave box set while also keeping an eye on the map – amazing!
No cabin left unturned
While we’re busy getting all hot under the collar about that new Upper Class product, Virgin fliers can rest assured that the airline hasn’t forgotten those at the back of the plane either. In economy, new six way adjustable headrests and bespoke woven fabrics promise a more comfortable experience.
As well as this, the redesigned Premium cabin has really been knoked up a gear, with leather seats, custom finishes and a pressed black wool cocktail tray and meal table. Looks like a worthy upgrade from economy to us.
If you’re not excited to fly the new Virgin A350 yet… what is wrong with you? And if you’re lucky enough to be traveling today on that very first inaugural flight, we’d love to hear what you think!