How To Fly Virgin Atlantic’s First A350 – The Ultimate Guide

In 2017 Virgin Atlantic made the official announcement that it would be ordering 12 Airbus A350s. At a list-price value of $4.4 billion, Virgin says this investment is part of its fleet modernization program which aims to replace 50% of its aircraft through 2023 and make it one of the world’s youngest fleets. Complete with a newly designed cabin and that new-airplane-smell, here’s everything you need to know about getting yourself on to their first A350 flight.

Virgin Atlantic A350
Virgins A350-1000s will begin delivery later this year. Photo: Simple Flying

The schedule, starting September 10th

Here’s what we know so far about Virgin’s A350 schedule:

London Heathrow to New York JFK:

  • From September 10th to the 24th the A350 will fly as VS153 on its usual schedule, departing London Heathrow at 1330 and arrive at 1625 at New York’s JFK airport.
  • Then, from September 25th the A350 will fly as VS137. This departs London Heathrow at 1150 and arrives at JFK at 1450.

New York JFK to London Heathrow:

  • Also from September 10th, the A350 heads back to London Heathrow from JFK as VS138, departing JFK at 1900 and landing at 0720 the next day.

Here is what Virgin told us earlier this month about their new plane’s first service:

The aircraft’s first commercial service, is expected to take place on the 10th September  from London Heathrow to New York JFK. Travellers can now book flights via the Virgin Atlantic website and contact centre from as little as £279 return in economy, £773 in Premium and £1358 in Upper Class.

Currently, Virgin Atlantic utilizes the Airbus A330 on these routes, with the occasional A340 put in to the mix. Its VS9/VS10 service is the other way around: mostly using the A340 with the occasional A330.

The Virgin Atlantic A350 cabin

All of the A350’s seats offer two USB power sockets. Furthermore, with the exception of the economy cabin, all seats will also have an AC power socket.

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Economy class on the A350. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The Virgin Atlantic A350 will have a three class configuration:

  • Upper Class: Unveiled in April, Virgin’s new business class cabin is exclusive to the A350 (for now). This cabin will be sporting a brand new suite seat.
  • Premium: The premium economy cabin’s seats recline by seven inches, and have a pitch of 38 inches. Seats within this section will be 18.5 inches.
  • Economy: There are 235 seats in this section in a 3-3-3 configuration. There will be two types of seats in this cabin – the ‘delight seats’ with extra legroom and ‘classic and light’ with standard legroom. Seat width is 17.4 inches wide.
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The A350 will have a brand new Upper Class seat! Photo: Virgin Atlantic

We also wrote extensively in April about the new cabin and had lots of pictures too!

Delivery date

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An artist’s impression of the A350 with the Zadie Icon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The actual delivery date of the first A350 is unknown (and the specific day is probably subject to change anyways). However, we do know that the plane got its paint job in late June…

Sooner than September 10th?

Travelers may be shocked to hear that flights and their schedules sometimes change. Usually they change for the worse. For example, you end up on an old Wamos A330 when you were expecting a Norwegian 787. And less often you might get a pleasant surprise, like experiencing a new Delta cabin refresh four months early.

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Virgin will receive their first A350s sometime this summer. Photo: Airbus

So with that being said, Virgin wants to make it clear that the airline has the A350 in the schedule to fly on September 10th but sooner may be a possibility. Here is what a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson had to say about it:

“The aircraft will be flying by the 10th [of] September, but we’re doing all we can to make this earlier than that.”

The press release for the media also says:

“We want our customers to experience the new A350 as soon as possible, so we may move the inaugural flight earlier, if the operation allows.”

So we’ll keep you posted on whether or not the A350 pops into the Virgin Atlantic schedule sooner! And if you find out first, do let us know!