A Look Inside Virgin Atlantic’s Brand New Airbus A350

Yesterday Simple Flying had the pleasure of attending Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A350 launch in Crawley, near London Gatwick. While the star of the show was undoubtedly the new Upper Class seat, so much more was also announced.

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

From business suites to economy seats, the entire Virgin Atlantic cabin has undergone a makeover, especially for this new aircraft. While the aircraft won’t get an all-new livery, it will differ from the current Virgin Atlantic livery in that the iconic Varga Girl icon will be replaced by new icons representing the diversity of Great Britain.

Simple Flying took a look inside the new aircraft from front to back.

Upper Class

Passengers will typically board the aircraft at door two, the location of “The Loft”. Turning left upon boarding takes passengers into the Upper Class cabin. The Upper Class cabin is Virgin’s business class cabin and, exclusively for the A350 for the time being, this cabin boasts a brand new suite seat.

Featured Video:

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
The seat turns into an 82-inch bed at the touch of a button. Photo: Simple Flying

The new suite sees every passenger given direct aisle access from a 20-inch wide seat which faces forward and towards the window. Unfortunately, the seats do not have complete privacy. While this is great for couples travelling together, it is not so great for the passengers that want to get away from it all.

A350 Upper Class
The innovative table folds down then swings around. Photo: Simple Flying

The seats each have an 18.5-inch touch screen in-flight entertainment screen. Additionally, each suite has individual mood lighting, while the chair will transform into an 82-inch bed at the touch of a button. The Upper Class cabin has 44 seats; 11 rows of four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The Loft

Just behind the Upper Class cabin is an area called The Loft. The Loft is where most passengers will board the aircraft, and it serves as a bar for the Upper Class passengers during flight. Designed for eight people, the new area is entirely unlike the airline’s previous bar. Indeed, it comes across as more of a lounge than a bar. There are five seats with seatbelts so that passengers don’t have to leave the area during turbulence.

Virgin Atlantic Loft
The Loft is Virgin’s new social area, replacing the old bar area. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

On the wall is a large 32-inch touch screen. Virgin is still deciding what to play on this screen, however, early thoughts from the airline include drone footage and live events. Looking up, there is a gold plated ‘chandelier’ overhead, while the area is separated from the main cabin by translucent plastic. The actual bar is now hidden away in the galley to make more space for the passengers using the area.

The Loft A350
While The Loft is a social space, this seat is perfect for solo travellers. Photo: Simple Flying

Premium

The next cabin on Virgin’s A350-1000s is the premium economy cabin. This cabin will seat slightly more than Upper Class with 56 seats. These will be seven rows of a somewhat cramped 2-4-2 configuration. At 18.5 inches wide, the seats are slightly narrower than the current premium economy seats. The seats each recline by seven inches, and have a pitch of 38 inches.

Virgin Premium Economy
While narrower than the current seats, Premium Economy still feels comfortable. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The front row seats will each have an additional feature: a pop out leg rest. However, the other rows will not. All of the premium economy tables are stowed in the side of the chair and are equipped with textured faux slate patterns. While the front row will have 11.6-inch in-flight entertainment screens, the remainder of the seats will have 13.3-inch displays.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy
Premium economy’s table is hidden beside the seat. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Economy cabin

The last cabin on the aircraft is the economy cabin. This is where the majority of Virgin’s A350 passengers will sit in its 235 seats. In a 3-3-3 configuration, there are 25 full rows. Row 53 is 2-3-2, while row 71 is 0-3-0. There will be two types of seats in this cabin: the ‘delight seats’ offer extra legroom, while the ‘classic and light’ seats have standard legroom.

A350 Economy Cabin
The economy cabin is reasonably simplistic; however, it still has the Virgin feel to it. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The ‘classic and light’ seat pitch is set to be 31-inches, while the ‘delight’ seat pitch is 34-inches. Additionally, the seats are up to 17.4-inches wide with a five inch recline. The in-flight entertainment screens in economy are 11.6-inches, except for the front row where they are 10.1-inches. All of the A350’s seats have two USB power sockets and, apart from the economy cabin, all seats have an AC power socket.

What do you think of the new cabin? Where would you sit? Let us know in the comments down below!

2 comments
  1. Virgin is certainly a forerunner with this breaking new kind of cabin configuration ratio.

    They are at an early stage anticipating on the (forced) shift airlines have to make in the next years following the change in market demand.

    Perhaps a slight remark within these great complements for this smart policy:
    an aircraft type with the same class ratio’s accommodating a 50 or 100 passengers less might fit future seat demand more.
    Especially in a more point to point orientated market.

  2. Virgin have gone one step forward and two steps back here. The PE seats are not slightly narrower, they are much narrower, at a loss of 2.5 inches. Also bear in mind with solid sides and no spil-thru room like in economy you really need to be able to fit in the space, which is the double edge to the PE sword, but which Virgin had thankfully overcome with its unique USP of having a 21 inch width. Now that won’t apply on the A350 and no doubt we’ll see it on other types eventually. Now there’s no big reason to choose Virgin, for me. The reduction of 2 inches in UC is completely stupid, given the 1-2-1 layout in the nice wide cabin of the A350. After years of having a mediocre 20 inch product, BA are changing to wider seats – I read 23 or 24 – in their 1-2-1 A350s. For their short sightedness and style over substance mentality, Virgin deserve to do badly compared to hitherto mediocre BA, who have really upped their game. Its really dissappointing, as I like Virgin a lot. I thought their PE to be a tremendous sweet spot and desireable product, but now at just 1.1 inches wider than Economy and with solid sides, there’s hardly any point in terms of the hard product. Of course, they couldn’t maintain 21 inch PE seats if UC is 20, but why narrow UC in the first place, with space to play with ? It reminds me of the current stupidity with LNER trains, whose first class seats are now only about an inch wider than in standard, the previous wide, padded ones now in the bucket.
    So Virgin; one step forward two steps back, looking like style over substance, lost their USP with their PE product, let BA significantly best them in upcoming Business Class. Virgin – are you stupid ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended Stories: