Onboard Booze Is Back: Virgin Atlantic Reopens Its Inflight Bars

Virgin Atlantic is bringing back its bars in the sky. Starting today, July 19th, passengers in the carrier’s premium cabin will once again be able to meet over a drink in its social spaces on board on routes to Green and Amber list countries. For the first time in nearly a year and a half, passengers can once more enjoy the airline’s new A350 concept known as ‘the Loft’.

Virgin Atlantic, Airbus A350, Caribbean
Virgin Atlantic is arguably the group’s best-known airline. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Signature Virgin Atlantic experience

It’s not just nightclubs across England who are once more offering their customers a tipple or two in a social setting – Virgin Atlantic announced today it is bringing back its inflight bars. For the first time in 15 months, passengers in the carrier’s Upper Class cabin on routes to ‘Green’ and ‘Amber’ destinations will be able to enjoy the onboard social spaces and have a drink with someone other than their row companions.

However, masks are still required on board Virgin Atlantic’s flights. They may only be removed while eating or drinking – even when hanging out in the bar. Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Customer and Operations Officer, said in a statement that he was very happy to reintroduce the concept to the airline’s customers.

“Our on-board bars and social spaces are a signature part of our Upper Class experience, so I’m delighted we’re finally able to reopen them to our customers, where they can enjoy a drink and catch up with friends. I know our cabin crew teams can’t wait to get back to providing our customers with the full Upper Class service we’re famous for, and that’s been missed by many over the last 15 months.”

Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A350
The airline’s A350s offer the largest social spaces concept in the fleet, known as The Loft. Photo: Getty Images

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The Loft

The social spaces are available on all of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet. However, its newest aircraft, the Airbus A350s, feature the airline’s latest concept bar, called The Loft. Launched in 2019, it is a collaboration between the carrier and award-winning UK design studio Factorydesign.

In addition to a versatile seating arrangement that can accommodate up to eight people (five seated and three standing), the area also has a 32-inch TV that can display the images from the airplane’s tail camera as well as inflight movies. For the first time, the social area also features seatbelts, allowing passengers to stay in The Loft even if there is turbulence.

The loft Virgin Atlantic A350
Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A350s feature the airline’s latest social concept known as ‘The Loft’. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Where should you go for a drink in the sky?

Virgin Atlantic has seven A350-1000s in its fleet, with another five on order. At the moment, the airline is operating them on routes to Los Angeles, New York, and Mumbai. As per the latest update to the UK’s traffic light travel restrictions system, the United States is on the list of Amber destinations.

However, India remains in the Red category, meaning arrivals need to quarantine for ten days in a designated hotel, and take several mandatory COVID tests. It also means that Virgin Atlantic’s bars will still be off-limits.

Meanwhile, the airline is operating flights to Green listed Barbados and Grenada in the Caribbean, as well as Hong Kong with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. However, Virgin Atlantic has said it has plans to send the A350 to Barbados for the very first time, in response to increased demand for capacity.

The airline also flies to Green destination Jerusalem/Tel Aviv using Airbus A330s, and has just this week moved back into its Heathrow home in Terminal 3.

Have you missed Virgin Atlantic’s bars in the sky? Do you have a flight booked with the airline in the upcoming weeks or months? Leave a comment below and let us know.