The leather appears to be high quality, with the seats clearly sharing some DNA with luxury cars. Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its brand new Upper Class suite which will launch on the carrier’s A350-1000 aircraft this summer. This also explains why the airline has introduced ‘The Loft’, which I will cover in detail in Part 2. Virgin Atlantic has been hesitant to comment on whether this exact seat will appear on their existing Boeing 787 fleet or their A330neos, which are coming from 2021. The A350 is a beautiful aircraft, and the new Upper Class Suite is a huge step forward for Virgin, allowing it to compete again on the international business-class stage. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. with your entertainment screen in front of you. The first route it will be used on is New York JFK from August, It is ‘reverse herringbone’, but not as you know it, There are 44 suites in the A350 Upper Class cabin, The bar has been replaced by a larger social space called ‘The Loft’ (see Part 2). Earlier this year, the airline added four Airbus A330-200s to its fleet, with “new” seats in business class. How does GHIC, the EHIC replacement EU travel insurance card, work? The seat pitch is 44 inches and extends to 82 inches in bed mode. These are arranged in a semi-reverse herringbone 1-2-1 arrangement, which is pretty much the standard layout for business class seating these days. Hopefully, once the A350’s have arrived, Virgin may provide more inform… There are, fundamentally, three variations of the A350 Upper Class Suite across the cabin. It is a sophisticated palette of soft golds, chocolate browns, ‘polished’ whites and the traditional Virgin Atlantic red and purple. I don’t know how it feels to sit in it, and some of the things I think I like and dislike about it may not be accurate when I try it. The flight was operated by a brand new Airbus A350, nicknamed Red Valvet. Your feet do not disappear into a cubby hole and you have full movement to the left and right due to the larger footwell. On our arrival into JFK it turns out the aircraft was parked on the wrong spot thanks to incorrect markings. Having now seen and tried the seat, I can understand why. The new Suite offers business class passengers complete privacy in a 1-2-1 configuration. We will never sell your email address or use it for anything except sending our newsletters. If you obsessed with privacy above anything else, you will prefer Club Suite. The tray table has an interesting feature that, as a tall person, I appreciated. The new Virgin Atlantic cabin feels substantially richer in tone, with ‘The Loft’, which I will come to in Part 2, decorated in deep purples and golds. Whilst it is a clear improvement compared to the existing Upper Class Suite there are still issues. The build quality is poor.  The British Airways Club Suite feels far more solid and less plasticky. ), Maximise your frequent flyer miles and hotel points by signing up to our emails, “It is hard to deny Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have style,”. REVIEW Upper Class Suites, Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 with Business Traveller magazine. I have not seen the British Airways Club Suite in the flesh, only via a VR simulator. Is IHG Rewards Club the best hotel loyalty scheme? Perhaps customer focus groups were of the occasional leisure variety and thus a little bit less discerning than the frequent business flyer? The screens are also engineered to pop out in a different way. As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. The carrier has moved away from its current herringbone Upper Class layout (where seats face into the cabin), to a new 1-2-1 configuration with seats facing outwards towards the windows. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. One unique feature of the Boeing 787 is the dimmable windows. Click for details. Click here for Part 2. Wi-fi connectivity comes in at £20.99 for the entire flight although there are incremental packages starting at £2.99 for messaging.  This is generally inline with the market, although Qatar Airways charges just $10 for its high speed ‘Super Wi-Fi’ on London-Doha and offers all passengers one hour for free. 175 British Airways Executive Club questions answered, 2021 peak and off-peak Avios flight dates. What is the best Virgin Atlantic credit card? Part 1 of our A350 Upper Class Suite review can be found here, the Delta One suite that Anika reviewed here, Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points, our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club, our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points. Is this the tray-table? Before I go on, I want to be clear that I’m not going to pick a favourite between these two new seats. Alternatively, the outstanding new ANA seat is apparently also available for licence according to discussions Rob had at the launch last week (see his article here) ….. if Virgin Atlantic chose that particular model it would almost certainly have the best business class hard product of any European airline. Whilst this is good news, it’s a shame that these issues were not identified sooner.  We look forward to taking another look in a few months when the changes have bedded in. Today (December 30, 2020): Review of Virgin Atlantic A350’s (new) Upper Class from London to New York. In March, British Airways unveiled its update to the significantly dated Club World seat with the Club Suite, and just on Monday, Virgin Atlantic introduced its Upper Class suite product. Virgin Atlantic already has fleet-wide wi-fi so it is not surprising that these aircraft come fully equipped. We spent about 30 minutes waiting for the ground staff to figure out the problem. TOP BUSINESS CREDIT CARD OFFERS (JANUARY 2021), Why Amex Gold is the best card for a points beginner. The new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class suites are a massive step up for Virgin that instantly makes their business class competitive with other top airlines. Pinnacle of your career, i’m sure! There were already signs of wear and tear. Its a price I imagine I’ll be willing to pay for the extra feeling of space it will provide over the more claustrophobic Cirrus efforts out there. What are the most valuable credit card sign-up bonuses? This move is a response to the engine issues that Virgin is having with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. You can find out more on Virgin’s official A350 website page here. This is part 2 of our review of the Upper Class Suite on the new Virgin Atlantic A350. The third variation is only present in row 1, and is clearly the best seat on the entire aircraft. At one point there were 17 people milling about under the aircraft! Some rows may be better than others for that. The bulkhead seats have a different design because there is no seat in front. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Whilst this wasn’t working on the mock-up cabin, you can apparently pair your phone with the IFE screen to use as a remote control. This is as Virgin insists they are a “social airline”, so they don’t want to place a divider in between staff and passengers. You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points): The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review, 15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review. But I doubt anyone so obsessed with privacy has been flying either Club World or the current Virgin Upper Class suite, given how open they are. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. What is the best Virgin Atlantic credit card? The HfP chat thread – Saturday 9th January. The bar has been replaced by a larger social space called ‘The Loft’ (see Part 2) The new Virgin Upper Class cabin layout. Both are in a 1-2-1 layout, both have an 18.5-inch IFE screen, and both have a privacy door (of sorts). It is worth mentioning that the different seat fabrics in Economy have also been designed in-house, with each one a mix of warm colours. Virgin Atlantic, for one, is hoping to change that with the introduction of its first-ever Upper Class suite, which will beinstalled on its soon-to-be-delivered Airbus A350s. High walls, a fully closeable door, no ability to speak to anyone else. Just a bit confused by the image of the seat from above. All seats will be forward facing toward a window. Welcome! The new Suites have some interesting features which I focus on in a minute. Regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker (FRN 690573). Whether you're with us for business or pleasure, travelling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class makes your journey something to look forward to. It is not yet certified for ‘gate to gate’ operation, as the screen needs to be flipped towards you and this is not allowed during take off or landing. You also need to factor in other Virgin Atlantic plus points – ‘drive through’ check-in at Heathrow Terminal 3, the excellent Clubhouse lounge, the unfailingly cheerful crew and the food and drink (given that BA’s improved Club World food offering is not yet fleet-wide).  I will touch on the food and drink in a follow-up article tomorrow. This will see seats replaced with suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. The A350-1000 aircraft set to be delivered to Virgin Atlantic will have a brand new Upper Class cabin. Looking forward to 2021, I suspect that any future aircraft will most likely be fitted with an evolution of this seat, improving upon the current design. As Virgin Atlantic’s top tier cabin. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Early 2020, I flew with Virgin Atlantic in Business Class (or Upper Class, as it’s called by the airline) from London to New York. One of my potential criticisms of BA’s Club Suite is that it looked very grey on the VR simulation, with no colour at all apart from a few touches of navy. Learn more on our About page. Rhys also sat in it at the launch event at Crawley. Each seat comes with two USB ports as well as a universal plug socket and aux socket, which is great. This flight was operated by an A330, which is the only aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet which features the new “Upper Class Suite.” When I flew Virgin Atlantic in the past it was before they took delivery of their A330s, and the old product was still in a … Virgin Atlantic has its own in-house design team and they have done a great job. Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points. Virgin Atlantic has just launched its new Upper Class Suite, as part of the launch event for its new A350-1000 aircraft. we didn’t get a red carpet welcome! Part 1 of our A350 Upper Class Suite review can be found here. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. (Want to earn more Virgin Points? Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. See a whole year of reward seat availability on one page at SeatSpy.com. This is the best toilet you’ll find anywhere in the world! You don’t need to have your legs blocked by the tray table if you’re happy to turn slightly to the side to eat. Our luxury hotel booking service offers you GUARANTEED extra benefits over booking direct. This is an exciting time for UK business travellers, with both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic launching new business class seats within weeks of each other. However, unlike the new suites from British Airways, these will not be private, as the door only half closes. As a reminder, I travelled to New York as the guest of Virgin Atlantic on the official media flight to celebrate the A350 launch. On Monday 8 April 2019, Virgin Atlantic is expected to unveil its new Upper Class suite for its forthcoming Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Is Hilton Honors the best hotel loyalty scheme? While the food was disappointing, the crew’s fantastic service more than made up for it. Flight review: Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Upper Class Suite. The first is that a full width door would have meant the loss of some personal space and a smaller seat. ©2021 Head for Points. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses! Safran, the seat manufacturer, has a bit of a reputation for these issues – Cathay Pacific experienced similar problems with its own A350s (see this article) which are also fitted with Safran cabins. Doesn’t anyone test these things? What American Express bonuses are you still eligible for? We've considered every detail, starting with our chauffeur driven car service, which will take you to and from the airport in style. I don’t mean that it only goes half-way up. These cookies do not store any personal information. You will be able to pre-order pyjamas on night flights in your preferred size! Part 1 of our A350 Upper Class Suite review can be found here. You can unsubscribe at any point by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. The cabin is bright and light, featuring predominantly white and red colors with Claret leather upholstery. The new Virgin seats are also not as high around the sides as the new BA Club Suite, and without high sides a full width door really is pointless. The seat isn’t everything, of course.  Where Virgin Atlantic does beat British Airways is with the ‘Loft’ lounge, which is a great space, and their excellent use of textiles and colour.  It is hard to deny Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have style, as this new cabin proves. Being able to watch airport snafus, and even the queue for take off, keeps the passenger informed of their progress and makes flying a less frustrating experience. The traditional format is that your head is next to the aisle and your feet are angled inwards. In Part 2 of this article, I will introduce you to ‘The Loft’, the new social space that Virgin Atlantic is introducing on the A350-1000. 7 Oct 2019 by Tom Otley. Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points. Among the 19 seats are three new suite styles with titles as intriguing as the ones given to the planes themselves: Love Suite, Freedom Suite, and Corner Suite. There is no shortage of places to put your bits and pieces. TOP HOTEL BONUS POINTS OFFERS (JANUARY 2021), Get exclusive benefits on luxury hotel bookings via HfP, How to get free hotel elite status from UK credit cards. The ground experience at Heathrow was (as usual) exceptional, the food good, and the service, save for a couple of blips, an absolute blast. No-one else is flying it. The new Upper Class suite has half a door! The level of craftsmanship and finish is very high end. Toiletries are supplied by Ren.  There is nothing special about A350 loos in terms of size, unlike on an A380. The Eric Lanlard afternoon tea and the new Donal Skehan menu items will continue. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. We were given free wi-fi access on our flight to test it out and it worked averagely well by in-flight standards.  I was able to browse social media, emails and web pages without any problems, although I did have to re-connect midway through the flight. The HfP chat thread – Saturday 9th January. In the middle rows, things are different. I can see the pop-up IFE screen, but what is the other rectangular thing to the right of it? Continuing implies your consent to this policy. We were on the first A350 delivered to Virgin, which had been in commercial service to New York for a week. You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too. You can unsubscribe at any point by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. Unlike the existing Upper Class Suite, you can turn the seat into a bed whenever you want as you don’t need the cabin crew to do it for you. The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies to improve your experience. The team told me it was inspired more by hotels, high end retailers and luxury cars than other airline cabins. It was a serious lack of oversight and Virgin are now having to spend the money to fix it. The picture below is a PR shot …. Its clear that it will block some of the side of the aircraft – https://headforpoints.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Virgin-Upper-Class-A350-1-400×235.jpg, This is also clear in the real life pics doing the rounds, so will definitely be a feature. See a whole year of reward seat availability on one page at SeatSpy.com. The Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class Suite. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Virgin Atlantic is pulling its unique staggered herringbone 2012-released Upper Class Dream Suite business class seats off its Airbus A330 fleet and replacing it with an updated version of its 2003 product, which was the first fully flat business class bed with direct aisle access. Works with Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, The Ritz Carlton, St Regis and more. You sit so that your head is in the centre of the row and your suite is angled towards the aisle. Only negative I can think of from the images is the little storage box above the console. For couples, this is a significant improvement over BA’s Club Suite. Talking to the VP of Customer Experience at Virgin Atlantic, the airline is aware of many of these issues and is working through them as quickly as possible.  According to him, the second and third delivered aircraft have already seen changes and other changes will be retrofitted as soon as possible, including to the tray tables. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. As usual with seats like this, each row aligns differently to the windows. 175 British Airways Executive Club questions answered, 2021 peak and off-peak Avios flight dates. While the suite will initially be exclusive to the A350, it may be retrofitted to other aircraft in the future. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The new Club World suite onboard the A350. ), Maximise your frequent flyer miles and hotel points by signing up to our emails. The new Suites have some interesting features which I focus on in a minute. The Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite is a patented system, which provides passengers with an innovative piece of furniture for sitting and sleeping on, in the form of a chair and separate bed. The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies to improve your experience. In other aircraft designs, this space would be open but covering much of the passengers behind legs. Seems like if this were removed, you’d have a much better view out of the window. The half-door gives some additional privacy when sleeping and was seen as the best compromise. Whichever seat you prefer, the real winner is you, the passenger, since both airlines have taken major steps forward. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses! Virgin Atlantic's new A350 aircraft features the completely redesigned Upper Class suites with a lounging area as well as a bigger in flight entertainment screen. The A350 launch will also see – across the entire fleet, not just the A350 – “enhanced bedding, amenities, toiletries, food & beverage” although the exact details have not been disclosed. This is novel for Virgin passengers although the norm for everyone else! There are 44 suites in the A350 Upper Class cabin. How does GHIC, the EHIC replacement EU travel insurance card, work? The Virgin Atlantic Upper Class will offer three new experiences for flyers aboard their incoming Airbus A330-200 aircraft, including the “Love Suites.” Those in the front of the cabin will have their choice of connected Love Suites, the room of a Solo Freedom Suite, or the privacy of a Solo Corner Suite. Probably only tested with internal staff which, in the airline industry, skews mostly towards the skinnier end of the spectrum (cabin crew etc). On Monday, Virgin Atlantic unveiled the Upper Class suite at its London Gatwick headquarters. How is it possible that an airline equips two aircraft with new seats that then need to be changed/modified? Regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker (FRN 690573). The Upper Class suite features a first-of-its-kind Safran bespoke seat in a 1-2-1 configuration, granting each passenger direct aisle access. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite: Airbus A350s. Your head is near the aisle, and the seat is angled towards the window. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. This includes using an affiliate tracking cookie if you click an external link. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The other option would be to take the Delta One suite that Anika reviewed here – remember that Delta has a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic – and modify it to their needs. Regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker (FRN 690573). The stitching looks great and there are little flashes of Virgin red popping out in unexpected places. There is a lot of colour used, but nothing too bright. Regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker (FRN 690573). Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points. The privacy screen, in particular, is difficult to operate: it needs a big tug to shift. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points. Let’s just look at the general layout for now. What American Express bonuses are you still eligible for? There are a few reasons for this. Upper Class has always featured prominently across the airline’s advertising since its formation in 1984. Virgin Atlantic is receiving four new A350-1000 aircraft this … Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points, our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club, our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points, https://headforpoints.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Virgin-Upper-Class-A350-1-400×235.jpg, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-6901935/Inside-Virgin-Atlantics-new-Airbus-A350-cabin.html. Enjoy our Upper Class cabin which is rammed full of luxury. To be fair, I sat in this seat myself in the cabin mock-up in Crawley (I am a 34 inch waist) and did not see any major issue. Your feet disappear into a cubbyhole under the back of the seat in front of you. Our luxury hotel booking service offers you GUARANTEED extra benefits over booking direct. Passengers can control how … These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Thankfully, Virgin Atlantic appears to be rectifying these problems as quickly as possible and the A350s should have different tray tables and other modifications by the end of this year. Click for details. The aim of the design was to offer passengers similar comfort to that of a luxury lounge or a hotel. Let’s take a look at a few other key points: There is a huge increase in both personal space and storage space. Every seat faces towards the window and comes with enhanced privacy, plenty of space and storage, adjustable mood lighting, and an 18.5 inch screen – all with inimitable Virgin Atlantic style. You can block cookies via your browser settings. A very funny and creative advertisement by Virgin Atlantic Airlines This is still in negotiation, however, and Virgin hopes that it can get approval. (Want to earn more Virgin Points? The IFE screen is 18.5 inches – the biggest Virgin has ever installed. Is Marriott Bonvoy the best hotel loyalty scheme? It looks good. Not sure if that was a bulkhead seat though which operates differently. Virgin Atlantic has today revealed the new Upper Class suite which the airline’s new A350-1000 aircraft will be delivered with. I have to admit that the Upper Class cabin looks fantastic. Part 2 of this article has an image of ‘The Loft’. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. The A350 cabin will have 44 Upper Class Suites across 11 rows in a 1-2-1 format. The second is that Virgin Atlantic felt that the crew service routine would be difficult with a full width door. It is easier to have a chat to the person across the aisle than it is to chat to the person next to you in the middle block. It does feel like the airline has ‘grown up’. ; Our stylish Clubhouses and lounges have been carefully designed to help you relax and unwind in the airport before you fly. Learn more on our About page. A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the refurbishment that Virgin Atlantic is about to undertake – at a cost of £10m – on the four A330-200 aircraft it has leased from the remnants of airberlin.. Fly with us to over 30 destinations in style, including our award-winning Premium cabin. As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. We’re the UK’s leading source of business travel, Avios, frequent flyer and hotel loyalty news. Virgin Atlantic has chosen the Cirrus NG product from manufacturer Safran for the new Upper Class Suite. Even from a PR perspective the camera is a godsend, allowing passengers to watch what is going on at the gate. The new Upper Class suite is the perfect retreat at 30,000 feet. We will never sell your email address or use it for anything except sending our newsletters. For the centre-seats, I hope they put some noise insulation between each headrest to help reduce the impact of snoring neighbours…. Upper Class cabins offer roomy leather seats that double as sumptuous flat beds, ensuring you arrive refreshed and ready for anything. This includes using an affiliate tracking cookie if you click an external link. As it stands, although it is still early days, Club Suite is a superior product. Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. That’s a serious question for the more knowledgeable on here, not just rhetorical. How do BA American Express companion vouchers work? The centre pair of seats is the opposite: you are facing towards the aisle so that your head is in close proximity to your neighbour, although obviously separated by a partition.  This is, I believe, a deliberate decision by Virgin Atlantic due to the high proportion of coupled leisure passengers it carries.  The tray table is on the inside whilst the IFE screen is on the aisle side. This is our review of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on the A330-200 fleet. Photo: Simple Flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. The tailcam is especially useful for those sitting in the centre pair with no view outside, since you get a view of the outside world. To be honest, I don’t understand why the market continues to accept charges for wi-fi, especially in premium cabins.  I know why the airline does not want passengers hogging the bandwidth for gaming or videos, slowing down speeds for those who want to work, but this does not explain why Business Class passengers should pay.  Some airlines consider themselves generous for giving First Class passengers free access. I have been able to sit in the new Upper Class Suite in an impressive training cabin that was built inside the Virgin Atlantic training base in Crawley. The biggest problem the new Upper Class seat is facing is build quality. Let’s take a look! The A350 cabin will have 44 Upper Class Suites across 11 rows in a 1-2-1 format. Is IHG Rewards Club the best hotel loyalty scheme? The 'a' seats on Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class. This means that your feet are very close to the feet of your neighbour, but your heads are about four feet apart. 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The food was disappointing, the Ritz Carlton, St Regis and more may, on look... Financial Conduct Authority to act as a reminder, there is also a different design because there is sophisticated... Any of the seat, I can understand why is next to a window above... Cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website uses cookies to virgin atlantic upper class suite your experience while navigate... Links on head for Points may pay us an affiliate tracking cookie if you click external!, since both airlines have taken major steps forward this also explains why the airline added Airbus... Lounge or a hotel not be private, as a credit broker ( FRN 690573 ) Suites British!