Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330neo aircraft leased from Air Lease Corporation. The A330neo is the 50th Airbus aircraft for the UK-based airline.
Virgin, the first operator of the type in the UK, has ordered 13 A330neo aircraft (six on lease from ALC) and plans to expand the fleet to 16 eventually.
Virgin expects to get three more A330neos this year, with the remaining deliveries between 2023 and 2026.
The first flight was supposed to be from London Heathrow to Boston on 12 October 2022 but the slight delay in delivery meant that has changed.
The passenger experience
The A330neo features the Airbus Airspace cabin, providing passengers with more personal space, larger overhead bins, a new lighting system and the ability to offer the latest in-flight entertainment systems and full connectivity.
Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo is configured to accommodate 262 passengers in three classes including 32 upper-class seats featuring privacy doors and two of the new Retreat Suites.
Virgin says all passengers will enjoy innovative features, no matter where they sit.
Passengers in Premium and Upper Class can use in-seat wireless charging. Passengers in every cabin can enjoy a greater number of USB connections, Bluetooth enabled entertainment and fast Wi-Fi.
Virgin’s A330neo has 262 seats in three classes:
- Upper Class, with 32 seats in a 1-2-1 layout
- Premium, 46 seats in a 2-3-2 layout
- Economy, 184 seats in a 2-4-2 layout
There are two other ‘classes’ within the three classes.
- The Retreat Suite consists of two suites at the front of the Upper Class cabin
- Economy Delight is the first seven rows in economy at the window
Upper Class has 30 suites in 8 rows in a 1-2-1 layout. Plus 2 Retreat Suites in row 1.
All Upper Class seats are forward-facing, offer plenty of space and storage and a fully closing privacy door with a ‘do not disturb’ feature. The suites have passenger-controlled mood lighting and 17.3” touchscreen TV.
The Retreat Suite
The new aircraft has two Retreat Suites at the front of the Upper cabin, in the middle behind the galley. There is a seat to fully flat bed, an ottoman that doubles up as an extra seat. Up to four people can play games in their own private social space. The seatback screen is 27″.
This is a space for the elite in Upper Class where up to eight passengers can sit and enjoy the self-service fridge and drinks dispenser.
Premium has 46 seats in a 2-3-2 layout.
The Premium seats have a number of features:
- 38” pitch
- calf rests in every seat
- 13.3” touchscreen with Bluetooth audio.
- in-seat wireless charging pad
Economy has 184 seats, including 32 Economy Delight, in a 2-4-2 layout.
The Economy seats have a number of features:
- seat pitch up to 31”
- 13.3” screen with an touchscreen and Bluetooth audio to connect headphones, with passengers able to use their phone as a controller
- plenty of storage, plus AC power and USB ports to keep gadgets energised (but no info about exactly how this is for each seat, or shared etc.)
Economy Delight is part of the Economy cabin.
- Economy Delight gives an extra 3″ for legs
- it is the first eight rows in economy at the window in the back cabin
Benefits of the new engines
It’s not just about improved passenger comfort.
Neo stands for new engine option and Virgin’s A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
The Trent 7000 was created specifically for the Airbus A330neo. It offers significant fuel-burn improvement per seat compared to its predecessor and will significantly reduce aircraft noise.
It is certified to operate on a 50 percent blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs); the aircraft’s delivery flight from Toulouse to London Heathrow flew with a 35 percent SAF blend.
N.B. Image credits: Virgin Atlantic