Virgin Atlantic passengers flying Upper Class on its new Manchester-based fleet will find themselves in an unfamiliar style cabin when the airline introduces ex-Air Berlin aircraft.
Virgin has secured four Airbus A330-200s for use on routes to New York, Boston, San Francisco and Barbados and is retaining the defunct German carrier’s business class. The layout is different from Virgin’s herringbone style, but three pairs of the 19 seats - branded as the Love Suite - allow couples to sit together. Aisle seats are referred to as Solo Freedom Suites and window seats as Solo Corner Suites.
The first of the aircraft, a 17-year-old Airbus A330-200, is due to enter service in March and has been named Daydream Believer. It will initially not offer a premium economy cabin, as Air Berlin did not have one, but Virgin said a 40-seat separate cabin would be fitted “towards the end of 2018”.
A spokersperson said the A330s would be in service for "between three and four years".
Virgin has had to source new aircraft after problems with the engines on its Boeing 787 fleet. Phil Maher, Virgin’s executive vice president operations, said: “The Upper Class cabin introduces three new styles of seating for customers to choose from, as well as extra touches such as a barista style coffee menu and free Wi-Fi messaging.
“The Economy cabin offers 222 seats, and we’re investing in a premium economy cabin for each aircraft, to be fitted towards the end of the year.”