Virgin Atlantic introduced its new "Upper Class Suite" this past weekend on a flight from London Heathrow to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. They managed to out swank themselves from the previous version of the suite with new features and other cabin comforts.
"We've re-engineered and reinvented our Upper Class Suite, creating a fabulous new onboard experience with great new features," reads the introduction on the company's webpage devoted to highlighting all the new bells and whistles.
As far as the seat itself, recline has increased up to 50 percent in the lounger configuration and it boasts 1.5 inches greater width than the previous version. In lie-flat mode, the new espresso colored leather seats provide an 87-inch bed surface, purported to be longer than any other airline offers in business class. The addition of a window built into the wall of each suite provides more light, but is opaque to allow for privacy from passengers seated in adjacent rows.
Along with the previous Upper Class layout, the new cabin is arranged in a herringbone configuration with four seats abreast on the Airbus A330, all having direct aisle access. The onboard bar changed orientation slightly and is now separate from the cabin, giving those passengers not wishing to socialize more privacy. A new mood-lighting system was installed and the cabin still has the Virgin Atlantic accents of red and Swarovski crystal.
Other amenities include:
- A 12.1-inch touchscreen monitor with a touchscreen handset.
- USB and other power port connections compatible with most international plug types.
- A flip-down cocktail table and push panel armrest.
- Adjustable reading light.
- Lumbar support functionality with "firm touch" buttons to prevent accidental activation.
- Additional storage compartments featuring a new literature pocket and two ottoman storage areas.
- An "AeroMobile" system giving passengers the ability to make and receive phone calls and texts from their own mobile phones.
The new Upper Class Suite is currently being flown exclusively on flight VS003 from Heathrow to JFK and VS004 back to London. Roundtrip fares on the route for a weeklong trip in May vary from a low of $3,988.20 for a restrictive ticket to a high of $10,470.20 for a fully flexible and refundable reservation, according to the carrier's website.
Additional destinations will be added as the airline takes delivery of more Airbus A330 aircraft throughout 2012. The airline will also add Upper Class Suites to their Boeing 787s beginning in 2014.