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In April, Virgin Atlantic revealed its newly designed A350 airplane. Well now, travelers can start getting excited because on September 10th, the new plane will start flying the popular New York-London route. Initially the route will be JFK-LHR, but eventually, Gatwick airport will be included. This route happens to fall into one of Virgin's sweet spot award redemptions. Despite the fuel surcharges, I personally find Virgin's Premium Economy experience to be one of the best. Additionally, on this route, Premium Economy is only 27,500 miles, which is cheaper than standard economy on several other carriers (i.e. Delta, United).
According to Virgin, “Our new A350s are packed with innovation, thoughtful features, and unmistakable Virgin Atlantic flair.” True to its word, the new jet looks innovative, fun, and exciting. The aircraft incorporates anti-jetlag technology, such as enhanced mood lighting, quieter engines so you can sleep better, and an improved cabin atmosphere with a lower cabin altitude.
- 44 seats in Upper Class with a 1-2-1 configuration
- 56 seats in Premium Economy with a 2-4-2 configuration
- 235 seats in Economy with a 3-3-3 configuration
Check out the new seat map here.
Virgin has redesigned its Upper Class bar and renamed it “The Loft.” Aside from the cool decor, some nifty features of the common space include: a 32″ TV, eight Bluetooth audio jacks allowing a group of friends to watch TV together, and seatbelts on chairs so if turbulence appears, you don't need to walk back to your seat.
All seats face the window and have direct aisle access. I think direct aisle access is super important in a premium cabin. I always find it awkward to climb over another passenger and I'm glad more planes are being designed with this feature in mind. The seats also offer greater privacy due to higher walls around each suite and deployable privacy screens. Each seat has adjustable mood lighting, reclines fully into a flat bed, and comes with an 18.5″ entertainment panel. Another cool enhancement is the ability to control the entertainment panel with your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.
Having flown premium economy with many carriers, I personally find Virgin's Premium Economy superior to most other airlines. Needless to say, I'm very excited about checking out this newly redesigned cabin. Storage capacity is increased with many efficiently designed pockets and the entertainment system includes a larger 13.3″ entertainment panel. The leather seats have premium stitching, offer a 7″ recline and there are USB ports to charge your devices. Each seat also features a pressed black wood tray table, which will be a nice change from the plain beige tray table commonly seen in economy.
All seats are designed with a premium woven fabric and include 6-way adjustable headrests. An important inclusion is the presence of USB ports. I always find it annoying when I fly economy and USB ports are missing. Economy Classic seats have a standard 31″ pitch, while Economy Delight offers a 34″ pitch. If you're planning on flying economy on the NY-London route, this would be a good one to try.
Virgin's new A350 jet is nicely outfitted and includes some innovative enhancements. I'm really looking forward to flying this route and checking out the new plane. Do you have any plans to fly the A350 with Virgin? Tell me below in the comments!
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