Onboard Virgin Atlantic’s first-ever A330-900neo business flight

Again in June 2019, Virgin Atlantic positioned an order for 14 brand-spanking-new plane. Now, greater than three years later, Virgin is lastly able to introduce the world to its Airbus A330-900neo. Subsequent week, it plans to carry a media occasion combining the launch of this brand-new plane with a brand new path to Tampa Worldwide Airport (TPA).

Nevertheless, Virgin truly put this plane into service with a flight to Boston Logan Worldwide Airport (BOS) a full six days forward of its extra public launch.

We wished to be on board Virgin’s very first business A330-900neo flight, so we may get a primary look contained in the plane and shoot a basic TPG U.Ok. three-cabin evaluate video. (Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get your front-row seat to that video launch subsequent week!)

Fortunately, reward seats had been accessible by way of the Virgin Flying Membership in all cabins and TPG booked seats in every cabin on the following charges:

  • Higher Class: 57,500 Virgin Factors plus 624 British kilos ($722.50) in taxes and costs.
  • Premium: 27,500 Virgin Factors plus 374 British kilos ($433.04) in taxes and costs.
  • Financial system: 20,000 Virgin Factors plus 218 British kilos ($252) in taxes and costs.

Associated: A evaluate of Virgin Atlantic’s A350 leisure configuration in Higher Class from Manchester to Orlando

Because of the timing of the flights, we discovered ourselves flying throughout a Flying Membership peak interval. Had we flown the next week throughout an off-peak time, the factors charges would have been 47,500, 17,500 and 10,000, respectively, in every of the three cabins. Taxes and costs, nevertheless, would price the identical.

The plane

Virgin is introducing this new plane sort as a part of its drive towards a youthful and extra environment friendly fleet.

Virgin claims the A330-900neo is 11% extra fuel- and carbon-efficient, and it is also far quieter than the A330-300s it’s changing. If Virgin continues with its rollout plans as introduced, its complete fleet will common simply 7 years previous.

Virgin flies its comparatively new Airbus A350-1000 plane with revamped merchandise in all cabins. This plane additionally launches with an entire new vary of seats in Higher Class, Premium and financial system.

Join our every day publication

The brand new Higher Class suite

We had been allowed to board a couple of minutes earlier than different passengers to seize some images. As I stepped contained in the plane, I used to be instantly hit by that “new airplane scent” — it truly is a factor!

To the left within the Higher Class cabin, the flight crew was gathered within the Retreat Suite (extra on that later) getting a briefing on the brand new product. There was a palpable sense of pleasure. Different Virgin workers members — together with those that work within the airport, on the bottom and in Virgin’s head workplace — had been additionally there to sneak a peak at their latest child and guarantee easy operating on its maiden passenger voyage.

The crew on board Virgin Atlantic’s A330-900neo inaugural flight. NICKY KELVIN/THE POINTS GUY

It’s been solely three years since we final noticed a brand new iteration of Virgin’s Higher Class: It took flight pre-pandemic in 2019 similtaneously the British Airways Membership Suite — a decidedly “2019 model” AvGeek battle of the skies. Quick ahead to 2022 and Virgin is already again with one thing larger, higher and — dare we are saying itbolder. I used to be already a fan of the Higher Class suite on the A350, however the revamped A330-900neo seat goes additional to resolve a few of its predecessor’s downfalls, similar to its lack of storage.

The Higher Class cabin includes eight rows organized in a 1-2-1 configuration with 30 business-class suites and two Retreat Suites aboard.


Window seats in even-numbered rows are nearer to the window and supply barely extra privateness — which is why they might be my first alternative as a solo traveler. The middle-pair seats are nearer collectively in even-numbered rows and barely farther aside in odd-numbered rows, the place they’re separated by a bigger central console. All heart seats have a full privateness divider between them.


The seat is extremely sensible and modern, with leather-based upholstery within the now-classic Virgin maroon in addition to delicate purple stitching. Sitting within the seat feels very comfy, each within the upright, reclined and lie-flat positions.


Two separate panels on the facet of the suite home the seat controls, which let you recline all the best way into a totally flat mattress. It is an awesome enchancment from Virgin’s product on the A330-300 and B787 which requires the seat to be absolutely flipped over to grow to be flat.

It’s value noting that it was a bit of tight across the ft when attempting to sleep. The thick mattress and comfortable cover and pillow helped with consolation, however for those who wriggle in your sleep like me, you may wrestle. I did discover the window seats in row 1 had bigger footwells.


A tray desk slides out from underneath the console and flips out to full dimension. It has a barely winged form, and when absolutely prolonged, it was greater than giant sufficient for my 15-inch Macbook. It was additionally sturdy sufficient to work and eat comfortably on.

In contrast to the Higher Class Suite on the A350-1000, the door on this suite closes virtually utterly, including an additional ingredient of privateness. For those who’ve been fortunate sufficient to expertise Delta One Suites, you’ll seemingly acknowledge this product and its sliding door.

There’s a 17.3-inch touchscreen inflight leisure display, a studying mild, USB-A and -C ports, common charging ports and a wi-fi cellphone charging choice. You’ll additionally discover a small storage field within the seat which incorporates headphones and canned water.

The Retreat Suite

The star of the present is the Retreat Suite, which includes the middle two seats within the entrance row of the Higher-Class cabin.

Supposedly, the choice to improve to a Retreat Suite is obtainable 14 days earlier than departure for a money charge, however I didn’t obtain any e mail or communication about this. To my understanding, if nobody pays, the service will provide these seats to Flying Membership elites. Nevertheless, my Virgin Flying Membership top-level Gold elite standing did little to assist. I think about the method of upgrading to the Retreat Suite will grow to be clearer as the brand new plane are delivered and the service turns into accessible on extra routes.

Whereas another hot-fingered passengers received the prize seats, Virgin did permit us to board a bit of early in order that we may briefly sit within the seats earlier than they had been handed over to their rightful homeowners.

By way of area and luxury, the seat actually is a large step up, particularly when in comparison with Virgin’s oldest so-called “coffin” seats in Higher Class on the B787 and A330-300.

The Retreat Suite is greater than different suites on this plane — with the most important seats ever provided by Virgin Atlantic. The seats are, it must be mentioned, moderately fabulous. The added pitch provides an actual sense of area round you. Whereas the opposite suites are nonetheless very comfy, you might be barely extra enclosed, virtually cocooned, within the Retreat Suite. The Retreat Suite simply feels BIG.

There’s a buddy seat reverse, which comes with a cushion not seen within the different seats; the set-up permits you to be part of different passengers for a meal or drinks. With the privateness display down, 4 individuals can comfortably come collectively and sit going through one another to take pleasure in some social time within the sky.


The Retreat Suites characteristic a 6-foot and 7-inch absolutely flat mattress — beating British Airways’ first-class mattress by an inch.


The inflight leisure screens are additionally a substantial step up in comparison with different seats. With 27-inch screens and crystal-clear photographs, you’ll take pleasure in your films and TV above the clouds greater than ever earlier than.

The massive tray tables are very sturdy and slide easily backwards and forwards.

Together with the identical storage space and mirror featured on the common suites, there’s additionally a deep storage field discovered inside every of the Retreat Suites seats — useful for small luggage or different private objects.

The Retreat Suite choice is a good addition however I’m skeptical about how good it will likely be in observe. Firstly, you’ll need to be fortunate sufficient to search out accessible seats after which pay further to sit down in them. Solely different Higher-Class passengers are capable of be part of you in your buddy seats. It additionally goes with out saying that you simply’ll additionally must forgo a window seat.

That being mentioned, if the celebrities align, it’s a enjoyable idea that’s very consultant of the Virgin model and may very well be nicely well worth the improve for a few hundred {dollars} or much less.

Associated: Virgin Atlantic reveals wonderful new Higher Class ‘Retreat Suites’ for its Airbus A330neo fleet

Social areas

You received’t discover a bar on board like on the 787. The A330-900neo, like its A350 cousin, as a substitute incorporates a newer iteration of the Virgin Loft.


There may be area for eight passengers to hang around, and the seats are a bit of greater; Virgin claims that bringing passengers nearer to the attention top of crew and passengers within the neighborhood improves interactions. I didn’t thoughts the peak, however my legs didn’t fairly contact the ground when sitting deep into the seats, which may very well be uncomfortable for some.


You possibly can join your private headphones to the massive leisure screens by way of Bluetooth, and you may also discover wi-fi charging ports there. The Loft area is accomplished by a self-service fridge which, on this flight, was stocked with a collection of ice lotions and alcohol.


I spent some time having fun with this area in the course of the flight. It was an awesome place to stretch (I may need tried a little bit of yoga) and hang around with different passengers — lots of whom had been simply as excited as me to be on this maiden flight and get a photograph with the great crew.

Associated: The last word information to flying Virgin Atlantic

Premium and financial system

The Premium cabin holds 46 seats throughout 7 rows in a 2-3-2 format. Premium seats have a 38-inch pitch and a 13.3-inch IFE display. These seats even have a techy edge: You possibly can place your cellphone on the lightning bolt for wi-fi charging.

Again in financial system, there are 156 Financial system Basic seats with a 31-inch pitch and 28 Financial system Delight seats boasting further legroom with 34-inch pitch. These seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration (apart from the ultimate few rows the place it switches to 2-3-2 because the fuselage narrows).

The 13.3-inch IFE screens additionally seem in financial system and are Virgin’s biggest-ever screens in its fundamental cabin.

Backside line

The A330-900neo is a large step up throughout the board, from the sustainability good points in effectivity to the upgraded consolation in all three cabins to the show-stopping Retreat Suites. I cherished my time on board, and I felt like Virgin had solved lots of the gripes about its older seats.

It was additionally great to take in the environment of a brand new launch with so many different AvGeeks and bloggers flying on the identical time, sharing a ardour for aviation and eager to be a part of Virgin Atlantic historical past. After a tricky couple of pandemic years, this was an actual “we’re again” second for the airline.


Virgin will fly the A330-900neo to cities similar to Miami, New York, Tampa and Atlanta within the coming months. Flying Membership ensures no less than two Higher Class award seats accessible per flight, so you will have an awesome likelihood of flying this beautiful new product at an awesome fee. That is notably true for those who’re capable of benefit from Virgin Atlantic’s newest redemption deal — there’s presently a 50% low cost for all award seats to and from the U.S. and the Caribbean till March 28, 2023. For those who get the chance to fly the A330-900neo, I like to recommend you bounce on the likelihood.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button