Virgin takes delivery of the first of four A330s it is leasing from bankrupt Air Berlin.
Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of the first of four A330-200 aircraft that it is leasing from the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin.
Virgin is leasing the planes, according to Business Traveller, due to issues with the Rolls Royce engines on some of its B787 aircraft.
The configuration of the ‘new’ aircraft means that passengers will get a choice of three seating ‘styles’; they will see a very different interior from the normal Virgin Atlantic economy, premium economy and ‘upper class’ seating.
Passengers flying upper class on its new Manchester-based fleet on routes to New York, Boston, San Francisco and Barbados will find themselves in an unfamiliar cabin.
The layout is different from Virgin’s usual herringbone style, but three pairs of the 19 seats known 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 planes, a 17-year-old 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 says that a 40-seat separate cabin will be fitted “towards the end of 2018”.
Subsequent aircraft will be named Scarlett O’Hara, Honky Tonk Woman and Strawberry Fields. All of the A330s should be in service for between three and four years.
“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,” said Phil Maher, Virgin’s executive vice president for operations.