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Virgin Australia brings business class to Embraer E190 next month

By David Flynn     Filed under: business class, Embraer, Virgin Australia

Following this week's debut of  business class across its Boeing 737 fleet, Virgin Australia will launch business class on its Embraer E190 jets next month.

But some noticeable changes start from today, with Virgin Australia exec Liz Savage revealing to Australian Business Traveller that only four of the jet's eight business class seats will be sold on any flight.

"As of today, to create a very good product in terms of personal space, we’re making sure that we block off each set next to business class passengers, so the seat next to you will always be free."

"Then through the coming weeks we'll be making upgrades to the E190 cabin" Savage confirmed.

These will include a 'soft divider' between the business and economy sections, re-covering the seats (which an airline spokeswoman described as "a version of the Boeing 737 product"), a revised colour scheme, inflight entertainment units and "Luke Mangan designed menu items".

Virgin Australia has 18 of the medium-range E190 jets in its fleet, flying short domestic legs.

For full details on Virgin Australia's new domestic business class, read our rundown here.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

Great! any media preview pictures?

The thing is that these aircraft are 4 seats across and it probably means that they can really do much in the way of wider seats!?

What will they offer? different colour seats, lounge access, free food, more baggage. i just dont see them having any room to play with their seats to make them any better than the ones in economy.

1 on 16/1/12 by David

Hi George - mate, if we had pics we'd definitely be publishing them – all we have are the details listed above, and as soon as we get anything else we'll whack it straight up here!

2 on 16/1/12 by kevrosmith

I'm wondering whether they will try a 1-2 seating configuration in business class on the E190s. 

1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

It would mean they would have to have a larger gap between the two classes because of the fact that the aisles would not be in line with each other. Otherwise, i think it would be a good idea. But i reckon what they may do, is just have it the same as premium with a different colour. just have to wait and see.

2 on 17/1/12 by AirportAddict

kevrosmith, it looks like you may be right about the 1 -2 seating arrangement. Check out this -

It doesnt mean that is the colour scheme they will have...

1 on 17/1/12 by Al

AA, I can't see anything in that link which suggests Kevrosmith might be right. It just shows an E190 layout for one of the US airlines, that's got nothing to do with what Virgin may or may not do with its E190. Think about it, if Virgin went to a 1-2 layout they'd have to drop 3 seats from business class, going from 12 to 9. That means 25% less revenue from the most high-priced seats, I can't see any airline doing that unless they bump up prices to make the shortfall.

1 on 17/1/12 by AirportAddict

What do you think they will do then? have it like they had the premium economy???

2 on 18/1/12 by kevrosmith

Looks like they are going to block the seat next to a real Biz Class booking on the E190 at the moment.  So looks like they are prepared to loose up to 4 seats based on current E190 seating configurations.  A 1-2 config will give them a 50% increase on their current config (6 seats compared to 4 seats across 2 rows: 8 seats, with 4 seats blocked).

3 on 18/1/12 by medipri

With business class already available to purchase on the E190s, what will Virgin actually be offering if none of the upgrades have actually been completed yet?

1 on 18/1/12 by AirportAddict

Most likely just having the first 2 rows as business and offering all the advantages that they usually offer in business. That is my assumption. Someone please pick me up on it if they know better.

2 on 18/1/12 by David

It'll be the rest of the business class package (inc new meals etc)...

4 on 18/1/12 by kevrosmith

AusBT: Can you do a summary table of the features of Biz Class across all their Biz Class aircraft and services?  I can count these so far: E190 now, E190 future (take a guess what you think they'll do), 737-700 Refurb, 737-800 Refurb, 737s New, A330 and A330 Coast-to-Coast.  The DJ website is very confusing with different aircraft listed and multiple footnotes/clarifications ('*'s). Thanks

1 on 18/1/12 by AirportAddict

Hear Hear!

2 on 18/1/12 by John

Absolutely! It's on our list of stories to write -- and we'll also be including the premium economy offering since the Virgin website is currently suggesting that the 737-700s will not be refurbished with business class.

5 on 21/1/12 by AirportAddict

Virgin Nigeria has the 1 -2 seating configuration for business class on the E190. I reckon they should do it for Virgin Australia. [I am wondering why on earth Virgin would have an airline in nigeria!?]

1 on 23/1/12 by John

Virgin doesn't have an airline in Nigeria any more. It's called Air Nigeria (this month) since IIRC the Nigerian government mucked them around too much, and Virgin Group has either sold or is in the process of selling its minority stake.

And the why? Nigeria is an enormous oil market, a principal west African hub, and there are (according to the CIA factbook) 167 million people in Nigeria. 

6 on 9/2/12 by AirportAddict

If they say they are blocking off 1 seat, is this a temporary thing or what? sounds a bit unfinished if you ask me. hope they come up with a 1 2 config.


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