Virgin Australia: new business class seats for Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s

Virgin Australia: new business class seats for Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s

Virgin Australia will install new business class seats across its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 fleet from next year as the airline aims to trump Qantas on both domestic and international routes.

The extra-wide and extra-long lie-flat beds will debut on Virgin’s Airbus 330 in March 2015, with all six of the twin-aisle transcontinental jets upgraded by July.

The international Boeing 777s will follow in November 2015 and be completed “within three months.”

Virgin will position the new seats as a ‘business first’ product, although it hasn’t yet settled on a marketing moniker for the seats.

The 1-2-1 layout on both the A330s and Boeing 777s will provide direct aisle access for every passenger.

The seat converts into a fully-flat bed...

... which will be dressed by the cabin crew with a mattress, duvet and large pillow as part of the 'Deep Sleep' turndown service.

There's a large video screen for inflight entertainment – 16 inches in the A330 and a whopping 18 inches in the Boeing 777 – while Virgin's inflight wifi system will also beam movies, TV shows and music to traveller's own devices, no matter which end of the plane they're sitting.

“We already have the best transcontinental business class in Australia, and this will take us to a whole new level” Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller at the seat’s launch today in Singapore.

“And on the Pacific route from Australia to Los Angeles this will be the business class to beat.”

However, Borghetti is keeping his powder dry on plans for an international route for the A330s, which has long been rumoured as Perth-Singapore.

“This obviously gives us that capability if we choose to fly it international, but we’ve got nothing to announce today."

Up close with Virgin Australia's new business class seat

But those pretty PR pictures only tell part of the story.

Australian Business Traveller editor David Flynn (below) took a closer look at the new seat following its reveal in Singapore (prior to the Singapore-Sydney leg of the delivery flight of Virgin Australia's latest factory-fresh Airbus A330).

Virgin Australia’s new business class seat is based on the Super Diamond model from B/E Aerospace, but it's received a make-over from Virgin design director Hans Hulsbosch and London-based design agency Tangerine, says Borghetti, "inspired by a lot of luxury automotive interiors."

As Australian Business Traveller tipped some weeks back, Virgin Australia's new business class is more of a suite than just a seat, thanks in part to the high walls surrounding the shell which provide a degree of privacy without impeding access to the aisle.

In fact, Borghetti says he "would classify (the seat) as more ‘business first’ than business class.”

Let's kick off with perhaps the most important attributes for any business traveller: just how big is this thing?

It's a maximum 28 inches wide with the aisle-side armrest down, with a bed length of 80 inches.

Borghetti tells us that the subdued colour scheme of charcoal with brushed aluminium trimming is not only for the sake of contemporary elegance – it ensured the seat also looks great when combined with the red of the cabin crew's uniforms.

In common with many of the latest business class seats – including the Business Suite of competitor Qantas – there's a slab of surface space right next to the passenger.

This not only provides room to spread out your work during a flight, it's also a handy temporary parking space for your laptop or tablet when meals are served.

And because finding room for all your carry-on kit these days is a particular pain point for travellers, Virgin's new business class seat has nooks and crannies a'plenty.

The first one is a large cavity located under the main part of this workspace.

Inside you'll find a controller for the inflight entertainment system...

... plus USB and headphone jacks...

... and a universal AC socket.

Now here's a particular clever piece of design: the hinged lid of this hidden gadget grove is lined with a strip of soft foam so that you can plug in your laptop, tablet, smartphone or noise-cancelling headphones and then close the compartment and regain full use of the table.

The foam compresses over the cables to stop them from pinching.

And if you were wondering about the smaller cut-out space next to this section...

... yes, that also opens to reveal a small shallow shelf for your passport or other knick-knacks.

After all, nobody has ever heard a traveller complain about having too much space for their gear!

The literature pocket for Virgin’s inflight magazine and safety card is located just off to one side of the passenger.

This also boasts a hidden hatch, one designed to your tablet within easy reach.

Sized to just over 10 inches, it’ll take Apple iPads as well as tablets running Google’s Android software.

Further around from this is an LED reading light with three brightness settings which cleverly flips out from the seat's sidewall.

The armrest – which, like the seat's headrest, is clad in soft leather – rises up or drops down to suit your needs when sitting or sleeping.

And lo and behold, here's another nook suitable for a water bottle, reading glasses and so on.

Continuing this walk-around brings us to the aisle side of the seat and the large dining table, which slides close to the passenger when it's time to work or eat...

... then pushes back when it's time to step into the aisle and make for lav or, on Virgin's refitted Boeing 777s, the inflight bar and lounge area.

Note also the touchscreen controller for the seat functions.

Of course, the demo seat was sitting on its lonesome rather than paired to others in a cabin.

On the Airbus A330 or Boeing 777, passengers will find their feet projecting under the seat in front of them (into the space beneath that seat's side workspace).

That's also home to a 16 inch touchscreen running an enhanced version of Virgin’s Red inflight entertainment system backed by Panasonic’s eX2 system.

As you’d expect, the paired middle seats in this 1-2-1 layout include a privacy divider.

Installing the new seats will see Virgin’s business class cabin on the A330 shrink from 24 seats to 20, but Borghetti promised the fares “will remain competitive” against Qantas.

“Everywhere we’ve operated we’ve always brought fares down, so they have to be competitive, but that said, people will be prepared to pay for this product.”

On the Boeing 777, however, the business class cabin will gain an extra four seats, while the premium economy cabin is shrunk from 40 to 24 seats and repositioned as ‘business lite’.

The Boeing 777 will also see a newly-designed business class bar with face-to-face service for up to four seated guests and additional lounge seating behind the bar.

Also read: Virgin Australia upgrades Boeing 777 premium economy, plans 'economy plus' seats

David Flynn travelled to Virgin Australia's launch in Singapore as a guest of Virgin Australia.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT

 

78 Comments

  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 01:08 pm

    Excellent news, and it's great that a real operating plane will be flying with the new seats within a couple of months! While Qantas' Next Generation Business Class Suite looks great, the long, long, long lead-time to it actually being available makes it feel like vapourware.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 01:16 pm

    I'm glad my prediction that VA would only reveal their Next Generation Business Class seats/suite? shortly before it's fit-out came true. And while I understand that Qantas' very early previews of its Next Generation Business Class suite has some benefits (feedback, extended marketing trials), I think a year long preview is not the right way to go. From a marketing perspective, I think six months is the most you can push these things out before at least having one operating aircraft fitted with the product.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    29 Aug, 2014 02:27 pm

    Which thus means it is very likely an off the shelf design, already in service with another airline.

    No airline has yet introduced the seat that Qantas's is based on

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 03:07 pm

    Putting the cart before the horse really - for all you or I know, it could be anything, because there is nothing to prevent VA from taking any possible path - they just haven't gone public with it yet. Safer to make assessment after the details are known.

    I'm not sure how you can say Qantas' proposed new seats are completely unique and original - there are plenty 1-2-1 layout fully flat style business seat models similar enough out there, many already currently in use. The most revolutionary thing I think about Qantas' design is their eventual planned use on short sector domestic flights, but otherwise it's just Qantas keeping up with current trends.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 03:16 pm

    Sorry, I should have said "was nothing that would had prevented VA from taking any possible path" to give that sentence it's proper tense. It was already stated here on AusBT last year that VA had been underway in its new J seats design/acquisition process, but was keeping things under wraps. 

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  • Skipp

    Skipp

    29 Aug, 2014 03:28 pm

    Haha. I would love to see Alan Joyce and his 'management' at QF scrambling over the next few weeks trying to come up with a catchup response to Virgin's (Borghetti's) move.

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  • HugoHawkins

    HugoHawkins

    29 Aug, 2014 04:01 pm

    SAS's new business product is the same as Qantas' new suites. Just with different colours, etc. 

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  • mickeyg

    mickeyg

    29 Aug, 2014 05:24 pm

    Correct HugoHawkins.  SAS has chosen the same product as Qantas - the Vantage XL from Thompson Aero Seating.  The difference being Qantas' version will have some customisation touches from Marc Newson, but still very much "off the shelf".

    http://www.ausbt.com.au/look-familiar-new-sas-business-class-seat-is-qantas-business-suite

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 05:43 pm

    Funnily enough Aer Lingus (Joyce's old employer) has selected Vantage XL (with customisation) too, along with Delta Air Lines, Swiss International Airlines, Austrian Airlines, American Airlines, Jet Blue, Air Canada, and Air Astana for cabin refreshes.

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  • David Flynn

    David Flynn

    29 Aug, 2014 06:14 pm

    moa999: I'd agree with your prediction that this will be an 'off the rack' design, although it could be customised to some extent – but many of the seat designers/manufacturers have new designs which have yet to be picked up by an airline, so Virgin could be the launch customer for an all-new seat. We shall know in less than four weeks :)

    As to the Qantas Business Suite: true that Qantas is the launch customer for this, and the first airline to fly it, although SAS has also 'introduced' a seat based on the same platform (Vantage XL) for early next year, and I believe there's another airline soon to follow.

    http://www.ausbt.com.au/look-familiar-new-sas-business-class-seat-is-qantas-business-suite

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  • Phalanger

    Phalanger

    25 Sep, 2014 12:22 am

    David, it's simply an updated Vantage seat that is the "Star Alliance" seat.  Additionally it is slightly different dimensions to fit the new generation aircraft.

    Interestingly the new VA seat is the same as the new Air Canada Executive Pod which is the pride of their main line fleet, while the Vantage is their low cost airline's (Rouge) Studio Pod.

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  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    25 Sep, 2014 08:08 am

    Not exactly.

    Most of AC's long-haul fleet has the "Classic Pod", an older herringbone seat similar to that found on NZ.  The new reverse herringbone "Executive Pod" is only found on the 787s, although some of the 777s will be refitted starting in 2015.  Finally, there are a handful of high-density 77Ws using the "Studio Pod", essentially an off-the-shelf Vantage seat.

    These 777-HDs are used on more leisure-heavy routes such as YUL-CDG but are part of the mainline operation.  Rouge uses old 767s outfitted with recliners in "Premium Rouge" class which I believe were originally part of the Canadian Airlines fleet (to give you some idea of their age).

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  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    24 Sep, 2014 02:38 pm

    Ummm...

    "...and customised by London-based design agency Tangerine (perhaps best known as the home of Apple design guru Jony Ives).

    “It’s been significantly enhanced by Tangerine, inspired by a lot of luxury automotive interiors.”

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  • Flambam_99

    Flambam_99

    11 Jan, 2015 08:38 pm

    Seriously? Qantas' new seats are flying now, with VA's supposed to be coming in March, and Qantas is the slow one? I feel that you (and several other commenters) missed the "2015" in the "March 2015" and "November 2015" mentioned at the start of the article.

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    29 Aug, 2014 01:37 pm

    Davdi - The wording of the article is a bit confusing - do you mean VA will be using an A330 on SYD-AUH?

    I wonder what the new route will be - SYD-HKG? PER-SIN? SYD-DPS?

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  • gredgy69

    gredgy69

    29 Aug, 2014 02:12 pm

    No I don't think he meant the A330 will be used on the SYD-AUH route. That will still remain a B777. I'm guessing the new A330 will be debuted on flights to Perth and that the new route gaining an A330 will be NZ, Fiji or Bali - due to comments around about NZ and Sth Pacific getting business class from next year.

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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    29 Aug, 2014 02:23 pm

    I would assume that the new route to be announced is SYD-HKG.  HKG is the obvious hole in the network of int'l destinations operated by VA and its virtual partners.

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    29 Aug, 2014 03:27 pm

    I hope so.As a Velocity Member Cathay Pacific is not an option to HKG for me neither is Qantas so if VA come on board with a decent schedule I am there.

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  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    24 Sep, 2014 02:40 pm

    HKG would be an awesome route for VA!

    When travelling to LHR, it would provide me with the option of both AUH to connect with EY or HKG to connect with VS. Brilliant!

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  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    25 Sep, 2014 08:14 am

    Virgin Atlantic couldn't operate SYD-HKG profitably.  What makes you think Virgin Australia could do better?

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  • nix584

    nix584

    29 Aug, 2014 03:22 pm

    The Pacific Blue (ZK registered fleet) are getting the Domestic Business class seats and enhanced inflight service. So NZ and the Pacific destinations will have J class.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    29 Aug, 2014 02:29 pm

    And given Virgin is going from 7 to 6 A330s, does that mean more Perth routes will be downgraded from A330 to B738 or dropped entirely?

    Positive for the international routes, negative for Perth

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  • David Flynn

    David Flynn

    29 Aug, 2014 06:09 pm

    Hi smit0847 - sorry if you found any wording confusing, although I'm not sure what actual wording that was, but to help bring clarity: no mention of an A330 taking on Sydney-Abu Dhabi.

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  • bmc

    bmc

    29 Aug, 2014 02:40 pm

    Hope the new route is to a major Asian transit hub

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  • Edward Dowling

    Edward Dowling

    29 Aug, 2014 02:54 pm

    I second this. Singapore alliance is good but would much rather the option to get to Asia on VA metal. QF and Singapore own the Asian market, but a MEL/SYD to HKG or BKK would be pretty damn awesome.

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  • Ethan Kimahn

    Ethan Kimahn

    26 Sep, 2014 01:50 am

    I really think VA should make a partnership and codeshare flights with Korean Air making Seoul/Incheon as a hub for North-East Asia and North America market as well as some of Europe routes. 

    Qantas/Jetstar is based in Japan with the benefit of Oneworld alliance with JAL. Chinese airlines and airports are not as great as Korean air and Seoul airport including Chinese government's policies - higher barrier than Korea. 

    Would be nice fly with VA from AUS to KOR then with KE from KOR to US then Delta or Virgin America for US domestic!

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar

    29 Aug, 2014 02:42 pm

    so VA will have a total of 6 332s in their fleet by Sept/Oct (XFA/B will be gone and no known orders for more in the foreseeable future)... And will be introducing at least 1 international 332 service to 'somewhere'.. in effect that will leave only 5 or less available 332s for the 'coast to coast' services...so we will see more 737 'coast to coast' services or maybe even less 'coast to coast' services overall....time will tell

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  • riley

    riley

    29 Aug, 2014 02:56 pm

    Does Bris>Perth really require A330? I questioned the decision to run A330s Bris to Perth in the first place and believe it was a marketing decision in establishing a benchmark service level from coast to coast. 

    Running an A330 both domestically and internationally poses operational challenges in itself given the down time in shifting from gates on the ground. 

    Maybe coast to coast will be rationalised to just Syd > Per and Mel > Per using 4 aircraft and the remaing two operate on a daily asian service. 

    Hong Kong would be perfect although the biggest hole I see is Bali route. You can fly Jetstar on the dreamline for 30% - 50% less versus a domestic configured 737. I'm lotal but I'm not that loyal... And just the 8 'business' seats means you need to get in early. Although Hong Kong would attract a greater yield of full fare paying business passengers.

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  • flyingisthebest

    flyingisthebest

    24 Sep, 2014 05:50 pm

    Yeah it does.... You also need to note QF mainly operates the 330 between PER-BNE. If given the choice between a VA 737 or a QF A330 I know what I'd choose!!! As well having consistency is one aspect of attracting high yield traffic,  The J and Y product difference between the VA 737 and VA 330 is quite huge actually.

    On the VA 737 J must suffer by only having 38 inches of seat pitch, and Y don't have personal IFE. In contrast J has 62 inch pitch and Y have personal IFE on the VA A330... 

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  • Ethan Kimahn

    Ethan Kimahn

    26 Sep, 2014 01:44 am

    I think B787 is ideal fleet between BNE-PER tbh

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  • watson374

    watson374

    30 Sep, 2014 10:15 pm

    What.

    It would certainly be preferable for at least the redeye to be an A330, maybe up to two each way per day. The flights don't need to be exclusively A330, so long as each route has a specific set of flights (e.g. said redeye) that are guaranteed an A330.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    29 Aug, 2014 03:21 pm

    Believe you me, the departure of XFA/XFB is no loss lol. No more roulette at the airport - you'll know what you'll get now.

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  • nix584

    nix584

    29 Aug, 2014 03:23 pm

    The roulette now wll be old new J or new new J. Although either are better than A&B.

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  • gwilli1

    gwilli1

    29 Aug, 2014 06:07 pm

    Great news that the A330 will be deployed on International at some point . Personally I hope it will be NRT , but , its likely to be HKG . Both routes have a huge opportunity being heavily One World routes. 

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  • Zac

    Zac

    29 Aug, 2014 07:02 pm

    I must say I do like this about Virgin - no announcing a new product then taking an absolute age to bring it out. New business class coming, in a month the first plane will be here - excellent stuff, can't wait to see it. They've obviously been working on it in the background but understand the value of keeping your cards close to your chest. Virgin just seem to be much more agile company. I also broadly trust the statement that cuts won't be at the expense of service - case in point they've just introduced champagne before boarding on the 737s (Coast to Coast at least - haven't tried other routes recently).

    I suspect the seat will be the same as Virgin Atlantic and AirNZ - it's very comfortable, efficient use of space, and VS's new staggered layout works well on the A330. Would be awesome to see a bar on the A330 too... we'll see.

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  • oliverfladrich

    oliverfladrich

    29 Aug, 2014 09:08 pm

    Will be interesting to see whether the new product takes any features or is entirely like the products of VA's shareholding airlines - you'd think EY would be the most likely. If that were the case it'd be a fantastic product, be it the current EY J seats or the planned business studios. Bearing in mind the current seat is essentially the same as SQ regional J. 

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  • Sim1

    Sim1

    1 Sep, 2014 12:04 pm

    I saw a comment on a forum the new A330 will be flying Perth-Singapore

    Could be a very good move

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  • Andrew Gunn

    Andrew Gunn

    1 Sep, 2014 03:43 pm

    They should start flying to Kuala Lumpur, theres millions of passengers flying between australia and the port, but unfortunatly nobody really wants to fly MAS anymore, could imagine virgin doing well on the routes

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  • Richrrrd

    Richrrrd

    1 Sep, 2014 07:02 pm

    Really hope the 777 fleet gets the refresh before March next year, have got a MEL-BNE-LAX in J booked. Guessing they'll scrap row 5 though.

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  • Skipp

    Skipp

    24 Sep, 2014 02:45 pm

    SO THE NEW BUSINESS CLASS GETS UNVEILED...

    After 30 seconds of looking at the new product I guess I can see John Borghetti is saying in around about way to Alan Joyce... "Checkmate"

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  • Gian

    Gian

    24 Sep, 2014 02:46 pm

    Wowie!!!!!

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  • Gian

    Gian

    24 Sep, 2014 02:49 pm

    I must say,

    I do like seeing the product now and knowing exactly when it will be available. Completion of all aircraft by July 2015 for the A330's is a pretty good timeline.

    Quite a quick turn around.

    In all fairness VA has a much smaller fleet than QF so can make these things happen alot quicker.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    24 Sep, 2014 03:19 pm

    Hoping that this puts the pressure on QF to complete the conversions more quickly...

    Competition can only be good.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    24 Sep, 2014 03:18 pm

    I do like the new product,and think the metal edging and black leather give it a real modern feel.

    Albeit I think Borghetti's widening the gap comment is a bit off the mark.

    I mean currently.

    VA fully flat 2x2x2   vs  QF recliner 2x2x2 some with a workbench

    And in the future

    VA fully flat 1x2x1 herringbone with shelf, direct aisle access versus

    QF fully flat 1x2x1 staggered with shelf, direct aisle access

    Whichever way you view the new VA v QF products, QF has gotten a lot closer.

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    24 Sep, 2014 03:21 pm

    From the photos it looks like there might not be a great deal of room for the legs and feet when it's in bed mode, but it'll probably be clearer when there's some photos from angles other than right on top available. 

    1-2-1 is good news! On both the A330 and 777 though? The 777 is a fully two feet wider! Will the difference be made up in the aisles, or will they be angled differently on the two birds?

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  • Lachlan Ford

    Lachlan Ford

    24 Sep, 2014 03:23 pm

    How are you meant to talk to your seat mate?

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  • moa999

    moa999

    24 Sep, 2014 03:39 pm

    Centre seats, purple divider down, lean forward.

    But if you really want a seatmate, sit further back

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  • Oliver menkens

    Oliver menkens

    24 Sep, 2014 03:44 pm

    Let the games begin 

    nice product virgin it is a great looking seat and hopefully will deliver and pay off for the airline both qantas and virgin now have great buissness products I think this is a dead heat between the 2 

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  • planemad

    planemad

    24 Sep, 2014 05:07 pm

    I bet you that since Virgin is going to do this, Qantas is going to make a move also!   I can't wait...

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  • Ethan Kimahn

    Ethan Kimahn

    26 Sep, 2014 01:46 am

    Qantas will probably target First Class over Business maybe then..

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    24 Sep, 2014 05:42 pm

    I'm pleased to read of the announcement just a bit disappointed that that it won'be be until later in 2015 that thr 777s get their new seats.

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  • Opto80

    Opto80

    24 Sep, 2014 06:28 pm

    Looks nice. Saw this on TV news tonight also and looks very interesting. Can't wait. 

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  • Gian

    Gian

    24 Sep, 2014 06:36 pm

    They just said on the news a deal was also inked between SQ and VA to make VA points and SQ miles transferrable between the programs. Nothing else was said other than that. If its true I'm looking forward to AusBT's no doubt extensive write up on this! 

    A big improvement for Velocity if thats the case, which would possibly allow us to use some of our Velocity points for upgrades on SQ etc by transferring them. Exciting if all true. 

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  • bmc

    bmc

    24 Sep, 2014 06:42 pm

    It's already done. See the new tabs

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  • bmc

    bmc

    24 Sep, 2014 06:42 pm

    It's already done. See the news tabs

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  • Gian

    Gian

    24 Sep, 2014 06:45 pm

    Haha I must be blind as bats**t!

    Thanks mate. 

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  • eminere

    eminere

    24 Sep, 2014 07:10 pm

    Beautiful.  In terms of aesthetics I prefer the look of VA's seat to QF's.

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  • tjtecoma

    tjtecoma

    25 Sep, 2014 07:51 am

    I agree, it looks very nice indeed.  QF's new seats may have been left behind before they've even started!

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  • eminere

    eminere

    26 Sep, 2014 11:42 am

    They have - why QF's PR department thought it would be a good idea to plaster The Great Gatsby on the IFE screen mockup is beyond me.

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  • Jason

    Jason

    24 Sep, 2014 10:51 pm

    My first thought was 'wow it's a mini-BA First seat'.  Almost identical though on a bit smaller scale.  No suprise when I googled the design company behind BA First Class - London based tangerine, the same Virgin is using.

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  • Andrew Gunn

    Andrew Gunn

    25 Sep, 2014 07:13 am

    AJ should not have given virgin such a headstart to make a product better then qf

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  • Rkwm

    Rkwm

    25 Sep, 2014 08:35 am

    Superb in one word . Hoping the new route will be SYD HKG as this seat will compete head on with the CX product which is currently the best option to HKG. 

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  • Andrew Gunn

    Andrew Gunn

    25 Sep, 2014 08:55 am

    Would always chose QF on sydney-lax in business. but suddenly it looks like virgin wil have the best product!

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  • somethingy23

    somethingy23

    25 Sep, 2014 09:12 am

    The seat looks amazing!! really putting qantas (and a lot of international airlines ) on the back foot here. Pity that VA's international routing is not as extensive as one would hope.

    SYD-HKG would definitely be the best choice, as it also opens up possible codesharing with Virgin Atlantic. However flying to KUL is also a good option. Japan (KIX/NRT) might also be possible as currently only oneworld airlines fly there.

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  • Ethan Kimahn

    Ethan Kimahn

    26 Sep, 2014 01:43 am

    I agree. But if VA can make another partnership and a hub international airport, I would suggest Korean Air and make Seoul/Incheon as a Hub for North-East Asia/Central Asia/ and North America codeshared by Korean Air. 

    Currently VA misses market in Central & North East Asia. Japan (KIX/NRT) is a strong home of JAL/Qantas Oneworld alliance as well as Jetstar's low cost market. Where Chinese airlines and hub airports always have threat from their government's policies. Korea (ICN) and Korean Air is currently the best option for Asian market that VA can have. From Seoul, most of Chinese cities and Japanese cities within 2 hour range and there are a lot of flights from early morning to late night to choose from.

    If VA get a partnership with Korean Air for North-East and Central Asia market as well as North American routes, it would be an ideal airline to travel with. Just my opinion!

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  • watson374

    watson374

    28 Sep, 2014 11:40 pm

    I think we all agree that VA needs a virtual forward hub for Asia where they can fly in ex-Australia and codeshare the hell onward. Where it should actually be is a never-ending debate, because all of them do the job well enough.

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  • Ben84

    Ben84

    25 Sep, 2014 03:27 pm

    Finally a Trans Pacific airline seat worth travelling on! 

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  • Joshb

    Joshb

    26 Sep, 2014 10:27 am

    QF First seat is alright.

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    25 Sep, 2014 03:37 pm

    I suspect another consequence of the new seats and the new seating layout would be the elimination of the previously curtained-off row 5.

    No member give thanks

  • radiC00l

    radiC00l

    26 Sep, 2014 09:47 am

    Glad Virgin took the bait and took up the challenge after Qantas' premature announcement. However, I still prefer Qantas' version, looks more refind and thought-out. 

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  • eminere

    eminere

    26 Sep, 2014 11:51 am

    Great to see some real-life shots after the glossy PR images. A couple of observations:

    1. The foam on the underside of the larger storage compartment lid does not trace the edge completely - I see three gaps so you could possibly "thread" through your cables and wires here and avoid closing the lid directly down on them.

    2. Loving all the storage space particularly the ingenious hidden compartment underneath the armrest, but as with all nooks and crannies this will make cleaning a nightmare.  If the cleaners aren't very thorough...

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  • Ben84

    Ben84

    26 Sep, 2014 12:23 pm

    It wasn't cleaning that came to mind for me. Knowing my luck, I'd leave things behind in all the little compartments! 

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  • ezihose

    ezihose

    27 Sep, 2014 12:44 am

    Might look flash but the seat doesnt look very well padded! So will end up being like sitting on a milk crate? 

    less flash and more plush!

    wider, longer, softer was the request?

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  • eminere

    eminere

    27 Sep, 2014 11:47 am

    Looks perfectly adequate to me.

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  • cssaus

    cssaus

    27 Sep, 2014 12:58 pm

    What do they say?

    • "Looks can be deceiving"
    • "You can't judge a book by its cover"

    I've no doubt that the new seats are going to be a huge improvement to what is presently installed. I'll defer making  any actual comment until I've had my bum in one of these seats for 13 hours or so.

    You're obviously not a great fan of VA.

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  • Jono

    Jono

    2 Oct, 2014 09:41 am

    I don't quite get all this talk of how VA needs to find itself an Asian hub to use as a base and code share to Europe and Asia. Why not continue to build on the network with current partner and part owner SQ?

    To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, 'it's like having Keira Knightly in your bed and sleeping on the couch'.

    No member give thanks

  • cssaus

    cssaus

    2 Oct, 2014 10:49 am

    The Singapore hub is fine for Europe and South Asia destinations but if travelling to North Asia (Hong Kong, China etc) it would be more appropriate & convenient to have a partnership arrangement with an airline from these parts rather than having to fly Singapore.

    No member give thanks

  • riley

    riley

    2 Oct, 2014 04:29 pm

    Fairly long bow on the Keira Knightly analogy.

    If the want to grow Velocity members 7m, then it needs increase international destiantions. The capacity / frequency / destinations is more or les sorted on the domestic front, they'll only achieve modest growth through that stream. The real growth will come from strengthening the allegiances with Etiahd and Singapore, which they're doing, and filling the gaps in the international network.

    HK is huge. I'm a loyaly velocity man, if I want to go to HK for a long weekend, I have to stop over in Singapore. It costs more and it takes longer. 

    No member give thanks

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10 Dec, 2016 08:10 am

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