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Virgin Australia powers up Boeing 737 business class

By John Walton     Filed under: Boeing 737, Virgin Australia, Boeing 737-800

Business travellers on Virgin Australia will have a better chance to charge up their laptops and tablets in flight, with a third of the airline's Boeing 737-800 planes now boasting AC power points in every business class seat.

Virgin Australia's rollout of in-seat power sockets now extends to 21 of the Boeing 737s fitted with business class, and the airline tells Australian Business Traveller that all its future 737s — the workhorse of Virgin's domestic fleet — will arrive with power in the pointy end.

"In-seat power is an important feature for many travellers on longer flights," Virgin Australia spokesman Luke O'Donnell agrees. "Over the next few years all of our Boeing 737s will be fitted with in-seat power."

You'll find the power points in the centre armrest section, between the window and aisle seats.

And there's good news for travellers with large 17 inch laptops which can sometimes trip the system's fuse and remove power for your seat – and potentially your row or the whole cabin!

Virgin's systems have enough juice to run just even the most powerful laptop, O'Donnell explains.

"The in-seat power systems have been designed for a range of consumer devices. The system is designed to accept laptops as well as other devices up to 150w."

17" laptops can suck down around 85w, with smaller ultralight versions sipping at a reduced 45w, so there's ample headroom.

Airbus A330s, too

In addition to these Boeing 737s, the newer three of Virgin's five Airbus A330 planes — used for trans-continental flights between the east coast and Perth— have at-seat power in business and economy.

There's no real way to tell which A330s are equipped with sockets when you book, but when you do online seat selection before you fly, check if the seatmap shows a 2-3-2 layout with a middle seat instead of a 2-2-2 configuration.

The 2-2-2 seating belongs to the newer power-packing A330s; the 2-3-2 layout means your tech will be running on batteries from coast to coast.

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 24/1/13 by kash

ummm-should it not be available throughout the plane??-CX is adding power to all regional flights across all cabins this year

Australian airlines seem to be quite behind the rest of the world!

1 on 25/1/13 by Al

Yes it makes sense to have power at every seat but then again do we really need it, if the majority of Virgin flights in Australia are no more than 90 minutes, ie SYD-MEL and SYD-BNE. Yes on SYD-PER and MEL-PER there should be power at every seat because of the long flight but I can't imagine anybody needing it for the 60 minutes in which you can actually use a notebook ion a SYD-MEL or SYD-BNE flight!

1 on 25/1/13 by John

Actually, I'd really welcome power, even on shorter flights, and even if it's just a USB slot. If I'm taking a morning flight, my phone is probably below 70% by the time I'm on the plane, and I'd love to top it back up to 100% en route rather than draining it further when I'm listening to music.

2 on 24/1/13 by am

It should be noted that QF has power outlets in Y as well as J, and has integrated IFE which means passengers are less reliant on the batteries of their own devices.

1 on 25/1/13 by Al

am, very true about QF having screens but I didn't know they had power in all economy seats on their 737-800s, how many of them have this? I stopped flying QF a while back so am not familiar with the state of their latest fleet.

1 on 25/1/13 by am

All the 738s that have seat back screens also have a power outlet between the seats down below near the floor. There are 2 between each set of 3 seats, plus the USB ports which will charge most devices.

1 on 25/1/13 by John

Hi am — is that the VH-VZ* 2011-onwards series?

1 on 25/1/13 by am

You'd want to check (it might just be the BSI planes rather than all the PTV equipped 737s) but I'm pretty sure it is.

1 on 28/1/13 by les

The 737-800s on the trans-Tasman run all have in seat power

3 on 1/2/13 by ezihose

Come on Virgin your just about there. All you need to do is increase the number of A330's as flight 737 Perth Syd, Perth Brisbane is just not right! Put them all on Syd Brisbane, Syd Melb


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