Virgin Atlantic will launch an all-new Upper Class business class seat in mid-2019, going head to head with the next-gen Club World seat of British Airways.
Both airlines will debut their latest business class seats on Airbus A350-1000 jets, although Virgin Atlantic is more actively talking up its seat as a 'revolution' over its current design (shown below) compared to previous BA expectations of a more measured 'evolution'.
Virgin is believed to have locked down the seat's design ahead of a possible media reveal in the first quarter of 2019, with the seat itself believed to see Virgin adopt a more conventional 1-2-1 layout.
“We’ve seen it, I’ve sat in it, it’s a fantastic seat,” enthuses Oliver Byers, Virgin Atlantic’s senior vice president of sales and customer loyalty.
“What you’ll see is that it’s a next-generation product but it’s incredibly Virgin Atlantic," Byers tells our UK sibling Business Traveller. "It’s exactly what you would think Virgin Atlantic is in terms of the look and feel, the design, the feel of the cabin and the warmth of the environment."
Virgin Atlantic has 12 Airbus 350-1000s on order, with its flights from London to Asia – specifically Hong Kong and Shanghai – tipped to be among early routes.
“What we really want to do is grow both of these markets over time by first looking at how we can add more capacity through going from a (Boeing) 787 to an A350-1000, and then in the future whether we can have second flights," Byers predicts.
However, the new Upper Class seat isn't expected to appear on Virgin's existing Airbus A330s or Boeing 787s.