Virgin Australia plans next-gen 'Qantas-beating' seat for A330s

Virgin Australia plans next-gen 'Qantas-beating' seat for A330s

Virgin Australia is gearing up for the next stage of the 'transcontinental turf war' over Australia's east-west routes in response to Qantas' plans to roll out all-new Business Suites on its Airbus A330 fleet.

Virgin currently boasts the better business class for its A330 'Coast to Coast' service between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, with an international-grade angled flat bed in a 2-2-2 configuration.

But Qantas yesterday revealed its new Business Suites, which up the ante to a fully lie-flat bed in a 1-2-1 configuration – although the Red Roo's new seats won't make their debut until late 2014, giving Virgin Australia at least one year's start.

Read: Up close - dive into the details of the new Qantas Business Suite

"My first reaction (on seeing the new Qantas suite) was almost to send Alan Joyce a 'thank you' note for showing me with over a year's lead time what he's going to be doing with the product" Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller when asked about his thoughts on the new seat.

Borghetti isn't fazed by the design, and hints that he has something even better up his tailored sleeve.

"We're certainly not sitting on our hands" Borghetti said. "This is now business as usual. Product lifecycles are getting shorter and shorter and you have to plan faster and faster."

Get the latest updates for business traveller and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter.

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.
 

39 comments

  • Jase Croll

    JaseCroll

    30 Aug, 2013 11:42 am

    Competition is a great thing, love the new Qantas business suite and no doubt Virgin will follow with something special.

    No member give thanks

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    30 Aug, 2013 12:01 pm

    No doubt they will do something... Although they can't be happy about having to look into a new seat when they are still rolling out this one! Maybe this will force Qantas to roll out the new seats a bit quicker... here's hoping!

    No member give thanks

  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    30 Aug, 2013 12:05 pm

    I bet Qantas will improve new A330 seats for the 787-9s in 2016 and for the eventual A380 refurbishment.

    No member give thanks

  • Hugo

    Hugo

    30 Aug, 2013 01:36 pm

    Last I heard, QF plans to give its whole 787 order to Jetstar and acquire Jetstar's A330s in return. Or is your information more recent than mine?

    No member give thanks

  • watson374

    watson374

    30 Aug, 2013 02:16 pm

    That's for the 787-8, not the 787-9.

    No member give thanks

  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    30 Aug, 2013 02:59 pm

    Although the 2016 787 order is a split ratio order between Jetstar and Qantas with 787-9 and (more) the 787-8. 

    No member give thanks

  • AJW

    AJW

    31 Aug, 2013 09:24 am

     You guys have short memories. Qantas cancelled all the firm orders except for the 14 787-8's for Jetstar that will start deliveries on the next months or so.

     

    Now yes Qantas does hold options on futher -8's and 9's from 2016 onwards, but as of today they have not been exercised.

    No member give thanks

  • KG

    KG

    30 Aug, 2013 12:14 pm

    Big talk by Mr Borghetti. Unless they have already planned something I doubt that they will be able to come up something within the same timeframe as QF. Investments will be huge and it is not that VA posted good profits so have a surplus of cash to invest. Up until now they had no plans to reconfigure their older A330 and now he hints he has a revolutionary new product? In my opinion the new QF C seat is as good as it gets (together with the seats used by CX, AA and BR).

    Got to love this rivalry, in the end it is good for us as consumers.

    No member give thanks

  • Happy Trails

    Happy Trails

    30 Aug, 2013 12:22 pm

    Shouldn't that be 'fazed'?

    (What John Borghetti isn't)

    No member give thanks

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    30 Aug, 2013 12:40 pm

    If he wasn't "fazed" then he wouldn't have made the statements. I think that JB does worry about the direction Qantas is going in now that they have tied up with Emirates and the International operations are turning around (albeit slowly...) and then now with the new product. I think he likes people to think he is all cool calm and collected but I'm sure he keeps a very close eye on what Qantas is doing. 

    No member give thanks

  • Happy Trails

    Happy Trails

    30 Aug, 2013 12:45 pm

    It was the spelling "phased" which has since been quietly corrected.

    No member give thanks

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    30 Aug, 2013 01:19 pm

    Ah ok! Fair enough! :-)

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    30 Aug, 2013 12:42 pm

    Yes, you're right - apologies, this article was actually written and uploaded from the passenger seat of an Audi A7 zipping around Sydney post-presser, so a few errors crept in!

    No member give thanks

  • Longreach

    Longreach

    4 Sep, 2013 05:40 pm

    Still...

    No member give thanks

  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    30 Aug, 2013 01:00 pm

    a very predictable response by RB...oooops JB ;-)   i get the 2 'virgin kings of spin' confused sometimes! lol  

    No member give thanks

  • syd flyer

    syd flyer

    30 Aug, 2013 01:47 pm

    It is worth remembering JB's partners and the products(seating) they already have which could be deployed relatively easily to the VA network.

    No member give thanks

  • sdwylie

    sdwylie

    30 Aug, 2013 02:02 pm

    Why is so much attention being given by the key players to business class East-West coast, but almost no attention being given to business class Trans-tasman?

    I assume the new QF seats will make their way to some NZ flights, but I can't see them being fitted to B737s?

    And then there's AirNZ who only has economy...

    It's a roughly similar duration flight - if it's so important to have a skybed to Perth, wouldn't it be as important to have it to NZ?

    (Rant over!)

    No member give thanks

  • sdwylie

    sdwylie

    30 Aug, 2013 02:03 pm

    And then on the other end of the scale, there's Emirates with First/Business on the A380! But it's definitely the exception...

    No member give thanks

  • Phillippe M

    Phillippe M

    30 Aug, 2013 02:05 pm

    And what about the flights to Darwin?  :)

    No member give thanks

  • Longreach

    Longreach

    4 Sep, 2013 06:03 pm

    Roughly similar duration from Melbourne perhaps, but Perth is over 50 per cent further from Sydney than is Auckland, and almost 60 per cent further from Brisbane.

    And then there's the demand...

    No member give thanks

  • syd flyer

    syd flyer

    30 Aug, 2013 02:28 pm

    David

    i guess you mean a Q7:)

    No member give thanks

  • KG

    KG

    30 Aug, 2013 02:31 pm

    David likes his fast cars, could well be an A7!

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    30 Aug, 2013 04:33 pm

    Indeed it was an A7 'Sportback' - not mine (I drive a Mazda MX5), but a bloody great looking Audi, almost has a touch of Aston-Martin about it IMHO.

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    30 Aug, 2013 02:45 pm

    Ah... Nothing quite motivates one than being spurned...

    No member give thanks

  • Christopher Campbell

    Chris2304

    30 Aug, 2013 03:02 pm

    Qantas will most likely refurb the current A380s with the new A330 seats when they start receiving the next two A380s in the 2016-2017 Financial Year. 

    No member give thanks

  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    30 Aug, 2013 03:48 pm

    New seats don't mean much if you can't sit in them - its all vapourware until the carriers actually fit them on the metal you are travelling. 

    No member give thanks

  • smit0847

    smit0847

    30 Aug, 2013 04:32 pm

    That is a classic quote from JB. He has a good point - there was no advantage at all in QF announcing a new product that couldn't even be booked and giving their rivals plenty of time to plan how to tackle it. It could also take years to refit all 30 aircraft!

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    30 Aug, 2013 10:16 pm

    I must admit, I was VERY surprised to turn up to the Qantas financials event yesterday morning and see photos of the Business Suite there, and have this revealed at the FY report session. I certainly didn't expect to see anything on this until early next year.

    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    31 Aug, 2013 11:20 am

    I was sort of hoping they would be announcing the new J seat... but equally thought it would be a max of 6 months off (ie when the A330s start coming back as JQ gets its Dreamliners), not almost 16 months off.

    No member give thanks

  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    4 Sep, 2013 09:15 pm

    Same here - but I think Virgin will also have to refit its future J class seats in 2 years or so, if they want such a good seat.

    I love it when they're competing - there's not a big chance that I'll be taking the route, but still, there will be better products!

    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    31 Aug, 2013 11:21 am

    So is DJ going to beat QF by going more than fully flat... ie upward sloping :-)

    Personally I think this config is fairly hard to beat in J - aisle access for all, good privacy, still some 'paired seats' every second row in the middle for couples.

    No member give thanks

  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    22 Sep, 2013 03:16 pm

    It's VA now, it was DJ a year ago

    No member give thanks

  • Oliver menkens

    ollie117

    31 Aug, 2013 01:07 pm

    virgin is just playing with qantas 

    No member give thanks

  • Mackenzie Davis

    QF015

    28 Nov, 2013 03:16 pm

    Good on them! Qantas needs some real competition

    No member give thanks

  • Yusef Danet

    Yusef Danet

    31 Aug, 2013 05:02 pm

    A 4-abreast cabin on the A330 is very generous to the passengers but it does mean fewer seats avail for points redemption and inevitably higher prices for those seats, as a small number of seats takes up a lot of flying floor.

    No member give thanks

  • tallinnman

    tallinnman

    2 Sep, 2013 05:43 pm

    Qantas seatimg will have been designed with what Emirates currently/potentially will offer in the future. this appears to be a superior option to EK but is easily 'trumpable' by Virgin - simply fit the CX seat.

    No member give thanks

  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    2 Sep, 2013 09:24 pm

    Qantas has already done its best...so Virgin is going to come up with something like a 1-2-1 non staggered (thus very wide) leather seat that reclines into a fully flat bed?

    No member give thanks

  • Darkavid99

    Darkavid99

    4 Sep, 2013 02:41 pm

    Maybe Virgin will come up with a full service lounge in the sky with massage beds and spa baths?

    No member give thanks

  • Alvin Tse

    074061

    4 Sep, 2013 09:12 pm

    Lol

    No member give thanks

Guest

21 May, 2019 01:00 pm

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×

Resend activation email

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

×