First look: Virgin Australia's new Boeing 777 premium economy

By Chris Chamberlin , May 16 2016
First look: Virgin Australia's new Boeing 777 premium economy

The first of Virgin Australia’s revamped Boeing 777 aircraft is now zipping between Sydney and Los Angeles, bringing along a revitalised premium economy class in addition to all-new business class suites at the pointy end.

Now marketed simply as 'Premium' class, guests can stretch out in one of 24 seats – spanning three cosy rows in a 2-4-2 layout – that measure up at 19.5 inches (49.5cm) wide, boasting a nine-inch (22.8cm) recline…

… and 41 inches (104cm) of space from headrest to headrest, known as ‘pitch’.

As a guide, if you’ve flown in business class on Virgin Australia’s domestic or trans-Tasman Boeing 737 aircraft – which come with 38 inches of pitch – picture that, but with an additional three inches of legroom.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia Boeing 737 trans-Tasman business class

Meals here also come with a touch of business class, served on crockery with matching wines from the business class cellar or your choice of Nespresso coffee, Madame Flavour Tea or even cocktails.

As you’d expect, each guest can also enjoy movies via their own personal entertainment screen, measuring at 10.6 inches with a new interface to match business class…

… which folds up from within the armrests in the first row – and folds away for extra space…

… or resides in the seatback ahead of you, with AC and USB power outlets nearby to keep your laptop, tablet and smartphone powered up.

Also taking flight is a new ‘Economy Space +’ service on Virgin Australia’s refitted Boeing 777s to offer much more than just extra legroom, but with a price tag just a little more than standard economy.

For between $135 and $165 on flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi (when resumed), you’ll also get priority check-in and boarding on the ground, followed by a ‘preferred’ overhead locker, noise-cancelling headphones and your first meal choice, guaranteed.

All five of the airline’s Boeing 777s are on-track to be refitted by the third quarter of 2016, from which time the new premium economy, ‘Economy Space +’ service and ‘The Business’ suites will appear on all VA flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Los Angeles and from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

Also read: Virgin Australia Boeing 777 'The Business' review, Sydney-LA

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 254

Oh man.... this look great. Even the currnet PE is worth the upgrade or purchase! This would be better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

I take it that this 'refresh' is simply a new seat covering plus IFE software upgrade?.. as well as reduction from 5 rows of 8 to 3 rows of 8

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jul 2013

Total posts 11

Looks exactly the same as the PE seat that they've had for years - just with a new seat covering, new screen and a little more legroom?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 122

Is there a footnet or foot rest under the seat infront? On the previous iteration of Virgin's PE, I found that I was constantly sliding forward in the leather seats.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 126

Overall, the cabin looks lovely, BUT for a Premium Economy product (which they spruik as a business light) I would not expect that I would have to share the arm rest with the person (or persons -  if in the middle seats) seated next to me. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

Is there no armrest between the centre seats ?

Look closer. ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

Yes, I can see it now - there is a reason for needing to look closer !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

Is "economy space +" just the exit rows, or are there specific rows with extra pitch as per US airlines? 

The latter, but this also includes the exit rows.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 446

That is a significant change for an Australian airline to offer extra leg room in Y without being in an exit row.  Has to be better than paying $180 for an exit row seat and then having all the problems with being near the galley or the lavs. 

With the QF & AA  JV a similair product might be included in QF's 787s.

 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Aug 2013

Total posts 8

Hi  Chris, 

Do you know if SC's and points will be counted as PE or just economy? 

Thank, 

Laz

17 May 2016

Total posts 6

very nice indeed from the illustrated pics there is one thing missing is the reading lamps but apart from that great seats

17 May 2016

Total posts 6

just looking at the old PE and E  seats the new seats looks like the old economy just done up and turned into PE

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 165

These seats appear to be identical to the old PE, just with 3 inches greater pitch, and losing the reading light and mini-cocktail table.

Having paid out of my own pocket for the old product and not thinking it was worth the 100% - 300% mark up on economy, I don't think this changes the value proposition enough to make me change my mind.

An integrated leg rest like the Air NZ 787 or Qantas product (rather than the fold down one) would have made a world of difference. I presume this was the lowest cost option - simply reupholster and reposition the existing seats.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

10.6 inch screen is really ****...should be more like SQ size 13.3 to make it easier to see over greater distance

[Censored by admin - language]

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 254

PE worth it on VA.


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