Virgin Atlantic super-sized ‘The Retreat’ suite taking off in October

The Branson-backed airline is stepping up its challenge to rival British Airways with a new Upper Class suite and more.

By Chris Ashton, July 13 2022
Virgin Atlantic super-sized ‘The Retreat’ suite taking off in October

Virgin Atlantic’s next-gen Airbus A330neo will jet off in October, sporting the airline's most luxurious cabin offering yet – a sleek ‘business plus’ suite dubbed The Retreat – alongside the latest evolution of its successful Upper Class suite.

Taking pride of place in the first row of business class, The Retreat comprises just two exclusive suites offered for an extra £200 (A$352) on top of the standard Upper Class fare.

By opening up the front row space and footwell, Virgin’s in-house design team and London-based Factorydesign were able to unleash their imaginations to create the airline’s biggest suite ever.

The Retreat's ottoman doubles as a companion seat for in-suite dining for two.
The Retreat's ottoman doubles as a companion seat for in-suite dining for two.

The Retreat boasts a 6’ 7” fully-flat bed, an ottoman which doubles as a companions seat for dining for two, and a 27” Bluetooth-enabled HD monitor – 10” larger than its Upper Class equivalents – for an IMAX-like experience in the sky.

Carving out this bespoke front row treatment – and charging for the privilege – is an increasingly popular approach with airlines, among them JetBlue's A321LR Mint Studio and the forthcoming Business Premier Luxe Suites from Air New Zealand.

In fact, the entire A330neo business class cabin is arguably Virgin Atlantic’s best yet, with the spacious new Upper Class suites gaining sliding doors and a handy ‘do not disturb’ mode to put privacy at the forefront.

Individually-controlled lighting allows you to set the mood in your suite.
Individually-controlled lighting allows you to set the mood in your suite.

The A330neo Upper Class seat and The Retreat are the latest highly-customised versions of Thompson Aero Seating’s Vantage XL platform, best known to Executive Traveller readers as the Qantas Business Suite from its Airbus A330, Boeing 787 and refurbished A380s.

Arranged in a 1-2-1 layout for direct aisle access, notable features include a 17.3” touchscreen HD monitor with Bluetooth audio streaming to your own headphones and, in common with The Retreat, wireless charging, AC and USB power outlets, high-speed WiFi and a mirror so travellers “can check they’re looking runway ready.”

“Let’s adjourn to The Loft”

All Upper Class passengers can also stretch their legs and share a drink in The Loft, Virgin’s fresh take on its signature social space.

The Lounge is tailor-made for socialising on longer flights.
The Lounge is tailor-made for socialising on longer flights.

Similar to The Loft on the larger A350s, The Booth has seating for four passengers with standing room for an additional four, a 27” monitor with Bluetooth audio, wireless charging, plus a self-service fridge and drinks dispenser.

The Loft will be better suited to the A330neo’s trans-Atalntic journeys than The Booth on Virgin’s leisure-oriented A350s, which is a smaller semi-private lounge for two.

An order for up to 16 A330neo is part of Virgin's commitment to a greener future.
An order for up to 16 A330neo is part of Virgin's commitment to a greener future.

Part of a wider transition to a greener fleet, Virgin will take delivery of its first A330neo aircraft in September, with passenger flights jetting off to Boston from October; two more A330neos will follow by year’s end, with up to 13 more arriving through to 2026.

In short, the A330neo has everything Virgin Atlantic needs to step up its challenge to trans-Atlantic rival British Airways and its business class Club Suites.

Additional reporting by David Flynn. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Mar 2018

Total posts 24

I would pay the extra money for the Retreat seats across the Atlantic. Have never flown this route with Virgin Atlantic before.  Fed up with BA First.

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 108

You will see this on many routes, not just BOS.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

This looks great, hope its used on the LHR-LAX sector as well as the East Coast airports?  

Might not quite have the legs for that distance?

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 108

The plane can make it to LAX, but its doubtful there will deploy it there when they have the A350.  The 787 runs to LA as well, but with that ancient J cabin, should not.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 130

The 'Retreat', the 'Loft', the 'Booth' - when will airlines simplify the flying experience. Just simply supply comfortable seating, decent catering and honest old fashioned service and drop the names. Simple.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 238

Wow, if it's SO simple why are not all the airlines and airline CEOs of the world doing this? Maybe because it's not so "simple" and there's such a thing as marketing and branding.


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