Virgin Australia reveals new business class, economy seats

These seats will soon take to the skies as Virgin seeks real-world feedback on their designs.

By David Flynn, November 11 2021
Virgin Australia reveals new business class, economy seats

Virgin Australia is trialling next-generation business class and economy class seats for its domestic Boeing 737 fleet, with two jets being fitted with the fresh seats to gauge traveller feedback.

Virgin Australia's new concept business class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept business class seats.

The airline says the prototype business class seat has an extra seven inches of recline – as much as 40% more than its current business class – along with legrests and footrests, which have long been missing from Virgin's premium seat.

Virgin Australia's new concept business class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept business class seats.

Also new at the pointy end:

  • a 'high-power' USB power socket (and no, we don't yet know if this means USB-C or just a USB-A port with extra juice behind it)
  • added in-seat storage nooks for personal items
  • 'non-slip' cocktail tables
  • movable tray tables with inbuilt device holders, to make it easier to view BYO content on a phone or tablet during the meal service
Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.

Meanwhile, the economy seats will see a seatback device holder suitable for everything from a small smartphone to a large tablet.

Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.

A dedicated recess for the safety card and buy on board menu also frees up the regular seatback pocket space for more of the passenger's own belongings.

Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.

Look closely and you'll also spy an embossed leaf pattern in the headrests, reflecting a common design element of Virgin's airport lounges.

And from tip to tail, there's a return of purple LED lighting which also compliments the airline's colour scheme.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer, Paul Jones, says the two refitted Boeing 737s will take the seats to the public across the next few months – and depending on feedback, they'll be considered for future aircraft as the airline continues to expand its fleet.

Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.
Virgin Australia's new concept economy class seats.

"Virgin Australia is committed to being a customer-led business, so once we receive feedback from our guests and crew, we'll consider implementing elements of the new design as our fleet grows," Jones says.

"We can't wait for guests to experience the new interior for themselves if they’re lucky enough to fly on either of the two aircraft that have initially been fitted with the new design."

There's no change to the overall seat count, with eight business class and 162 economy class seats, all of which share a distinctive horizontal rib design "providing guests added support and comfort when they fly."

Also read: From smashed avo to scones, here is Virgin Australia’s new lounge menu

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 231

Look like they’ve re-upholstered the business class seats from the ex-Silkair 737s they recently took on. 

They’re comfy seats and a definite improvement on the old product. Good stuff. 

30 Aug 2019

Total posts 18

No divider between business and economy? Wonder if that will change?

Won't miss that purple perspex though! 

30 Aug 2019

Total posts 18

Would love to see a curtain instead!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 251

And enforce C toilet for C pax (both QF and VA!!!)

06 Dec 2019

Total posts 3

There will be a new divider between economy and business. Will be installed after certification. (According to a VA employee on instagram) There will also be USB charging ports in economy that will also be installed, you could see the cutouts for them already.

05 May 2012

Total posts 32

I only just noticed that today!

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 709

I was waiting for this to happen, I just hope the longer flights (over 4 hours) get an even better seat option.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

I doubt they are interested in creating a small subfleet with a different lie flat J option.  Apart from the loss of fleet efficiency, I'm pretty sure VA has come to the conclusion that the economics of lie-flat seats on domestic services just don't make sense unless you can significantly hike up the J fares.  QF has probably come to believe the same.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 239

They may take that opportunity on the B737-Max10 aircraft. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 308

At most if there is to be any 'subfleet' of the MAX-10 (keep in mind VA did cancel the MAX-8 order), at most it'll be extra legroom seats in Y and/or more pitch in J.

Can't see lie-flats on a small subfleet for flights to largely low-yielding/budget conscious short-haul international destinations such as NAN and DPS.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

Is the black dot on the back of Y seats covering a USB charging point or just a space where one could go?

06 Dec 2019

Total posts 3

Yes it's a cutout for a USB charging port, although they haven't been installed yet in those pics.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 251

I personally didnt find any problem with the old seats except no power supply The footrest thing,  if its anything like QF C  is pretty much useless if your 6ft3   like me  - more comfortable to not extend it 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2021

Total posts 1

In the same boat. Would have been great if they could have got the "Z" cradle to help.

As Borat would say... very nice.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Pffffft !

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 105

It would be good to see an image of the J seat fully reclined and see ho much it impinges on the seat space behind.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 251

ypu  I dont recline because I have concern for the pax behind me - many are oblivious  Too many QF  C flights  squashed in  like a sardine   and cant see the ipad

03 May 2021

Total posts 32

Is there power outlets in economy class now?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Aug 2016

Total posts 5

As someone who temporarily switched to QF out of concern for the future of VA during the pandemic, I can say with certainty that the legrest/recline has never been a major concern of mine. I can't recall one instance of being pleased that I had a legrest on a QF flight, but I can recall a persistent concern about the service - no pre-flight beverage (not even water!), and a thoroughly disappointing meal/service experience was the norm. 

Since VA has launched its new Business Class menu, I've not once been disappointed with the meal - and the service has been exceptional, as always.

I recognise that not all will agree with me, but as someone of average height - the current (new) VA business class experience and the big price difference to QF makes VA a no brainer. This new seat is a nice bonus - but certainly not a gamechanger.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 205

Michael - I totally agree, not acknowledged enough in comparisons between airlines is PRICE of the product. And the gap is massive, but the product offered is basically identical, Virgin is a no brainer as you say on this alone.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Aug 2016

Total posts 5

Absolutely... a no brainer on the East Coast. East-West is (sadly) a different story, but not many of us have been able to fly those routes since March 2020!

05 May 2012

Total posts 32

Has anyone come across the registrations of the two aircraft yet?


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