Virgin Australia: "new seats & screens" revamp for Airbus A330s

By David Flynn, February 13 2012
Virgin Australia:

Update: we've got first pics and full details on Virgin Australia's lie-flat business class seats on its new Airbus A330s.

Virgin Australia is planning a raft of changes to its new Airbus A330s when the latest of the big birds begin flying in May.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the third and fourth A330s – which will both be factory-fresh aircraft delivered straight from Airbus HQ at Toulouse, France – will be fitted with a different type of seating compared to both of Virgin's current  A330s, which were bought 'pre-loved' from Emirates.

Unlike its current pre-loved Airbus A330s, Virgin's factory-fresh A330s will have new seating and no middle seat
Unlike its current pre-loved Airbus A330s, Virgin's factory-fresh A330s will have new seating and no middle seat

A revised layout will remove the middle seat from the A330's business class cabin for a less-squeezy 2-2-2 configuration.

The spokesperson said that each seat from tip to tail in the new A330s will also sport the same Panasonic in-flight entertainment system as on Virgin Australia's international Boeing 777s.

The pair of Airbus A330s will debut in mid-May on two new 'Coast to Coast' flights between Melbourne and Perth, as well as running a morning peak hour service between Melbourne and Sydney.

The Virgin Australia spokesperson said while a further two Airbus A330s due for delivery this year would sport the same 'seats and screens' changes, the airline's first two A330s would not be upgraded to remove the middle seat.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Copying Qantas? more space in the aisles or just a big arm rest for the seats either side?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2433

Virgin wouldn't be drawn on anything more, such as how different the seats would be - they're (understandably) keeping their powder dry for closer to May, although I expect we'll have details by April.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

Very interesting, I heard rumours but you guys are the first to report the actual news instead of "aviation geek gossip"! Do you know if the first two A330s will be refurbished at the same time with new seats and 2-2-2? It'd make sense so they could have total product consistency.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2433

Al, our update to this article now reflects that Virgin will keep the first two A330s at their original midde-seat config. No more news on the new seats themselves at this stage.

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

J is going to lose a pile of legroom with the new seats... I'd expect them to go in above QF to around 42-44" of pitch to allow them to add an extra row to make up for the loss of the middle seat...

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Why add an extra row? Their strategy so far seems to be to have small "exclusive" cabins (e.g. 737 has 8 seats vs QF's 12).  Why would they drop that?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

chrisjrn, i agree with what you say... They understand that it isnt all that fun being between 2 people. At least a window or an aisle is better to lean onto/into than 2 people!

It has many advantages having an uncrowded cabin. The less people to a single bathroom, the better. Also it gives the cabin more space...

You really need to know how they are going to utilise the space they will gain from taking out the middle seats, to determine your opinion on the whole thing. Anyone know what is going happen? they won't just have a big gap will they? 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Wider aisles? or a table thing in the middle?

02 Sep 2011

Total posts 16

Wait, you say the first two wont get the removed middle seat, but what about the IFE? Or is it just no upgrade at all....

Virgin Australia should've just installed RED on all 737s, E-Jets and A330s, and then they would've been MILES ahead of QF.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2433

Virgin didn't offer anything on IFE for the first two A330s, nor would they be drawn on anything else regarding the new seating... playing cards close to their chest.

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 24

So if the two other craft due later this year have "the same seats and screens" is it safe to assume Virgin won't be expanding Internationally at this stage?

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 24

That is unless the two other craft coming later this year are pre emerates as well and have the same seats and the new A330's have an international seat. I hope so as I have started flyign Virgin a lot more and would love to be able to continue that internationally. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

We dont know what they have in store with the 777 when they are refurbished.

When they are released with the new look and stuff, Virgin Australia may announce new international routes. What I am hoping for with the 777 is that they have first, business and economy... stuff premium for the moment or they could have 4 classes like QF currently has which sort of may work. Hope they bring along bigger planes than the 777 later on in say 2015.

02 Sep 2011

Total posts 16

I think Virgin just threw International long haul out the window.

I wouldn't be surprised if all trans tasman was relegated to Air NZ, all SYD-LAX/MEL-LAX was DL (BNE-LAX cut) and SYD-AUH was taken over by EY. 

Great strategy they've got going on there. Whats the point of an international operation if you only fly to two places?

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I fail to see how Virgin's upgrading of A330s has anything to do with their international routes.

They've always said these A330s are for high-capacity domestic routes, which we've already seen with SYD-PER and soon MEL-PER along with peak-hour SYD-MEL services (I wonder if the extra A330s later in the year will add a second SYD-MEL peak hour service and also BNE-PER, or boost SYD-PER and MEL-PER flights).

As for Virgins real 'international' routes the 777s are being upgraded, not retired, doesn't that make you think Virgin will be chasing MORE international traffic?

As for Delta, Etihad and Air New Zealand, John Borghetti has always talked about a 'virtual network' of partners rather than over-investing in his own aircraft and that makes perfect sense. Why shouldn't we see codeshares and alliance partners active on some routes?

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

There was always some possibility that VA would expand into Asia with the A332's - the 77W is far too much of a plane for flights to NRT, SIN, HKG, China, India etc. 

It's clear now that this isn't the case, at least for now. This news has everything to do with VA international, because it means that there's no doubt about VA's future plans now.


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