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

By David Flynn, August 30 2013

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."

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David
David

David Flynn

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.

JaseCroll

JaseCroll

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 13

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

AusFlyer

AusFlyer

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

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!

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 387

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

Hugo

Hugo

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

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?

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

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.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

11 Apr 2012

Total posts 56

Shouldn't that be 'fazed'?

(What John Borghetti isn't)

AusFlyer

AusFlyer

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

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. 

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

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!

undertheradar Banned

undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

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

syd flyer

syd flyer

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 2

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

sdwylie

sdwylie

Qantas - Platinum

18 Jan 2011

Total posts 84

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!)

sdwylie

sdwylie

Qantas - Platinum

18 Jan 2011

Total posts 84

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

Phillippe M

Phillippe M

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jun 2013

Total posts 6

And what about the flights to Darwin?  :)

Longreach

Longreach

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

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...

syd flyer

syd flyer

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 2

David

i guess you mean a Q7:)

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

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

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

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

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 387

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. 

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

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. 

smit0847

smit0847

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

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!

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

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.

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

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.

074061

074061

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

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!

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

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.

074061

074061

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

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

ollie117

ollie117

21 Apr 2013

Total posts 34

virgin is just playing with qantas 

QF015

QF015

08 May 2013

Total posts 18

Good on them! Qantas needs some real competition

Yusef Danet

Yusef Danet

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

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.

tallinnman

tallinnman

15 Jun 2013

Total posts 9

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.

074061

074061

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

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?

Darkavid99

Darkavid99

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 90

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

074061

074061

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

Lol


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