Virgin Australia refurb adds business class to Boeing 737-700s

By John Walton, July 6 2012
Virgin Australia refurb adds business class to Boeing 737-700s

If you've been caught out by the few aircraft in Virgin Australia's fleet that still don't have business class, the odds are turning in your favour.

Four of the older planes that weren't originally equipped with business class are now sporting the bigger seats in the pointy end.

These are the shortened Boeing 737-700 planes, which are slightly smaller than the more numerous 737-800s that make up the bulk of Virgin Australia's aircraft. 

They're often used on routes where total passenger numbers don't make flying the larger plane efficient – which frequently end up being business traveller heavy – or where technical problems require a plane swap.

Of the seven smaller planes still in the fleet, "we have four 737-700 aircraft that have undergone a refurbishment to now include business class," a Virgin spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller

"These aircraft were reconfigured to the same standard of our Boeing 737-800 to ensure consistency of product and service to our guests. We expect these four 737-700 aircraft will exit our fleet by the end of the year."

The planes were previously in the older all-economy layout, with the former premium economy seating available for Platinum and Gold Velocity Frequent Flyers.

Virgin Australia expects to retire all of its Boeing 737-700 aircraft by the end of 2013, and will take delivery of 31 Boeing 737-800s between 2013 and 2016.

As announced yesterday, Virgin has also ordered 23 of Boeing's fuel-efficient 737 MAX 8 aircraft - designed as a next-gen replacement for the Boeing 737-800 – to join the fleet between 2019 and 2021.

For more on Virgin Australia's business class, don't miss our roundup guide with everything you need to know! Read more…

Keep up to date with the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Is there still nothing on how the PB 738s will be reconfigured?

22 Jun 2012

Total posts 11

Would be interested to know.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

Earlier this year, Australian Business Traveller exclusively brought to us that Virgin Australia dropped the Business Class/Premium Economy product on their Boeing 737-700 aircraft - - which was effective from March 1st and the first three rows were offered to high-tier Velocity guests.

Now, Virgin is placing the seats back on these aircraft, probably due to the loss of revenue or popular demand.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Not quite. Virgin had previously dropped the "business class service with the old premium economy seats" from the -700s. Instead, they've put the new business seats on some of them.

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