VIRGIN Australia today unveiled its new Airbus A330 business class suites that are “longer and wider” than any other domestic business class seat in the world.
Set to be available on its entire A330 fleet by the end of October, the airline also announced a collaboration with Nespresso so that passengers can “get a decent coffee for a change,” said Virgin Australia CEO, John Borghetti.
The new business offering includes fully lie-flat beds, 16 inch touch screens, a retractable privacy screen and a tablet holder with an additional side console for more workspace.
The seats are a hammock design with no metal bars for extra comfort including a turndown service with memory foam mattress toppers and high-grade cotton pillows and doonas. There will also be direct aisle access for every seat in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The airline has also teamed up with Nespresso in a world-first collaboration with purpose built-machines designed to overcome the challenges of making coffee at altitude. Business class will also be offering Luke Mangan designed menus to be served restaurant style.
John Borghetti said there were four important factors in designing the new suites.
“It has to look good, it has to be comfortable to sit in, you’ve got to have privacy and it’s got to be practical,” and says the new suites will be a game changer in the industry.
“In 2011, we brought choice and competition to business class in Australia for the first time in a decade. The launch of the business class suites today sets a new standard in domestic business class around the world,’’ he said.
“We believe this new product will ensure that Virgin Australia is the number one choice for premium travellers on the all-important transcontinental routes.”
Mark Hassell, Virgin Australia’s Chief Customer Officer said it was about getting the best business class domestically than any other airline.
“Getting the basic parameters right of length and width was very important, sleep is very important particularly on red-eyes, I want red-eyes to become shut eyes,” he said.
“The construction of the seat — its got no metal bars in it, it’s a hammock design and it cradles you in a comfortable yet firm way.”
When asked how this would affect pricing, Borghetti said they would remain competitive.
“You’ll still see us being competitive, you roll out a new product, but your pricing still has to be competitive,” he said.
Later this year Virgin Australia will launch its new long-haul business class on their Boeing 777 flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.