Virgin Atlantic is investing £10 million to upgrade Upper Class seats and introduce a Premium Economy cabin to its fleet of four A330-200 aircraft from November.

The Upper Class seats will offer direct aisle access, more surface area and new leather upholstery.
There will be three styles of seat: love suites (side-by-side), corner suites and freedom suites.

The economy-class cabins will also be refreshed, with new seats installed by January.

The four former Air Berlin aircraft were acquired by Virgin Atlantic in March to maintain its schedule. Like other carriers operating Boeing 787s with Rolls-Royce engines, Virgin was experiencing difficulties servicing the aircraft due to a shortage of engines and parts.

Daniel Kerzner, Virgin Atlantic vice-president of customer experience, said: “It’s a new Upper Class product. The seats will be physically different to the rest of the fleet, but the attributes will be the same.”

Virgin will retain the current Upper Class seating configuration on its A330s, including the 
‘love suites’ it markets to couples.

Kerzner said: “Getting the right customer in the right seat enhances the experience.”

He added: “The table space available will be almost three times the [current] tray table space, so that is very different.

“The Premium seats will be consistent with the product we have [in the rest of the fleet] now.”

Referring to the purchase of the aircraft, Kerzner said: “We dealt with the [Boeing servicing] issue in a way that protects our flying programme and selected these A330 aircraft to deliver the best customer experience we could. We’re committed to refurbishing the aircraft to our high standards.”

The aircraft will fly from Gatwick to the Caribbean and from Manchester to the US, including the new Los Angeles route next May.