Virgin Australia to install new International Business Cabin?

Chatting with crew is always an interesting and informative way to pass the time on a flight. While often it’s discussing the more mundane things in life like the weather or political affairs, sometimes the odd gem pops up. On some recent Virgin flights, it seems a few of those gems have been along the lines of a possible new Business Class cabin that is in the works.

I flew VA to LA this week and the CSM told me (I did ask) that VA recently signed off on the new international J class seats. It will be the herringbone style seat (love it or hate it). She indicated it will be different to Air NZ’s product and that they’re all very excited about it VA’s decision.

The current Virgin 777 business cabin is much liked by our members. For some it’s the exclusive row 5 layout, giving you that private jet feel. For others, it’s been the in-flight bar, offering a place away from your seat to enjoy a drink and perhaps meet some new people. So what’s going to be improved?

Many customers like access to the aisle without having another passenger to crawl over. We have all had to manoeuvre carefully at times when nature calls or we need to access our carryon baggage for a pen or similar. If you’re larger than normal, this can result in some embarrassing movements. By moving to a herringbone layout, all passengers have increased privacy and access to the aisle. However it does come at the expense of window views, with many layouts facing inward. Some airlines use a reverse herringbone layout to solve that problem.

While getting access to the aisle is nice for all seats, it does come at a cost. Moving to a herringbone layout will involve a complete rework of the cabin, and possibly involve the loss of the private Row 5 cabin. It’s also expected to see another much loved facility removed.

Also worth noting that the business class bar will go.

It should be pointed out at this stage the discussion is based in information that is word of mouth. Virgin Australia have yet to announce any changes publically. Given the poor reaction so far to the A330 refurbishment Qantas are slowly rolling out, Virgin keeping quiet is probably a good thing.

If in fact Virgin do overhaul their International Business Class cabin, what would you like to see featured? Is aisle access one thing lacking, and should it come at the expense of the bar, have your say HERE.


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