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First Look: Virgin Atlantic’s New Exclusive Retreat Suite & A330neo Reveal

Daniel Ross's image
Daniel Ross
Daniel Ross's image

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

680 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...

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There’s a NEO kid in town.

Virgin Atlantic unveiled its yet-to-be-delivered Airbus A330-900neo aircraft at an exclusive event in London on July 12, 2022, and we were there to take a look.

The aircraft’s debut is planned for early October 2022, with its inaugural flight to Boston (BOS) — the first destination that the aircraft will fly to.

Buckle in, you’re going to enjoy this.

Out With the Old, in With the NEO

The 16 A330neos that Virgin has on order will be 11% more fuel efficient than the airline’s aging fleet of Airbus A330-300 workhorses that the Neos will replace.

Virgin will take delivery of 3 of the swanky new aircraft in September 2022, with the rest scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2026.

As you’d expect with the launch of a brand-new aircraft, Virgin has refreshed the seats in each of its cabins with the additional surprise of an exclusive new product for 2 lucky flyers — The Retreat Suite.

The jets’ maximum capacity will be 262 and will comprise of 1 Retreat Suite, 30 lie-flat, all new Upper Class suites (business class), 46 Premium seats, 28 more legroom Economy Delight seats, and 156 regular economy seats.

The 2 seats of The Retreat Suite must be booked individually and are expected to be around £250 (~$298) more per seat than a regular Upper Class seat.

No matter the cabin, all passengers will benefit from Virgin’s fastest-ever Wi-Fi, USB and USB-C charging, and the ability to connect to the IFE using their own headphones via Bluetooth.

Let’s take a look.

The Retreat Suite

The Retreat Suite is the closest Virgin has ever been to having a first class product.

It consists of just the middle 2 seats of the coveted row 1, which can be turned into an exclusive mini cabin-like space by lowering the middle partition and closing the double sliding doors.

Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite
All smiles in the Retreat Suite. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Passengers flying in the exclusive Retreat Suite can invite 2 additional travel companions to come and dine or hang out as a squad of 4 by making use of the ottoman at each of the seats. In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to Qatar Airways’ Qsuite.

Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite
2 seats are better than 1. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

During the flight, passengers will get to enjoy Virgin’s Vera entertainment on a 27-inch touchscreen using their own headphones thanks to new Bluetooth connectivity.

The huge tray table will need to be adjusted by the crew.

Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite crew-operated table
Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite crew-operated table. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Each passenger of the Retreat Suite has enough storage space to sneak a friend in …

Storage at the Retreat Suite
Storage space. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

… and an abundance of charging points and a mirror can be found at shoulder height.

Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite seat
The Retreat Suite seat. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Last but not least, one of the coolest new features of this aircraft is for sure the wireless charging capability that each passenger will have in the Retreat Suite.

Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite seat wireless charging and power sockets
Wireless charging and power sockets. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Finally, at a lengthy 6 feet 7 inches, the lie-flat bed should provide more than enough space for even the tallest of flyers.

Hot Tip: Learn more about how to earn and redeem Virgin Points in our detailed guides!

Upper Class Suite

There’ll be a total of 30 regular Upper Class suites in Virgin’s business class cabin.

These feature fully-closing doors and a “do not disturb” option for flyers who like to spend their time in the sky in as much privacy as possible.

Other innovations include passenger-controlled mood lighting as well as a mirror to make sure you’re selfie ready.

Daniel Ross getting selfie ready at Virgin Atlantic's Retreat Suite
Mirror mirror on the … Retreat Suite. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Curiously, the IFE screens of the A330neo’s Upper Class suites are 17.3 inches — that’s 1.2 inches smaller than their A350 counterparts. In the grand scheme of things, losing an inch will have a negligible impact on the overall user experience.

Inside the refreshed Upper Class suite on Virgin's A330neo
The screen is still plenty big enough. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The Loft

Having debuted on the A350 back in 2019, The Loft of the A330neo has been reimagined.

There’s space for a total of 8 passengers who’ll be able to get comfy on higher seats with additional footrests.

The Loft onboard Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A330neo
The reimagined Loft. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Like the Upper Class suites and Retreat Suites, passengers can use the wireless charging of the armrests to keep their batteries topped up at all times.

The Loft seating onboard Virgin's A330neo
Relax, socialize, drink, and charge. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The 2 gigantic 27-inch touchscreens mounted side-by-side give the space the feeling of an intimate cinema.

Inside The Loft of Virgin's Airbus A330neo
In The Loft for entertainment. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Passengers will be able to help themselves to drinks from the fridge, ice cream from the freezer, as well as water from the self-replenishing dispenser, and, of course, snacks.

The self-service fridge of Virgin Atlantic's The Loft
Cold drinks to the left, ice cream to the right, and self-replenishing water can dispenser underneath. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

It’s great to see Virgin replacing plastic bottles with canned water in the name of sustainability.

We can’t wait to try out The Loft in real life!

Daniel Ross enjoying a mock-up of The Loft of a Virgin A330neo
All smiles in The Loft. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Hot Tip: Virgin’s all-new A350s offer a similar social space called The Booth. Learn more about this private space in our detailed article!

Premium

A major improvement to the Premium seats is the introduction of calf rests.

It might not sound like much, but the extra leg support goes a long way to provide an increased level of sleep-inducing comfort.

All-new calf rests in Premium on Virgin's Airbus A330neo
Calf rests make all the difference. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Like in Upper, Premium passengers will also now be able to juice up their phones using wireless charging that’s built into the armrests.

Premium seats with wireless charging on Virgin's Airbus A330neo
Wireless charging is available to all passengers in Premium. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The seats feature the same 38 inches of pitch that is standard across the airline’s fleet.

As for the IFE, Premium passengers will get to enjoy their entertainment on 13.3-inch screens.

Premium TV screen on a Virgin Airbus A330neo
TV screen in Premium. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Economy

It wouldn’t be a complete cabin overhaul without some improvements in economy.

The most notable is by far the 13.3-inch IFE screen — the biggest economy screen Virgin has ever had.

13.3 inch economy screens on Virgin's Airbus A330neo
That’s right, these are economy class screens. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Updating the design of the economy seats to differentiate between Economy Delight and Economy Classic seats was of high priority to the design team.

Recline of an Economy Delight on a Virgin Airbus A330neo
Economy Delight seats. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

As you can see by this side-by-side comparison, the carefully curated fabrics and detailing of the Economy Delight seat help to give it a more luxury edge over its Economy Classic neighbor.

Side-by-side comparison of Virgin's Economy Delight and Economy Classic seats on an Airbus A330neo
Spot the difference. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Final Thoughts

Even just from visiting a mock-up, it’s safe to say Virgin Atlantic has knocked it out of the park with its A330neo.

Passengers in all cabins will benefit from upgrades to the Virgin experience they’re used to, whether that’s indulging in the airline’s most luxurious seat — The Retreat Suite — or simply being able to watch the inflight entertainment using their own personal headphones.

With the inaugural flight planned for October 2022, it shouldn’t be long before we’ll have a full review of the aircraft for you.

So, who’s coming with us to Boston?

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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