Virgin Atlantic announces first Boeing 787-9 routes

Virgin Atlantic has announced the first routes to feature the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Virgin is the first European airline to receive the larger 787-9 version of the aircraft.  The first one is due to arrive in September and has been rostered to fly to Boston from October 28.

Dreamliner #2 arrives in December and will fly to Washington.  No 3 will serve Newark from January whilst No 4 will fly to New York JFK from February.

Virgin 787

Virgin has 17 x 787’s on order to be delivered by 2017, with an option for a further four.  The aircraft are expected to make a massive change to the economics of the company due to the 21% fuel saving over the aircraft they will replace.

The layout on the initial batch of aircraft will be 198 economy seats, 35 premium economy seats and 31 Upper Class seats.

This fact sheet on the Virgin Atlantic website makes interesting reading.  It was written a couple of years ago so ignore the bit about the size of the order which has since changed.

At that point, the destinations were planned to be:

“It will also be instrumental in introducing new routes like Bangkok, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver. Due to the long range of the aircraft, both Perth and Hawaii are currently under consideration.”

As Virgin scrapped its Sydney service last month, it is highly unlikely that we will see 787s in Melbourne or Perth at any time soon.  Hawaii also seems optimistic given the long flight time and lack of premium passengers.

Since Delta took a 49% stake in Virgin last year, the airline appears to be running on a more efficient basis (goodbye Sydney, swapping of routes with Delta to allow Virgin to focus on ’24 hour turnaround’ services etc).  I expect those 787s will find themselves on dull but predictable ‘gateway city’ routes.  Think Seattle, not Bangkok, if looking at the list above.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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  1. Any details on the economy seating config? I assume they’ll go 3-3-3 like the majority, which will be disapponting, although at least it won’t be to Perth or Bangkok!

    • richie says:

      3x3x3 will be better than the 3x4x3 on Thompson

      • TrollBasher says:

        Anti-charter Troll alert !

        Thomson have no aircraft with a 3x4x3 configuration.

        If you want to compare Dreamliners, Thomson are 3x3x3 in Economy, with a pitch of 33″ which trounces Virgin’s positively knee-jarring 31″ which is common across their entire fleet.

        As for the pedant in me, it is THOMSON without a P.

        • Richie says:

          Sorry .. I stand corrected. Wouldn’t fly with Thompson long haul unless it was the absolute only option

  2. Quark999 says:

    Huh? I thought everyone other than the Japanese are using 3-3-3? 3-4-3 would be a bit too squdgy methinks…

  3. James says:

    Will they have them awful business class seats that face away from the windows?

  4. Anthony Bates says:

    Economy and Premium config will be the same as BA with 3-3-3 down the back and 2-3-2 in Premium. Upper will be 1-1-1 rather than the less-than-well-received config VS introduced on their A333s. IIRC, capacity is 31 in J, 48 in W and 191 in Y.

  5. The 787-9 seat map is on the Virgin Atlantic website:

  6. Paul Irving says:

    Would love to see Hawaii tagged onto the end of a Toronto etc flight to save having to go 6 hours on a USA domestic flight!

  7. jaime says:
  8. Londonbus says:

    Margins for LON-BKK in WhY are razor-thin. Five minutes on Kayak will show you why this is…

  9. Hi Raffles, sorry for going completely OT, but can’t seem to comment on the relevant page… I’m looking to sign up for a Virgin FC card, and remember reading somewhere on HFP that the current bonus miles offer is not available if you are referred… Is this correct?

    • They never updated the terms and conditions so the rules say that the person being referred gets 6000 miles and you both get 3000 extra on top. It is possible that this is overridden and you still get the 30000 plus the extra 3000. However, given the huge disparity I felt it was too risky to recommend people use referrals during this bonus.

      You may well be OK but you don’t have a leg to stand on if you get only get the usual tiny bonus as that is clearly what it says you will get!