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Is Virgin Atlantic planning to move to 1-2-1 seating in Upper Class?

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Virgin Atlantic will be receiving the first of its new A350 long-haul aircraft in 2019.

I have long argued that the current Upper Class seat is no longer fit for purpose.  Revolutionary at the time, it never caught on with other airlines apart from Air New Zealand.  The trend in recent years, which I agree with, is a move towards ‘cubby hole’ seats where extra personal space is created by slotting your feet into a gap under the seat in front.

One Mile At A Time reports that Virgin Atlantic has scheduled an A350 flight to Newark for 9th September 2019.  This is a test flight and is not bookable for cash.  The flight comes with an accompanying seat map:

New Virgin Atlantic seat map A350

I am not an expert on how these maps are presented, but One Mile At A Time uses examples to show that this implies one of two things:

a herringbone layout – similar to what Qatar Airways has installed on its 787 and A350 fleet, see below – in what is effectively a \ /\ / format, or

forward facing seats with alternating positions, so your seat faces the storage area of the seat in front, and vice versa, ie the SWISS seat shown below

SWISS business class seat

Hopefully we can get an early opportunity to see the real thing early next year.

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Comments (119)

  • Trevor says:

    BAEC membership card? Not sure I’ve ever had one…

    • Catalan says:

      Blue membership cards are no longer issued. Use the ‘card’ generated on your BAEC app on your mobile.

      • Trevor says:


      • sunguy says:

        Really?? I didnt know that FFS – thats really a great way to start a new relationship – being cheapskates!

        • Rob says:

          You really use your cards? If you have a digital version in your phone wallet then why carry them around? The hotels knows your status anyway.

        • David says:

          Some outstations seem to be more reassured by a physical card: fast-track security in Turin and the third-party lounge in Gibraltar are two places I was glad I had it with me.

          And for car hire, physical cards make it a lot easier. If I hand over a small pile of my Avis Preferred/Hertz Five Star card, my driving licence and my credit card, they always seem much more efficient.

  • Henry Young says:

    Just to throw in my bah humbug contribution, this Twickers nonsense in effect discriminates against those who find team based ball sports tiresome, pointless and rather too tribal. Also not all BAEC members live within easy access to the venue. What about some non-discriminatory, non-profiled benefits, perhaps at the airport or on board – something that BAEC members all do by definition, Perhaps better soft and hard products, both of which have become remarkably uncompetitive ? More marketing to compensate for a poor product ? Let me go and gulp down my daily dose of brown coloured sugar water, the gullible marketing soak that I am ! Just yet another reason not to fly with BA whilst the management abuse company money to indulge in their own interests and self aggrandizement, hobnobbing with fellow idiots in their box.

    • Hunter says:

      The benefits they’re offering at Twickenham are virtual cost free add ons to their wider (and probably very costly) sponsorship of the stadium, which would seem to me to be a sensible place to advertise considering the demographic.

    • Matt says:

      Well that escalated quickly.

    • Andrew says:

      We’re you never picked for team sports at school?

    • Jon says:

      Wow, love the positive vibe from that comment, Henry Young. Well done for being utterly miserable.

      Any perks or benefits that we get from loyalty schemes is always a good thing in my opinion.

  • Hunter says:

    Potentially good news as new ‘enhanced’ security checks at the ground mean quite long queues / slow to get in now.

  • Ben C says:

    I was at Twickenham on Saturday. Huge queues at the new BA turnstiles – that were never an issue before.

    As a result of this the “BAEC fast track queue” was a free for all – nobody even checking cards / and nobody presenting them. The “fast track” was also longer or at best the same length as all the other queues.

    Felt like the branding broadly backfired as I overheard the sentiment “massive queue – typical BA” in the crowd many times.

    • Gavin says:

      Sounds like not worth using when I got to Twickenham for the BarBars – if it’s still in situ

    • Tony says:

      I was at the match too. Arrived at about 2pm, walked up to the far end of the F gate block and straight in – no line at all. This fast track sounds about as good as the T5 experience!

      • BSI1978 says:

        You did well in that case – I was at the game also and did my usual of having a few shandies at The Sun in Richmond prior to getting on the courtesy bus to the ground just after 2PM. This usually gives us more than enough time to get to the ground and soak in the atmos etc.

        Some bright spark has decided to replace all of the previous double deckers with single decker electric buses. No issue with the electric aspect but the single decker aspect, along with there being not enough of them (and some roadworks which admittedly probably cannot be blamed on the RFU) meant there were very long queues for both the bus and to get into the ground which meant a lot of people missed KO!

        • Tony says:

          Sorry to hear you had a rubbish time getting in.

          I assume you made for the main entrance at the South West corner of the ground? We had tickets in the East stand so made for that side of the stadium – I didn’t see any BA fast track signage, but looks like the top tip is to head of the East side for entry. The “D” gates were deserted when we walked past on the inside.

  • Mart says:

    O/T Looking at booking a Marriott hotel Singapore just to confirm gold elites have no lounge access ?

  • Nigel says:

    Sounds like virgin will be taking on something similar to the Delta One Suite, which gets good reviews

  • Eric the Half a Bee says:

    O/T as bits: For all the knowledgeable folks on here, what’s the best way to convert (and possibly add to) my Amex PR points, now depleted to 36k, and Marriott points (36k also) to 60k SQ Krisflyer miles? I know about the bonus for converting 60k Marriott, but am unsure which option would give me the best return. Thanks in advance.

  • ankomonkey says:

    Is the BA box catered? Is it buy-in-box, selling Percy Pigs for £2.40 and some M&S sandwiches? Seats cramped together with minimal legroom, Cruz and Walsh get special seats but still need to climb over one another to go to the toilet, cloakroom full of high-viz jackets for use when the result is going the wrong way…

    • dgsupersonic says:

      Last year’s joke… :-S

      • Katy says:

        O/T but I hope some of you seasoned travellers may be able to help…I arrive in Shanghai at 1130 and need to find somewhere to shower and smarten up before an afternoon meeting but can’t find details of any landside lounges or day hotels. Anyone got any recommendations? My hotel is too far to make it there in time.

        • Tony says:

          Check out the Hilton website. They carry day room inventory. Some bargains in Shanghai (under 200RMB) but it depends where you need to be I guess.

        • Katy says:

          Thank you!

        • Will says:

          There’s an airport hotel at PVG on site which offers day rooms.
          It’s a bit ropey but fine for a quick shower, I even managed a few hours sleep there.

          Wasn’t that expensive, can’t rekember how much exactly, certainly under £50.