Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Now bookable: Virgin Atlantic’s new A330neo and the new Upper Class seat

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

A few weeks ago, Virgin Atlantic unveiled its new Upper Class cabin for its A330neo fleet. Click here for our report from the launch party.

The A330neo will be Virgin’s newest aircraft type, joining the existing fleet of A350s, 787-9s and A330-300s. Eventually, it will completely replace the older A330-300s.

Three A330neo aircraft are due to arrive by the end of the year with the first to be in service by early October. At the neo launch event, Virgin said that Boston would be the first destination to see the new planes.

Virgin Atlantic A330neo routes

The aircraft will have 30 of Virgin’s latest Upper Class seat, which looks impressive.

It also features The Retreat Suite which is a brand new concept from Virgin Atlantic. This comprises two enlarged Upper Class suites in the centre of row 1. Virgin says it is its “most spacious suite yet” with a 6’7″ (2m) fully flat bed, expansive 27″ touch screen with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging.

You can read my in-depth look at Virgin Atlantic’s new A330neos here. We will have to wait until October to see how the new Upper Class seat, The Retreat Suite and cabin performs in flight!

The good news is that the new planes will not be limited to Boston. Virgin Atlantic has just loaded the A330neo into its schedules for the winter and will operate to five US destinations from Heathrow, according to AeroRoutes.

All the routes are now bookable. Remember that Virgin Atlantic has recently made huge improvements in reward availability, guaranteeing at least 12 seats per flight including two in Upper Class.

You cannot book The Retreat Suite, for cash or miles, in advance but it will be offered to passengers for a cash upgrade close to departure. If no-one pays for the upgrade it will go to a high ranking member of Virgin Flying Club.

Virgin Atlantic A330neo Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic A330neo destinations

London Heathrow – Atlanta

Although not regularly scheduled to Atlanta, the A330-900neo will be making an appearance on two days:

  • VS103 and VS104 on 21st March 2023
  • VS 103 and VS104 on 25th March 2023

Atlanta is home to Virgin Atlantic shareholder Delta, which also operates a fleet of A330neos, so the flights may be for familiarisation purposes.

London Heathrow – Boston

As previously announced, Boston is the first destination to welcome Virgin’s A330neos. The inaugural flight is currently scheduled for 12th October on VS11 and VS12. These flights will continue to see the A330neo until the end of March, at least.

There are a couple of exceptions:

  • Flights between 18th and 21st October 2022 will be operated by the older A330-300
  • Some Tuesday and Thursday flights between 1st November and 6th December will be operated by the older A300-300 and 787-9
  • From 13th December 2022, all Tuesday flights will be operated by the older A330-300.

You can see which aircraft operates your flight during the booking process on the Virgin Atlantic website. Only flights marked as ‘Airbus A330-900neo’ will feature the new Upper Class seat; older A330-300s feature the 2003-vintage Upper Class seat (review here).

Virgin Atlantic A330neo The Retreat Suite

London Heathrow – Miami

Virgin will soft-launch the A330neo to Miami on VS5 and VS6 from 13th November 2022, when it shares flying duties with the older A330-300.

From 9th December, this will transition to an all-neo service on VS5 and VS6.

Note that the second daily flight to Miami – VS117 and the VS118 return – will be operated by older aircraft.

London Heathrow – New York JFK

Like Atlanta, New York will see the A330neo on just a handful of days.

This includes:

  • VS9 and VS10 on 7th November 2022
  • VS3 and VS45 from Heathrow, and VS4 from JFK from 6th March 2023, with exceptions on the 9th, 13th, 20th, 21st and 25th.

London Heathrow – Tampa

Virgin Atlantic’s newest destination, Tampa, will also be one of the first to feature an all-neo service.

The route will launch on 3rd November 2022 and will be operated by an A330-900neo from launch.

Note that this route is only four times weekly from the 3rd, moving up to five times weekly on 21st November and going daily from 28th November.

Conclusion

If you want to fly Virgin’s brand new A330neo then these five routes are your best options, particularly as Boston and Tampa are scheduled to operate on the neo virtually exclusively.

Don’t forget that aircraft can be swapped out at any time, including at short notice, so you should not book based purely on the aircraft type. Virgin Atlantic is very unlikely to compensate or rebook you if you find out you aren’t on an A330neo after all.

If you want to book these flights you can do so on the Virgin Atlantic website.

Comments (18)

  • Greenpen says:

    Is the Retreat seat a subtle move to VS having a first class? Generally the number of F seats is going down but there is presumably a paid market for them.

    • Andrew J says:

      Not really because everything else about the service is the same.

    • Rhys says:

      Nope

    • Rob says:

      It’s a clever way of willing a bit of dead space (you can’t move the entry doors on the aircraft so you have a fixed number of metres of space for seats, and you need to juggle that space as best you can). In Virgin’s case the space fitted 5.2 seats, or whatever, so they just made the front row a little bigger and decided to charge a premium for it.

      • TPGreen says:

        Another perspective is that they’ve increased their maintenance costs by adding yet more variation and bespoke parts into a small fleet.

        It’s a classic Virgin Atlantic move. I’d be surprised to see many other airlines do this who have such a relatively small fleet.

        Good for customers in the short term but will increasingly give operational and cost headaches down the line.

        • Rhys says:

          It’s fundamentally the same seat – same mechanics etc. Just with a slightly differently shaped footstool area etc. The extra parts and maintenance will be marginal.

  • Geoggy says:

    Just checked my Feb 23 Miami booking and I picked the right flight outbound but the wrong one in.

    Seats already changed for the OB and will definitely try and nab the Retreat suite if offered.

    Having said that I still haven’t had an email confirmation of these flights so not holding out much hope.

  • sohan says:

    Really excellent level of detail in this article

    • Rob says:

      That’s why I waited until Rhys was back from Mauritius rather than writing it myself last week 🙂

  • James Vickers says:

    I don’t know if this has been discussed before but is there the prospect of the old style upper class seats on the 787 going any time soon? I want to try this new seat but I would be beyond disappointed if the plane got changed to the 787 and wasn’t able to do anything about it..

  • Clare says:

    Do we have any idea which seats would be the best ones to aim for if travelling with a child? Our flight has been changed and I can see we have had our seats moved to the centre aisle which I would not normally choose. Child is better behaved than me so not too worried about needing to supervise. Having the same cabin crew serve us is more of an issue because of selecting food etc.

  • paul says:

    Decisions, decisions lol

    LHR – MIA – Upper Class both ways on neo is 190,000 and £1984 for 2

    LHR – MIA – Premium daytime Out & Upper Class night Ret on neo is 140,000 and £1484

    Can’t decide if Upper on a day flight is worth 50,000 points and extra £500

    What do you guys think?

    • Clare says:

      Something being worth it is such a personal decision. I justify it on the basis on how much we enjoy the Clubhouse, sleeping before driving a rental car and getting off at the front for immigration (although that is debatable these days). I was definitely less tired at the start of my trip after a UC day trip to Miami this year.

      • paul says:

        Yes, we get to Miami and crash in cheap Hotel for a cruise the next day so no long drives etc – and we deffo need UC flying back to LHR (and like a shower in Virgin lounge) ready for that 3hr morning drive home.

        I just cannot decide on Premium or UC for that day flight lol – if you value the 50,000 points at £500 plus the extra £500 cash then its a lot extra.

        • PaulB says:

          For me, in your situation, I think I’d choose Upper in both directions but I agree with Clare that assessing value in this scenario is very much a personal decision. Premium outbound would obviously be absolutely fine, but for me the increased privacy, comfier seat, better food, and Clubhouse access afforded by UC would all be something I’d highly value. At the same time I’ve got quite a lot of miles, and have struggled a fair bit to find decent redemptions to spend them lately hence – for me – I wouldn’t value the extra 50k points too highly. Clearly your conclusions on all this may differ, and choosing Premium would definitely be a perfectly sensible decision to come to.

    • Degsy says:

      Fascinating to hear people’s views on this. For me the decision is usually the other way round ie UC out and PE back v UC both ways. That’s because I value more all the things that PaulB has highlighted. I like to sleep on the return and I know I can sleep similarly in either class (a piriton tablet a couple of hours before take off does wonders) so happy to make the ‘sacrifice’ coming home. (First world decisions, eh!)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.