Birthday Girl takes to the skies with innovative design
The first Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 aircraft will take to the skies on 26 October flying from London Heathrow to Boston signaling the arrival of the airline’s new £2bn fleet of 16 aircraft. Bringing a unique design and customer experience offering as well as commercial and environmental benefits, the new 787s will be delivered over the next two years.
Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Experience Director commented: “These new aircraft have given us a real opportunity to look at the design and customer proposition on-board. We really wanted to showcase the sense of spaciousness that the 787 offers and to reflect Virgin Atlantic’s unique style and flair. . We have introduced a clean finish along with a sophisticated colour palette and installed full RGB mood lighting that brings atmosphere and drama to the cabins. Customers will also find a few Virgin touches throughout including the design of the Flying Lady and our new Wander Wall, a new social space in Premium Economy”.
The first aircraft has been named “Birthday Girl” in celebration of the 30 years since the airline’s inaugural flight across the Atlantic from London Heathrow to New York Newark on the 22nd June 1984. Birthday Girl features some very special paintwork – for the first time ever, customers will see the face of the iconic Virgin Atlantic Flying Lady as she is now displayed face on and carrying a celebratory champagne coupe.
Upper Class customers will enjoy a redesigned cabin with a new subtle, sophisticated backdrop with drama and ambience delivered through extensive, dynamic lighting options. The iconic Upper Class Suite has been given a new finish with geisha white paint with a mica finish and the seat, in espresso leather reclines to give customers the feeling of sitting in their favourite armchair whilst also flipping over to provide a proper mattress on a fully flat bed. Each seat still has its own direct aisle access, so you can get in, out, and back in again without treading on anyone’s toes.
The focal point of the cabin is the redesigned bar which is a design collaboration between the Virgin Atlantic in-house team and VW&BS and manufactured by Altitude. Progressing on from the A330 bar, it frames the Upper Class cabin and greets all passengers on boarding. The bar boasts a white Corian worktop as well as RBG white LED lighting which can be controlled independently of the cabin allowing crew to tailor the look and the atmosphere depending on the destination, time of day and the desires of the customer. A central feature of the new lighting concept is the use of the textured back-lit panelling in the bar area which creates depth, movement and intrigue. The design of the new bar encourages interaction and sociability with four stools, a perch and a lean-to allowing eight people to relax comfortably in the area. Two stools now sit opposite each other to offer customers the option of dual dining at the bar. Taking inspiration from the trend of the “communal table” new experiences for customers at the bar have also been developed, including pre-dinner cocktail hour, wine tasting and social dining experiences. There is also an interactive TV screen at the bar with a view to showing popular events, ambient backdrops or simply flight progress, adding to the social aspect of the area.
The Premium Economy cabin has been refreshed and refitted with an even more comfortable seat with improved ergonomics, deeper recline and more knee room. The seat itself has a brand new trim and finish with luxurious espresso leather dress covers and a new Geisha white backrest developed to enhance the feeling of space and compliment the cabin mood lighting. The size of the seatback screen has been increased to 11.1 inches offering an enhanced experience for customers. A social space – the Wander Wall – can be found in the front galley where passengers can stretch their legs and mingle with other passengers and crew. Developed to reflect the design of the Upper Class bar, it offers a mini fridge, water fountain and a self-serve area where passengers can help themselves to snacks and refreshments.
The new Economy cabin features the best-in-class Recaro 3620 seat installed throughout. This innovative slim profile seat provides more knee room and new levels of comfort through its excellent ergonomics and innovative design. The majority of the seats are upholstered in red and espresso fabric with extra legroom seats upholstered in gold fabric. All seats are fitted with Recaro’s adjustable ‘hammock’ type headrest, upholstered with premium espresso leather.
Mood lighting has been installed throughout all cabins of the 787 to create a relaxing ambience onboard. The lighting changes colour throughout the flight to help passengers relax and unwind, fall asleep and even adjust time zones. On boarding the aircraft, a soft “rose champagne” colour has been chosen to de-stress passengers whilst encouraging them to relax into their journey. This then changes into “purple haze” which is designed to be cosy and comfortable before transforming into “amber warmth” which creates a candlelight environment for passengers whilst dining. To help passengers drift into a deep sleep, “silver moonlight” is introduced to reflect a beautiful moon-lit sky.
Virgin Atlantic connecting customers onboard 787 Dreamliner
With a suite of new technologies onboard, the first Virgin Atlantic 787 Dreamliner will take to the skies on 26th October from London Heathrow to Boston. As one of the most efficient aircraft in its class, a key to its performance is its new technology and innovative design.
Dave Bulman, Director of Technology commented: “The 787 is a revolutionary aircraft and new technology allows it to perform more efficiently than any other aircraft of its size. We recognise that technology is an extremely important part of a customer’s journey, whether they are flying for business or pleasure, and this aircraft has given us a fantastic opportunity to look at what we can offer our customers onboard. We have been working really hard with our partners at Boeing and Panasonic to bring connectivity across all our cabins as well as updating our revolutionary touch screen inflight entertainment.”
Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Panasonic and T-Mobile to offer all customers exConnect KU Band wifi connectivity onboard its new 787 aircraft. Whether on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, customers can connect their devices to the wireless onboard internet with just a few clicks and start surfing the web. The cost of the internet is £14.99 for the duration of your flight; however customers can browse destination and aircraft information, Retail Therapy and further Virgin Atlantic services complimentary. With power now available to every seat throughout the 787, customers don’t need to worry about losing battery and can work or play throughout their journey.
Let us entertain you…
The 787 Dreamliner sees Virgin Atlantic role out Vera Touch 2 in-flight entertainment system throughout all cabins, boasting over 400 hours of carefully curated, on demand award-winning entertainment.
The cutting-edge next generation eX3 system from Panasonic features a widescreen smart monitor at all seats with a capacitive touchscreen interface allowing passengers to access content in just a few swipes and clicks. The IFE also boasts a new Skymap from Betria Interactive delivering a captivating 3D experience, infused with interesting and detailed point-of-interest content that can engage the passenger in a rich and informative interactive experience. All seats boast an integrated USB port allowing passengers to power their own devices. New to the Upper Class cabin is a 24” touchscreen monitor over the bar showing looped animations that complement the cabin environment, as well as the option to view the innovative map on a larger screen.
But first let me take a #SkyhighSelfie….
Virgin Atlantic is also introducing the ultimate #SkyhighSelfie, which offers customers the opportunity to update Facebook free of charge from the air. Developed in conjunction with Wavealot, this bespoke application will allow customers to check in on Facebook and share their location with their friends and followers mid-flight. The app will allow one check in per person and customers can purchase the wifi to continue the conversation. Virgin Atlantic is also developing certain #SkyhighSelfie spots in the cabin to offer customers the chance to take the perfect selfie onboard and share their experience. The app will also act as a mile high discussion forum where customers on the flight can chat and spark debate in the air.
All you need to know about Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787
Virgin Atlantic has ordered 16 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft
The first 787-9 was delivered in October 2014 and Virgin Atlantic is expecting to take delivery of 15 more by 2018
Virgin Atlantic intends to take a further five 787-9 options
The order is worth $7bn (list price) at list prices
Virgin Atlantic currently has 38 aircraft in its fleet with 1 Boeing 787-9, 13 Airbus A340-600s, 10 Airbus A330-300s, 12 Boeing 747-400s and 2 Airbus A340-300s
The aircraft’s first route will be from Heathrow to Boston where the aircraft will fly six times a week.
After the Boston launch, Virgin Atlantic will deploy its 787-9s on other key London to US East Coast market with services to Washington, Newark and JFK, all scheduled to start in the next five months.
As Virgin Atlantic’s 787 fleet grows, the aircraft will benefit passengers on longer-haul routes
Capacity and configuration.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners have a capacity of 264 seats and will initially be configured with 31 Upper Class seats, 35 Premium Economy seats and 198 Economy seats
Seats and seat pitch.
The seats in Upper Class are 31 Zodiac UCS3
The seats in Premium Economy are 35 Zodiac Reverb and have a 38″ pitch
The seats in Economy are 198 Recaro 3620 and have a 31″ pitch
Environmental performance and efficiency
The 787-9 has a 60% smaller noise footprint than other aircraft of a similar size
It is a much more fuel efficient aircraft with approximately 20% less fuel burn than similar sized aircraft, such as an Airbus A340-400
By using new technologies, such as lightweight carbon-fibre for the fuselage and wings, Boeing has been able to drastically reduce the aircraft’s weight
It uses electronic rather than hydraulic brakes, which eliminate spillage and fluid disposal
It also uses materials that are recyclable at the end of the aircraft’s life
Typical operating characteristics
The Boeing 787-9 has a range up to 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles
Overall length – 206 feet
Height – 56 feet
Cargo capacity of 6,086 cubic feet
Maximum take off weight of 251,743 kg
Additional passenger benefits of the 787-9
Spacious design with a valuted ceiling
Cleaner air with an advanced filtration system
Calmer cabin with quieter engines and air conditioning
More cabin humidity
Improved storage with larger overhead bins
All aircraft will have exConnect, KU Band Wifi from Panasonic
Customers with laptops, tablets or mobile phones, can connect their devices to the wireless onboard internet
The cost of the internet is £14.99 for 24 hours
Customers can also browse destination and aircraft information, Retail Therapy and further Virgin Atlantic services complimentary.
Power is available to every seat throughout the 787, customers will be able to work or play throughout their journey.
Each 787-9 will have Vera Touch 2 – Virgin Atlantic’s latest inflight entertainment system developed with Panasonic
The seatback screen sizes will be 11 inches in Upper Class and Premium Economy and 9 inches in Economy.
There will be over 400 hours of entertainment with approximately 60 movies, 70 hours of TV and over 285 albums
Passengers will now be able to use the ‘shuffle’ option when listening to music
Passengers can connect their own devices to the seat back system