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A Look Inside Our Brand New Airbus A330

by Moderator April 2011 - last edited February 2013

After an incredible amount of preparation, testing and hard work behind the scenes, our brand new A330 Beauty Queen made her inaugural flight from Manchester to Orlando on Saturday 2nd April.

 

Our Competition Winner

You may remember that we recently ran a competition for a lucky planespotter to win an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the new A330 as she underwent her final tests and checks in the hangar at London's Gatwick Airport.

 

Competition Winner Robert Thomson and the new Virgin Atlantic A330

Competition Winner Robert Thomson and the new Virgin Atlantic A330

 

Last week, we were delighted to welcome our winner Robert Thomson down from Northampton for his VIP access-all-areas onboard tour. Robert and his family are frequent flyers who've travelled to Orlando with us on a number of occasions, so he was very keen to experience how his next flight might be.

After the tour, Robert had this to say about Beauty Queen: "What a plane! The level of comfort and spec are fantastic and as for the inflight entertainment, who needs an iPad...".

Today we're we're thrilled to share some photos of the day, inside and out...

 

Beauty Queen

Our maiden aircraft Beauty Queenis our first long range twin engined aircraft and signals the arrival of our new $2.2 bn fleet of 10 planes, which will be delivered over the next two years.

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 'Beauty Queen'

Virgin Atlantic's A330 'Beauty Queen'

 

Virgin Atlantic's A330 'Beauty Queen'

Virgin Atlantic's A330 'Beauty Queen'

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 Beauty Queen wing

Virgin Atlantic A330 Beauty Queen wing

 

Premium Economy cabin

There are 59 Premium Economy seats onboard, all featuring our brand new and revolutionary touch screen inflight entertainment system. Premium Economy customers also benefit from a unique touch screen remote control handset, and the ability to plug in a variety of their own mobile devices.

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy cabin

Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy cabin

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy Inflight Entertainment

Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy Inflight Entertainment

 

Economy cabin

In both Premium Economy and in our 255-seat Economy cabin, passengers are able to plug in a USB to view their own content on screen.

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 Economy cabin

Virgin Atlantic A330 Economy cabin

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 Economy cabin Inflight Entertainment

Virgin Atlantic A330 Economy cabin Inflight Entertainment

 

Flightdeck

The Airbus A330 is the most fuel efficient aircraft in its class today and this investment underlines our commitment to flying a lower carbon fleet. Our inaugural flight was piloted by Captain Chris Hall who said "This is an exciting day for me personally and for all our pilots. Our first twin engined aircraft is a delight to fly."

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 cockpit

Virgin Atlantic A330 flightdeck

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 cockpit

Virgin Atlantic A330 flightdeck

 

Virgin Atlantic A330 cockpit: G-VSXY

Virgin Atlantic A330 flightdeck: G-VSXY

 

Virgin Atlantic's A330 'Beauty Queen' flightdeck

Virgin Atlantic's A330 'Beauty Queen' flightdeck

 

For more information on our A330, lookout for our 'Countdown to Takeoff' post, coming later this week.

For the best fares on flights to any of our fantastic destinations, log on to www.virgin-atlantic.com.


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Comments
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lentilsoup April 2011
Still waiting on reply about the seating on row 61 are the monitors hard to watch as they are reduced to three seats?
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April 2011
Hi there, I'm assured that the quality of your viewing experience is not affected in this row.
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Leon April 2011
We are flying LGW-MCO on the 11th June and have been told the flight will be in an A330.
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Ricky-40 April 2011
Thats excellent news...thanks
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GaryV May 2011
Hi Maxine, am flying LGW-MCO VS27 May25 / VS16 June10 in PE. Seating online currently shows 747 layout, is there a chamce it will change to the new Airbus?
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May 2011
Hi Gary, My name is Greg I’m a Social Relations Executive at Virgin Atlantic. The A330 services do vary initially from Gatwick so they aren't operating on all Orlando flights to begin with. Your flights are currently scheduled to be operated by one of our Boeing 747-400's. There is always the possibility of aircraft changes but at this stage it wouldn't be a scheduled change so unlikely to be to one of the A330's I'm afraid. I hope you have a great trip nonetheless. Greg :)
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Leon May 2011
Hi Greg, is vs15 on the 11th June an a330 or 747? The website seems to show 747 now?

Thanks

Leon

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May 2011
Hi Leon

Our Boeing 747's are scheduled to continue operating VS15/VS16 going forward. However, VS27/VS28 will be operated by one of the new A330's occasionally and will vary between A330 & B747 depending on the day.

Greg :)

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Tipsfrom3500 May 2011
Much of this is implemented and managed in-house, although vtravelled have bought in a listening tool to replace the free service they were previously using and they are also working with Lithium to assist with the complex tech integration of the loyalty programme. This is to align the frequent flyer programme with vtravelled and they see this as a major facet of its future development. This will also sit alongside a new gamification layer where players can win loyalty points. They are also adding in-flight access to vtravelled on the new A330 twin engine planes from Manchester to Orlando allowing users to comment on their holidays and give tips to other users on the best places to visit and where to eat, etc whilst it’s still fresh in their minds. Claire is also trying to harness the power of Planespotter porn after they ran a successful competition to win a tour of a new aircraft before it went into service and when they added the photos onto vtravelled they had 19,000 visitors on the first day – http://blog.vtravelled.com/a-look-inside-virgin-atlantics-brand-new-airbus-a330/
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duncan May 2011
hi what type of content can be viewed from usb stick movies? as i have digital copys from films i have bought if so do u know which file format they need to be
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MartinS May 2011
I have travelled frequently on both BA WTP and VA Premium Economy over the last two years - in my opinion, VA beats BA in terms of comfort, space, service level, food and cabin condition by quite a margin. With the new entertainment system Virgin have taken another step forwards whilst retaining the elements of its cabin design that work well.
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MartinS May 2011
Four engines for long haul hasn't been a requirement for quite some time - engines are so relaible these days that two is both plenty but also more economical - from a capital cost, maintenance and fuel efficiency point of view.
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Matt May 2011
PE now looks cramped to me compared to the top floor of the 747. Also, does not appear to be any side storage boxes.

Sorry, I'm not convinced by this. PE suddenly not so attractive to me anymore.

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Shaun June 2011
We fly VS35 on Wednesday, I hope that 747 is still on this route? We like PE and the bubble.
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Bil June 2011
The cabins look great. Sadly this is long overdue as at the moment it appears like Virgin operate two different airlines out of Gatwick and Heathrow. I appreciate it is going to be some time before you get them all into service, but in the meantime could you give your planes at Gatwick a good clean?
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KevinChapman July 2011
Hi,

I just wondered who to contact regarding an outstanding complaint about the service in UC on the Gatwick-Orlando flight on Friday 12th November last year. Virgin Holidays responded quickly, and passed the letter on. VA first tried to deny that they got the message (despite sending us an acknowledgement). Now, despite a number of follow up letters to VA, and letters to the Customer Services Director there has been no response. The new tactic from VA is to ignore us it seems. We have booked our hotel for another trip but think we should go British Airways as VA having given up on both Service and their customers.

Not very good for a company that prides itself on its service !!

KC

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HarryGreen July 2011
We have flown VA for several years (mostly to the States) but the thought of some child tapping away on the back of my seat is a definite no-no!

Sadly our last two flights with VA PE have proved to be rather disappointing; poor food, limited selection of drinks, poorly maintained furnishing etc..

As for their loyalty points system - well that's another (increasingly depressive)story.

Problem is, we still have some twenty thousand points left ... now, should we? or shouldn't we? I mean, we really like Vegas; especially when we can fly direct from Manchester.

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July 2011
Hi there Kevin, I'm sorry you've not received a response from us to date and I can assure you we are not ignoring you. I've located your file and I can see that my colleagues in our executive office sent a reply to you via post last week on the 27th June. I presume you've not received this so I've asked them to get another copy in the post for you. I see from the above that we appear to have let you down and you may no longer be inclined to support us. It would be a shame to judge us on this one experience. I hope, in time, you will have a change of heart and that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you on board again in the not to distant future. Greg
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PF July 2011
Whilst I love the Virgin brand, and have enjoyed every cabin (I use the term loosely by reference to economy, but sometimes needs must), and have and will doubtless continue to enjoy their services, but I recently flew Emirates to Dubai, and was extremely impressed. Virgin have some real competition.
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pscanners July 2011
Hi all, interesting reading all your comments. We are flying on 3rd August 2011 from Mancehester on the Airbus. Have paid extra for more leg room. Anyone else done this?? I'm not confident that there will be.

We dont get allocated the seats till we check in, can imagine it getting cocked up

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DisarmDoors July 2011
I can't imagine anything possibly going wrong with that positive holiday attitude.

You might be better off just staying at home.

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argill July 2011
I fly at least 5 Business flights in PE or Upper with Virgin each year out of Heathrow. Last week I took the Gatwick to Orlando flight and have to agree it's like a different airline. Love the brand, the image and as a gold card member the perks for business travel but as a holiday maker Virgin needs to update the Gatwick fleet.

Noticed some service is declining recently onboard and I have had a couple experiences recently which I never experienced in 8 years of flying long haul exclusively with Virgin.

Next week I am off to Houston with BA. Previously I would have used Virgin and changed in NY to keep points topped up but felt it's worth a change. Will continue with Virgin but they do need to take a look at customer service.

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SimonA August 2011
Epic reply fail Martin! Virgin's own slogan was 4 engine's 4 long haul in a poke at BA operating the 777 on long haul routes so taking twin engine aircraft into the fleet is mildly embarrassing.

Honestly, the A330 is a bit of a bust for Virgin. They got the weight calcs wrong and thus there's no UC, the previous slogan makes the airline look arrogant, and having spoken to crew, the equipment is loathed by staff and pax.

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Jas September 2011
I thought Virgin had a policy 4 engines for long haul.
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September 2011
Hi, we travel out MCH - MCO next month in PE and very concerned with regards to the seemingly cramped cabin. We always travel in PE and when in service travelled on the upper deck which was excellent, with plenty of room to walk about. I have already booked for next year and will wait until this trip to see if the additional £300.00 each way is really worth it.

Travelled with VA many times to Orlando and they were the market leaders, sadly it seems everyone else is catching up and overtaking you, making it very easy as a traveller to look elsewhere.

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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.