FX Excursions

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Virgin Atlantic’s Bold Moves

by Ron Bernthal

Jan 23, 2023

© Virgin Atlantic Airways

Daily

Virgin Atlantic Airways revealed its hotly anticipated Airbus A330neo, an aircraft designed to provide a premium, personalized experience for every customer. The airline’s Upper Class cabin boasts a brand-new seat; showcases the evolution of its iconic social space; and unveils the Retreat Suite, the most spacious suite in Virgin Atlantic’s history.

Those traveling in Premium and Upper Class can take advantage of game-changing, in-seat wireless charging, while customers in every cabin can enjoy a greater number of USB connections, Bluetooth-enabled entertainment systems and the airline’s fast WiFi.

Virgin Atlantic’s first A330neo departed from Boston on its first customer flight in late 2022, with additional A330neo deliveries continuing between 2023 and 2026.

interior

© Virgin Atlantic Airways

The A330neo’s Retreat Suite is an innovation in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, consisting of two exclusive suites at the front of the cabin. With each suite boasting an ottoman that doubles as an extra seat, up to four people can comfortably dine, chat or play games in their own private social space. The fully forward-facing suite offers more space and storage alongside a fully closed privacy door with a “do not disturb” feature. The space also includes passenger-controlled mood lighting, a 17.3-inch touchscreen TV and even a mirror.

Recently, SkyTeam and Virgin Atlantic announced the airline will join as SkyTeam’s newest member in early 2023. Virgin Atlantic will become SkyTeam’s first and only U.K. member airline, enhancing the alliance’s trans-Atlantic network and services to and from London Heathrow and Manchester Airport.

Virgin Atlantic customers will benefit from a consistent, seamless customer experience, across more than 1,000 global destinations. They’ll also have more opportunities to earn and redeem points across member airlines, as well as access to a network of more than 750 airport lounges spanning six continents.

interior

© Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic Silver Card holders will be recognized as SkyTeam Elite Members, and the airline’s Gold Card members will become Elite Plus. This recognition provides a raft of benefits, including priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding.

Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the alliance builds upon the success of its trans-Atlantic joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, each already long-established SkyTeam members. The four partners are all at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3, alongside existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connections possible.

Virgin Atlantic also launched its updated gender identity policy, giving its crew, pilots and ground team the option to choose which of the iconic uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood best represents them, no matter their gender, gender identity or gender expression.

new uniforms

© Virgin Atlantic Airways

Reflecting the diversity of the workforce in a move that cements its position as the most inclusive airline in the skies, Virgin Atlantic offers its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms, meaning LGBTQIA+ colleagues can choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.

The announcement was part of an ongoing drive to champion the individuality of its people and customers and is complemented by the roll out of optional pronoun badges for all its people and those traveling with the airline. This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns. The badges are available to Virgin Atlantic teams and customers, with customers simply asking for their preferred badge at the check-in desk or in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge.

Launched as part of its Be Yourself agenda, the airline already unveiled a series of industry-leading inclusivity initiatives for its people to ensure they can truly be themselves at work and feel comfortable in their roles. This latest addition follows a decision in 2019 to offer cabin crew the choice whether to wear makeup, as well as the option to wear trousers and flat shoes. More recently, the airline lifted restrictions around allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its frontline people.

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