If you've ever flown Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, then you'll spot the similarities and major changes right away. If you haven't...well then, that just has to be fixed. Here are the major updates brought to the new Upper Class:
Not new: The herringbone layout that sees an arrangement of 1-2-1, all seats having aisle access.
New: An opaque window built into the divider between seats, so you don't feel too closed off. Wider seats (1.5" wider) with more recline (50% more, though they still go lie-flat too), and the longest business class bed of any airline, at a crazy 7' 2"). We guess we know what will be the airline of choice for basketball players hopping the pond.
Not new: Individual entertainment systems with movies, tv shows and games.
New: Much larger TV screens (12.1 inches), controlled both by touch and with touchscreen remote controls. You'll also be able to connect your phone, USB stick or tablet to "watch, read or listen to your own content, plus charge your device."
Not new: Access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at select airports, and the in-flight Upper Class bar.
New: A totally new JFK Clubhouse right near the gates, and a redesigned onboard bar (more on this to come).
Not new: The abundance of Virgin's signature colors: purple and red.
New: That purple and red used in a new mood lighting system, and even in Swarovski crystal detailing around the onboard bar.
Not new: Full, course-by-course meals using real china, silverware and glassware.
New: Totally redesigned modern place settings and champagne glasses, plus the introduction of a proper afternoon tea set if you're on an afternoon flight.
To virtually tour the new cabin, Virgin Atlantic even has a dedicated microsite called Planeview.
Believe it or not, the new Upper Class suites are already flying the Virgin skies on flights VS004 and VS003 between New York and London (excluding Fridays). Those would be A330s, though the future definitely holds Virgin Atlantic 787s with these new seats. *Bites lip with excitement*
We priced out a roundtrip VS flight in Upper Class for JFK-LHR in May, on the VS003 and VS004 routes, and seats are starting from $5,773. We didn't say it was cheap; it is named "Upper Class," after all.
The old Upper Class seat, for comparison's sake
[Photos: Virgin Atlantic and Jaunted]