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Virgin Atlantic's 787-9 Dreamliner: Where It's Going and What's Inside

March 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM | by | ()

After all the hype (and drama) with the introduction of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, this summer should see the arrival of another 787 sibling to the family, the 787-9. Like the long-wheelbase version to the existing 787-8, Air New Zealand will be the first to fly it, but Virgin Atlantic is hoping to get their hands on the first few of their order list too.

While the airline hasn’t formally announced launch routes yet, it did brainstorm possible destinations way back when the aircraft order was placed, before being hit with its years of production delays.

So what will it be? In addition to replacing older aircraft for routes in its existing network (we wouldn’t be surprised if it goes head to head with some of the choices British Airways has made), Virgin mentioned routes of London to cities like Bangkok, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Even more exciting, though we’re not sure whether it will be entirely feasible, are the mumblings about London to Perth and London to Hawaii. No other airline offers this, and while economics will always determine what happens, it’d be pretty major if Virgin can get the numbers to add up.

What will you find inside the Virgin Dreamliner? The 787-9 will have three cabin classes with a total of 250 to 290 seats, depending on the configuration. Up front, there’s Virgin’s Upper Class business product (above), with the latest herringbone seating just re-introduced on the Airbus A330-300, with presumably the famous in-flight bar. Seating is now 1-2-1 across on the A330, which is denser than 1-1-1 previously on the A340, so we’re curious to see whether the narrower body of the 787 will get 1-2-1 as well.

Premium Economy, where Virgin has had a strong offer since the introduction of its purple leather seating, will almost certainly be 2-3-2. We’d love to see Economy in eight across seating (2-4-2), but we’d be surprised if that were the case: expect 3-3-3, or nine across total.

We'll keep you posted when we find out more.

[Rendering & Photo: Virgin Atlantic]

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