Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - Upper Class Flat Beds
Jun 30, 03, 5:44 am
I noticed that Virgin made the headlines in last week's Marketing Magazine (UK) about their imminent launch of their new flat beds to take on BA.
It said the first planes were being fitted within weeks and that there would be a huge through the line campaign later in the year.
It claimed the new beds were wider and longer than the BA Club World flat beds and that they were 2.15m long.
Anyone know how close this is or whether the article was mainly journalistic speculation?
Jun 30, 03, 5:59 am
Would also be interested to know whether this has any application to the Caribbean leisure routes.
Jun 30, 03, 12:05 pm
From the Start Design (Virgin's design partner) website;
Start champions Virgin Atlantic in flat-bed battle
The lead article in Marketing Week reports that Virgin Atlantic intends to launch a through-the-line marketing campaign to support the roll-out of its redesigned Upper Class service.
Start Design is quoted as providing below-the-line activity to help Virgin Atlantic challenge British Airway's lead in the premium air travel market. The redesigned Upper Class seats are reported to have longer and wider beds than those in BA's Club World.
The article goes on to report that the design was patented by Virgin Atlantic in February, comprising a back-rest that is shaped and upholstered like a seat when it is in the upright position, but pivots to create a flat mattress in the sleeping position.
According to the blueprint, some of the beds will be at least 2.16m, longer than BA's flat-beds and suitable for customers over six feet tall.
In an editorial, Marketing Week comments: "Virgin Atlantic, now back in the black, is ready to take the battle to BA again."
In the travel trade newspaper this week it mentions October as the launch of the new beds.Virgin wouldn't confirm why the changes, but sources(!) said the bed that was very low to the floor (?) had not proved popular.
This sounds very interesting... lets hope they dont repeat the three biggest cockups of the J2000 rollout:
1. Making a huge marketing noise when only one (or maybe it was two) aircraft had the seats for the first 6 months
2. Taking FOREVER to upgrade the other handful of aircraft...
3. Not assigning upgraded aircraft to a particular route (i.e. JFK) making it pot luck
Jul 4, 03, 12:25 am
Not suprising that the current seats are going to be booted out. Awful idea as I pointed out before they were even fitted.
Will be interesting to see what they actually come out with as today Virgin claim they have flat beds. Just depends on your definition of flat (BA = Horizontal, Virgin = half vertical)
Mr Branson stipulated that he did not want a reduction in the number of seats when the current seats came out, hence the design. One assumes this no longer holds and as Upper Class in general is declining, it is probably a good move.
Looking at the AA First Class layout in a 777, Virgin may go for something like that as they cram a lot more seats in that are truely flat than other 777 Operators (and I know Virigin have no 777's).
Does anyone think these seats will be on SFO-LHR by September?
Jul 4, 03, 10:19 am
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by dhuey:
Does anyone think these seats will be on SFO-LHR by September?</font>
Of what year? Knowing VS, I'd give it until September 2005 before they are done.
I am sure VS will pull something out of the bag that will beat BA on this. The same as CX and SQ have got a better F seat than BA.
BA tend to be ahead of the games which is good for them but it does allow others to overtake them with a better product.