Virgin Atlantic, the latest airline to debut the revolutionary Airbus A350-1000, has put the plane into service on its route between London Heathrow and New York JFK. The new jetliner, which features beautiful interiors, boasts an upscale onboard bar called The Loft, that’s been named the ‘largest social space in the sky.’
“We are constantly thinking about how we can give our customers a better way to travel,” said Virgin Atlantic’s vice president of customer journey, Daniel Kerzner. “The A350, a brand-new, state-of-the-art aircraft, was our opportunity to push the envelope with customized interiors, taking inspiration from the hospitality, retail and automotive industries to create a great experience.”
The new plane, known as Red Velvet, includes enhanced cabin pressurization and humidity, cutting-edge LED lighting systems to aid passengers’ circadian rhythms, larger windows that provide more natural light and more fuel-efficient engines to reduce its carbon footprint.
The Loft was the result of a collaboration between Virgin and London-based studio Factorydesign. It was conceived as an in-flight extension of the airline’s posh airport Clubhouses. “This is the space that welcomes every passenger on board, no matter where they are sitting,” said Kerzner, “and we wanted to create a wow moment, right down to the gold-plated chandelier.”
The Loft features booth-style seating for five passengers, a 32-inch HD screen that passengers can connect to their Bluetooth headphones, designer cocktails and a new menu created for Virgin Atlantic by celebrity chef Donal Skehan, as well as, Mile High afternoon tea service by Eric Lanlard.
Elsewhere on the plane, passengers will find beds with new, fitted mattress pads, downy duvets, and full-size pillows. Passengers can dress in preordered pajama sets with a choice of long- or short-sleeve shirts and trousers or shorts. Kerzner says Virgin wants to afford passengers the chance to rest as much as possible on transatlantic flights from New York to London.
The Airbus A350-1000 also features 18.5-inch HD entertainment screens that passengers can control via their personal electronic devices using Bluetooth. The system also includes a screen to order snacks and meals on-demand and to control the seat’s customizable LED lighting. In terms of connectivity, the A350 offers the latest high-speed Wi-Fi courtesy of Inmarsat and T-Mobile.
The A350-1000 flies from London to New York and back daily, although by the end of the year, Virgin Atlantic will be flying four of its daily frequencies in each direction using A350s and will introduce service to Los Angeles sometime next spring.