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Old July 25th, 2011, 07:05 AM   #141
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Quote:
Virgin Australia's Melbourne and Brisbane airport lounges to get 'priority access' security lane

By David Flynn Filed under: brisbane airport, Melbourne airport, airport lounges, Virgin Australia, The Lounge



(Australian Business Traveller 2011)

Virgin Australia's upgraded lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane airports will include dedicated security channels for the benefit of business travellers and frequent flyers.
In a presentation to the Macquarie Investor Conference today, Virgin Australia listed "Brisbane and Melbourne priority access lane" as enhancements to its ground operations.

The move follows the launch of an innovate and highly-praised 'fast track' system at Sydney Airport where premium passengers can go from kerbside valet arrival to a check-in desk, dedicated security channel and then walk straight into the lounge – a process we timed in under two minutes from kerb to couch.

Australia Business Traveller first revealed plans for Melbourne's dedicated in-lounge security channel last month, which will allow Virgin Australia passengers to move straight from the lounge to the boarding gate.

(Unlike most airport lounges, the Melbourne facility is located before the security checkpoint, so guests must currently exit the lounge and join the queue at the security gate before moving to the boarding gates inside Terminal 3.)

Both the Brisbane and Melbourne lounges are expected to open within the next two weeks following an extensive rebuild and will feature what Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti calls "an architecturally inspired design" created by Tim Greer, from Sydney-based Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects.
Food and drink services at the new Virgin Australia lounges are also being upgraded, with Aussie chef Luke Mangan taking on responsibility for ground catering as well as the new in-flight menu.

Australian Business Traveller has been told that Mangan’s lounge menu will change every month, and will also be rotated through each lounge so that travellers flying between Sydney and Melbourne for example won’t see the same meals at both ends of the journey.

New items will include ‘gourmet popcorn’ instead of the salt & vinegar chips, roast beef to replace the current ham and salami cuts, as well as a cheese selection and a new menu of spirits and possibly a ‘cocktail hour’ (which will hopefully last for a few hours).
(Australian Business Traveller 2011)
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Old July 29th, 2011, 06:40 PM   #142
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Old August 4th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #143
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What are the chances of Virgin America doing Long-Haul International flights?
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Old August 4th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EriFly View Post
What are the chances of Virgin America doing Long-Haul International flights?
I doubt it. V Australia crosses the Pacific while Virgin Atlantic crosses the Atlantic.

I thought they had a West Coast - Toronto flight before though - that'd be a long-haul international flight.
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Old August 4th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EriFly View Post
What are the chances of Virgin America doing Long-Haul International flights?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I doubt it. V Australia crosses the Pacific while Virgin Atlantic crosses the Atlantic.

I thought they had a West Coast - Toronto flight before though - that'd be a long-haul international flight.
V Australia is to dissolve back into the Virgin Australia brand, but this is going to take some time.
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Old August 4th, 2011, 10:56 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I doubt it. V Australia crosses the Pacific while Virgin Atlantic crosses the Atlantic.

I thought they had a West Coast - Toronto flight before though - that'd be a long-haul international flight.
Well we could have some Asian flights
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Old August 6th, 2011, 02:48 AM   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deasine View Post
V Australia is to dissolve back into the Virgin Australia brand, but this is going to take some time.
V Australia will merge into Virgin Australia next year. I believe the first 777 should be painted in the new colours early 2012. Not 100% on that one though.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 01:25 AM   #148
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Quote:
Virgin Galactic's suborbital shuttle: Sydney to London in 4 hours
By John Walton
Filed under: sydney, london, virgin, richard branson, Sydney Airport, london heathrow, Sir Richard Branson, White Knight Two, SpaceShipTwo, Brett Godfrey, Virgin Galactic, Sydney to London, suborbital travel, space tourism

Would you like to step onto a plane in Sydney at 3pm after a late lunch, fasten your seatbelt and be in London four hours later -- which means, given the time zones, arriving at 6am ready for breakfast and a full day of meetings?

It sounds like science fiction, but Virgin Galactic wants to make this a reality. And it could happen sooner than you may think.

There's been plenty of buzz about Virgin's 'space tourism' flights which will skim the edge of space. Over 370 would-be passengers have signed up already, paying a hefty US$20,000 deposit against the final $200,000 ticket price, with first flights expected in 2012.

But space isn't the final frontier for Virgin Galactic. It's a return to the superfast era of the Corcorde, only this time even faster, with a scheduled sub-orbital shuttle to whisk you from Sydney to London in four hours.



Brett Godfrey, former top dog at Virgin Blue, believes that sub-orbital services will be "the next level" beyond supersonic, with substantial appeal to business travellers.

"In another 10 or 15 years it will be $20,000 -- it will be no more than a first-class ticket somewhere" Godfrey says, "and then eventually they will be able to get a slightly bigger rocket with a bit more fuel and they'll be able to get it so it goes trans-con and then around the world. It may not be in my lifetime that it goes commercial but I think it probably will."

Here's how you could be doing the Kangaroo Route circa 2025.

Virgin Galactic's space carrier is an aircraft in two parts, with the 'White Knight Two' transporter cradling the smaller 'SpaceShipTwo' passenger craft beneath its wings.

White Knight Two, which is smaller than a Boeing 737, lifts off from a normal runway and climbs at subsonic speeds to 50,000 feet (just over 15,000 m).

At this point SpaceShipTwo -- half the width of the 737 and only 18 metres (60 feet) long -- detaches and fires its own boosters to soar to 110,000 m. That's about twice as high as Concorde used to cruise.



At this height, with the atmosphere becoming thinner and friction from air decreasing, the passenger shuttle can hit speeds of 4,000 km/h before turning off its engines, coasting along near the rim of space and gliding down to earth.

(The White Knight Two carrier vehicle has long since headed home to pick up its next cargo.)

With London and Sydney being just over 17,000 km apart, SpaceShipTwo travelling at 4,000 km/h and the earth far below spinning at 1,700 km/h, that's almost exactly three hours from Sydney Harbour to the Thames.
Add half an hour for liftoff and half an hour to glide down, and you turn the long-haul Kangaroo Route into a breezy four hour hop –- less time than it currently takes from Sydney to Perth.

The current SpaceShipTwo design carries six people in relative comfort. Concorde flew over forty years ago, and its transatlantic services established that people are happy to sit in seats that are less comfortable than today's premium economy seats to cut their flight time in half.

Of course, today's White Knight Two carrier aircraft is no larger than a Boeing 737. Just imagine the numbers of people that could be carried by a White Knight aircraft the size of an Airbus A380, which can lift over five times as much as White Knight Two. The massive Antonov An-225 cargo aircraft can lift twenty times as much, and the Antonov was designed thirty years ago. This idea clearly has room to scale up.

It's not a huge stretch to consider that future SpaceShipTwo-type aircraft the size of a medium-range jet like the A320 could be whizzing over a hundred passengers up into orbit and dropping them back down across the planet a few hours later. Nor is it beyond the bounds of imagination to think that one enormous carrier could take off from Sydney carrying multiple smaller landing craft destined for multiple destinations across the globe.

This is the nine o'clock departure for New York, London, Tokyo, Rio and Johannesburg. Fasten your seatbelts.
(Australian Business Traveller 2011)
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Old August 8th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #149
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Concorde cruised at 55 km? Don't think so
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Old August 12th, 2011, 04:51 AM   #150
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Quote:
Virgin to invest £100m in new product
Published: 10/08/2011 - Filed under: News »

Virgin Atlantic says it will invest £100m in product development, following pre-tax profits of £18.5m over the last year.

The carrier has not given specific details on what the product development will entail, but says it is “investing heavily in new product innovation so that we retain and enhance our leadership in customer service and experience”.

A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that the £100m investment in product development is "forthcoming", and does not include the A330s which have already been brought into service, adding that as forthcoming A330s are introduced with Upper Class (the current ones feature economy and premium economy only), "this could come out of our product development budget".

The spokesperson also said that Virgin will be updating "many elements of the onboard service and some product developments in the cabins also".

Virgin took delivery of two Airbus A330-300 aircraft earlier this year, featuring a new inflight entertainment system, and a newly-designed economy seat (see online news April 2).

The carrier today announced a return to profit over the last year, with revenues up 13 per cent, and pre-tax profits of £18.5m.

Commenting on the news CEO Steve Ridgeway said:

“We have demonstrated the resilience of our business by weathering the toughest economic period for aviation and have now returned the business to profit. A sharp recovery in the first half of the year has been tempered by more challenged trading in the latter period due to increased capacity in the market and high fuel prices.

“Whilst we have been very focused on trading the airline back to profitability, we have worked hard to introduce new aircraft, new routes and extra rotations to the existing network where there has been high demand.”

However he warned that since the turn of the year, “market conditions have become tougher with increased capacity, faltering consumer confidence and high fuel prices”. He added that while “business traffic remains strong, demand in the economy cabin is more challenged”, and warned that “continued rises in Air Passenger Duty” have affected Caribbean routes and premium economy products.

For more information visit virgin-atlantic.com.

Report by Mark Caswell
(Business Traveller 2011)
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Old October 31st, 2011, 07:09 PM   #151
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Old November 1st, 2011, 04:10 PM   #152
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Source:http://www.businesstraveller.com/new...dining-service
Quote:
Virgin unveils new economy dining service
Published: 01/11/2011 - Filed under: News »


Virgin has today unveiled a new economy in-flight dining service across its network, as part of its recently-announced £100 million product investment.

The carrier says the new offering “will feel much more like a restaurant service”, with passengers being served a welcome cocktail consisting of a mix of fruit juices with or without vodka, and served in “a fabulous new purple glass with a stylish, quirky, new swizzle stick”.

The meal service will now be served on a soft touch, non slip meal tray, which has been reduced in size by a third to allow passengers more space on their tray table. New purple crockery and cutlery has also been introduced.



Economy travellers will also benefit from a separate dessert and hot drinks service, which Virgin says will offer “bigger desserts, served with a choice of tea, coffee or now a comforting mug of hot chocolate on night flights”.

Similar to scenes from the carrier’s stylish advert from last year (click here to view), ice creams will now be served by cabin crew wearing usherette trays.

Chief operating officer Steve Griffiths admitted that it had been “been many years now since we last refreshed our economy meal service”, and added that “We have listened to feedback from our passengers and cabin crew and have introduced some different and innovative items into our economy service and we have carefully separated dining into courses – much more like a restaurant service on the ground”.

The news follows Virgin's decision to drop its popular aircraft-shaped salt and pepper shakers in Upper Class (see online news October 6), ahead of a planned revamp of premium cutlery and dining ware.

For more information visit virginatlantic.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

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Old November 1st, 2011, 05:33 PM   #153
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Virgin flies high amid Qantas stoush
By Matt Wordsworth, ABC
October 31, 2011, 8:56 pm

The grounding of Qantas has been a boon for its rival Virgin Australia, which has added 7,000 seats to its schedule this week and another 40,000 between November and January to cope with the increased demand.

It is hard to say how much money Virgin will rake in but one aviation expert says the most significant impact will be the long-term shift in customer habits.

Company spokeswoman Emma Copeman says Virgin Australia put on 20 extra flights yesterday and another 16 today.

"Our main priority is to help the passengers that are stranded at this stage and to keep Australians moving around the country," she said.

Virgin Australia's general manager of guest experience Roger Lindeman says the airline has never experienced such a spike in demand.

"We've been able to bring in some volunteers from other departments," he said.

"We also got some temporary staff in that we got in from an agency, so this is a heightened level of activity for sure."

Jetstar has added an extra Sydney to Melbourne service and Strategic Airlines is putting on another flight from Brisbane to Perth.

Tiger Airways spokeswoman Vanessa Regan says the company is limited in its response by the recent restrictions placed on its air operating certificate, but the airline is looking to add extra services.

So most of the heavy lifting is coming from Virgin.

Geoffrey Thomas, aviation editor for the West Australian newspaper, says this is an unprecedented boost for Virgin.

"I think this is the best free kick that John Borghetti, the new CEO of Virgin Australia, has ever had - he can't believe it," Mr Thomas said.

"There is going to be a long-term effect to this ... a lot of passengers who would not have tried the revised, revamped Virgin Australia are now going to be exposed to it and a lot of people will be looking at it and saying, 'well, you know, this is a reliable form of transport. I might move my allegiance permanently'."

He predicts a permanent increase in Virgin Australia's market share as a result of the Qantas grounding.

"Their share is about approximately 30 per cent of the market I understand, and it's growing," Mr Thomas said.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 12:14 AM   #154
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Hmmm...

Quote:
Virgin gatecrashes BA's bmi deal


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Business Traveler »

By Victoria Bryan and Rhys Jones
LONDON/FRANKFURT | Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:10am EST
(Reuters) - Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic has gatecrashed rival British Airways' deal to buy Lufthansa AG's (LHAG.DE) UK unit bmi, agreeing a counterbid it hopes will be more appealing to regulators.

British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) said in early November it had reached an agreement in principle to buy bmi, lured by its coveted slots at London's Heathrow airport and seemingly leaving Virgin out in the cold.

Yet a spokeswoman for Lufthansa said on Monday the airline had also reached an agreement in principle for the sale of bmi to Virgin, which said last month it was still in talks with the German carrier.

She added that Germany's biggest carrier hoped to sign a final deal in the next few weeks, with completion seen in the first quarter of 2012.

"We will look at the quality of the offers and which one gives the most attractive prospects for the future of bmi," she said, declining to provide further details of the bids or to say which bid Lufthansa preferred.

A sale to Virgin could be a smart move for Lufthansa, analysts say, as it would likely involve less regulatory scrutiny and also prevent bmi falling into the hands of British Airways, its strongest competitor.

Lufthansa shares were down 3.6 percent at 8.78 euros by 1324 GMT, while IAG's fell 3.1 percent, underperforming the leading index of European shares .FTEU3, which was down 0.9 percent.

KEY ATTRACTION

A source close to the talks said Virgin had outlined the details of a bid, which was satisfactory to Lufthansa, and that the German carrier had opened bmi's books to Virgin.

"IAG's offer will be larger than Virgin's in financial terms because they have the deeper pockets, but Virgin hopes its offer will be more compelling because it is more straightforward with the likelihood of less regulatory issues cropping up than would be the case with IAG's bid," the source said.

Bmi's key attraction is that it controls 9 percent of the coveted take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, which is operating at full capacity after plans to build a third runway were scrapped.

IAG, which currently holds 43.1 percent of the slots at Heathrow, would hold around 52 percent of the hub's slots if its bid for bmi succeeds.

Virgin has written to the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission requesting the sale of bmi's assets are examined to ensure competition is not eroded.

However, IAG says its holding at Heathrow is small compared with rivals at other European hubs -- Lufthansa holds two-thirds of the slots at Frankfurt, while Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) has 59 percent at Charles de Gaulle in Paris and 57 percent at Amsterdam's Schiphol.

"British Airways' hold over Heathrow is already too dominant and we are very concerned, as the competition authorities should also be, that BA's purchase of bmi would be disastrous for consumer choice and competition," a Virgin spokeswoman said.

The Times newspaper in London earlier cited banking sources as saying the Virgin offer was thought to be in the region of 50 million pounds, while IAG's was about double that figure, excluding pension and restructuring costs.

Bmi comprises three underperforming businesses: a carrier serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa; bmi regional, serving the UK; and low-cost unit bmibaby.

The Times said, without citing a source, that Virgin's bankers were arguing that Lufthansa would be better off doing a quick but lower-priced deal with the airline, as its offer would likely meet with less regulatory scrutiny.

Analyst Stefan Kick at brokerage Silvia Quandt said the Virgin bid was a good fall-back for Lufthansa, should competition authorities reject the IAG deal.

IAG said it was still negotiating. "Lufthansa has kept us appraised of other parties involved in the process," an IAG spokeswoman said.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Mangan and Adveith Nair in London; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and David Holmes)
(via Reuters)
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Old February 7th, 2012, 10:21 AM   #155
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Quote:
Virgin Atlantic Turns to Cheese Tray, Spa to Repel BA Threat
(Updates with Skytrax rankings in eighth paragraph, analyst’s comments starting in 12th.)

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. is spending 100 million pounds ($158 million) revamping its premium cabin to fend off British Airways and American Airlines.

The carrier, controlled by billionaire Richard Branson, will unveil a new menu in its Upper Class service starting next month featuring a cheese trolley, Lanson Black Label Champagne and afternoon tea, the Crawley, England-based company said in a statement today. Virgin Atlantic is also opening a bigger lounge at New York City’s John F. Kennedy airport in March.

Virgin Atlantic is facing increasing competition on its core London-to-New York route after International Consolidated Airlines Group SA’s British Airways and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines won antitrust immunity 18 months ago to start a joint venture, allowing them to coordinate schedules and prices.

“Fifty percent of our business is across the North Atlantic and the London-New York route is highly competitive because BA and AA have joined together,” Greg Dawson, a Virgin Atlantic spokesman, said by telephone. “Whilst we’ve maintained our market share quite well, we want to keep innovating because our clear point of difference is product.”

Virgin Atlantic has 20 percent of the London-New York market, even with a smaller share of the takeoff and landing slots, Dawson said. The carrier also flies to Newark Liberty International Airport, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, from its main London Heathrow base.

New York Spa

IAG and American Airlines won antitrust immunity to run a joint business on their North Atlantic services in July 2010. Branson said at the time that the carriers would use the venture to stifle completion.

The new lounge at JFK, designed by New York architects James and Hayes Slade, will be twice the size of Virgin’s existing suite at the airport and feature a spa. The airline’s upgrade of its Upper Class product will also include “enhanced” seats and an improved bar area, Dawson said.

Virgin Atlantic trails British Airways in the Skytrax World Airline Star Rating program, scoring three stars compared with British Airways’ four. The ratings, established in 2000, are based on an audit program that assesses elements of an airline’s product and service such as seat standards and in-flight entertainment.

British Airways also won the organization’s award for the World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge for 2011 for its lounge at Heathrow airport’s terminal five.

Stock Declines

IAG was trading 2.1 percent lower at 185.80 pence at 2:28 p.m. in London. Shares in the company, which also owns the Madrid-based Iberia brand, have advanced 26 percent this year, boosting IAG’s market value to 3.45 billion pounds. Virgin Atlantic is closely held.

Virgin Atlantic will roll out the changes on Airbus SAS A330 wide-body planes linking Heathrow with JFK and on future aircraft assigned to the route. Retaining its share of the business-traveler market is crucial for the carrier, said John Strickland, an aviation analyst at JLS Consulting in London.

“It isn’t an airline that’s going to make high margins filling economy class,” Strickland said by telephone. “Their business model absolutely relies on the high-yielding business segment. It’s key to their survival.”

Trans-Atlantic business-class bookings have begun strongly in 2012, Virgin Atlantic said, with growth of more than 10 percent on London-New York flights.

“The irony is that the hard-pressed economy passenger doesn’t get very much these days,” Strickland said. “But airlines feel that they can’t justify the business fares if they don’t make these sort of things part of their offering.”

--Editors: Chad Thomas, Tom Lavell

To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Rothwell in London at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at [email protected]
(via Bloomberg Business)
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Old February 7th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #156
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It'll be interesting to see what type of Business Class layout they are planning. Virgin was the pioneer airline for the herringbone layout, which was later used by many airlines including Air Canada, Cathay Pacific (in their older Business Class configuration), and some of Delta Airlines. While this layout was much more private than traditional forward facing business class cabins and had direct aisle access for all seats, it lacked access to windows and made travelling in pairs or groups much harder. As time went on, other layouts came, such as staggered Business Class offered by ANA, Emirates, and Swiss, and becoming more common now, the reverse herringbone design, used by US Airways, Cathay Pacific (new configuration), and recently announced on the new American Airlines 777s. These were even more private, more similar to a suite featured in First than a Business Class seat. So it'd be interesting to see what Virgin uses, or whether it will develop its own Business Class layout (i.e. Club World by British Airways).

Quote:
Virgin Atlantic plots new 'cutting edge' business class

Virgin Atlantic will overhaul its 'Upper Class' business class cabin, seats and service in the coming months as the airline invests £100 million upgrading its appeal to business travellers.

Passengers will see "a new cutting-edge Upper Class cabin including an enhanced seat, a futuristic bar, and many other cabin updates to give passengers a unique flying experience", the airline promises, although it's yet to reveal any images or hard details of the new product.

Also set for a make-over is the in-flight dining service, such as 'express supper menus' for lighter meals and quicker service,

"This is not just about the seat" says Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.

"This is about creating a gap [with our competitors]. It involves new product, new in-flight entertainment and investment in the service. It will absolutely make Virgin Atlantic the best in class."
“We’ve really involved our frequent flyers" Griffiths says, with some 1,200 frequent flyers taking part in surveys, workshop sessions and even 'sleep-overs' in the new seats.

"We’ve learned how the personal space works and what customers want out of their time on board. It has shaped our thinking.”

The new Upper Class service will debut in the second quarter of this year on an Airbus A330 plying one of three daily services between London and New York.
It will then be rolled out through the rest of the Virgin Atlantic fleet over the next three years through to 2015, including the carrier's new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380-800s.
(via AUSBT)
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Old February 28th, 2012, 01:28 PM   #157
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Quote:
Virgin Atlantic’s Whisper Quiet Service
Published on February 28th, 2012 by Maxine Sheppard




We’ve appointed our first ever ‘whispering coach’ to ensure that all passengers using our new Upper Class Dream Suite enjoy the most relaxing night’s sleep possible.

Richard Fitzgerald – one of our Service Training Instructors – has taken on the role of Virgin Atlantic’s Whispering Coach to train the crew for the launch of the new Suite in spring 2012, and will be providing invaluable training to cabin crew tending to passengers in our new Upper Class Dream Suite – which offers the largest and most comfortable beds in the sky, as well as the best night’s sleep.

Shhhhhh

First ever 'Whispering Coach' for new Upper Class Dream Suite

Richard will offer coaching on the tone, volume and sentiment cabin crew should use whilst talking to Upper Class passengers. His specialist training will also ensure that no passenger is unduly disturbed whilst sleeping and that all passengers wake up and arrive at their destination feeling rested and refreshed.

It’s oh so quiet…

Trialled with several focus groups and test-flights, and formulated with input from speech experts, the appropriate level of volume has been identified and the crew are now trained to whisper at tones between twenty and thirty decibels due to its calming effect and the fact that it won’t disturb other passengers whilst lights are out.


Sweet dreams with Virgin Atlantic

The new training, which takes an extra day to master, has been added to the existing service training which Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin crew go though. Crew learn the best ways to engage with passengers – ensuring they experience unrivalled hospitality at 35,000 ft. Cabin crew training already includes tips on how to read passengers, being tactile and how to wake people comfortably.

Our new redesigned Upper Class Dream Suite has been specially developed with the passenger’s comfort as number one priority. The ‘Whispering Coach’ is just one of the new measures employed to take Virgin’s Upper Class Suite service above and beyond that of its competitors. Newly designed seats, ambient lighting and even glassware and crockery will be overhauled to make it the most luxurious way to travel by air.

Visit our website to learn more about Upper Class or to book a flight to any of our fantastic destinations.
(via V Travelled)
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Old April 13th, 2012, 08:46 PM   #158
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I would imagine that the new J class seats be similar to the new ones found in CX, on the Envoy Suites in US.

Quote:
Virgin Atlantic debuts new 'Upper Class Dream Suite' on April 21

Virgin Atlantic will reveal its new 'Upper Class Dream Suite' business class seats next week, ahead of the cabin's first flight on the daily London - New York (VS003/004) service from April 21st.

Sources at Virgin Atlantic confirmed the launch date to Australian Business Traveller, with April 21st tied to the debut of Virgin Atlantic's newest Airbus A330.

This will be Virgin's first A330 fitted with business class, and will sport 33 seats over nine rows (in a mosty 1-2-1 layout) in the same space where the current A330s have 59 premium economy seats (arranged 2-3-2).



What Virgin Atlantic promises to be a "cutting-edge Upper Class cabin" will also include an updated bar design located by the entrance, a new in-flight entertainment system plus a refreshed "fine dining" menu, with an 'express supper menus' for lighter meals and quicker service.

"This is not just about the seat" says Virgin Atlantic chief operating officer Steve Griffiths.

"This is about creating a gap [with our competitors]. It involves new product, new in-flight entertainment and investment in the service. It will absolutely make Virgin Atlantic the best in class."

The new Upper Class will be rolled out through the rest of the Virgin Atlantic fleet over the next three years through to 2015, including the carrier's new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380-800s.

“We’ve really involved our frequent flyers" on the design of the product, Griffiths says. Some 1,200 frequent flyers took part in surveys, workshop sessions and even 'sleep-overs' in the new seats.

"We’ve learned how the personal space works and what customers want out of their time on board. It has shaped our thinking.”
(via AUSBT)
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Old June 16th, 2012, 06:16 AM   #159
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Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., the U.K.'s number two long-haul carrier, may add more flights to China and South America.

The airline has wanted to start flights to Beijing "for quite some time" and it is also looking at other cities in China, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ridgway said in an interview today in Shanghai. He didn't name any specific South American destinations.


Virgin also expects to hear by year-end how many takeoff and landing slots it will get at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, following International Consolidated Airlines Group SA's acquisition of BMI in April.



The carrier has asked for 12 of the slots that IAG, the parent of British Airways, was ordered to give up as a condition for approval of the BMI deal.


"These slots are very important," Ridgway said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "It's tough because Heathrow is very full."



The carrier, which has also applied to start flights to Scotland, holds 3 percent of Heathrow's takeoff and landing pairs compared with IAG's 51 percent.


The start of Beijing flights will depend on the availability of Heathrow slots and the arrival of Boeing Co. 787s that would be used on the route, Ridgway said.



Virgin expects to start receiving its 16 on-order 787s in the second half of 2014. The carrier already flies to Shanghai and Hong Kong in Greater China.


Virgin may also "one day" join one of the three global airline alliances, Ridgway said. The airline last year began a review of strategic options after British Airways and American Airlines boosted cooperation on trans-Atlantic routes.

http://www.wcarn.com/cache/news/19/19769.html
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Old June 16th, 2012, 03:54 PM   #160
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Have anyone photos ore infos about the flights from VS from Gatwick to Cancun Mexico?
Thanks
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