Virgin Atlantic attacks first class and Concorde markets

Discussion in 'UK Community Board' started by UKDEB, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000
    I'll have a bit of this!

    "At a time when British Airways is threatening to withdraw Concorde and many airlines are withdrawing from the first class market, Virgin Atlantic is investing £50million in a revolutionary new first class product across its fleet: the Upper Class Suite.

    The new Upper Class Suite consists of a reclining leather seat for take off, a place to sit and eat a proper meal opposite your partner, the longest fully flat bed in the world with a proper mattress for sleeping, a private onboard bar to drink at with your friends, a private massage room and four limousines per return trip - all at a price thousands of pounds less than BA's First Class.

    By charging the same as other airlines' business class for this first class product, Virgin Atlantic's new Upper Class Suite is expecting to attract BA's Concorde passengers (if it carries out its threat to withdraw the aircraft) and its and other airlines' first and business class passengers as well.

    The radical new product has been in development for over two years and will cost £50m to fit across Virgin's fleet.

    It will be introduced on all of Virgin's Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-600 aircraft starting from this summer, and will be on all those aircraft based at Heathrow by spring 2004 and all those at Gatwick by autumn 2004.

    Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

    "We will keep battling to keep Concorde flying right to the bitter end. However, should we fail to do so, Concorde and other first class passengers will need a new super-luxury way of travelling. Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Suite will give them all they need at a cost thousands of pounds less. Except, sadly, the beauty of supersonic travel.

    "I am delighted to be launching this revolutionary product - calling it a "suite" signifies the leap in quality and comfort offered by Virgin over our rivals' "standard" business and first class seats. Our Upper Class Suite will move aviation forward by decades.

    "At home you sit on a leather chair and sleep on a mattress yet every airline gives you a chair which doubles up as a bed. We will give you the most comfortable chair in the air which you can recline in for take off and landing and, for the first time, we will give you a separate luxury mattress which gives you the best and longest bed in the sky.

    "We will also allow you to sit and eat at your seat with another passenger facing you or have a meal and a drink with friends at our exclusive private bar - the only bar in the sky. If you're feeling stressed we'll give you an inflight massage or manicure in a private treatment area or, if you prefer, at your seat.

    "Today's announcement demonstrates our firm commitment to continue to invest in product innovation. Quite simply, our Upper Class Suite gives you everything and more than you get in others' first class - except the bill!"

    Ground-breaking design

    Just like in the hotel sector where suites are more luxurious than standard rooms, Virgin's new product is not merely a seat but also provides a bed, space for communal dining and business meetings and inflight beauty therapy treatments at the passenger's seat.

    Different to anything else flying today, the product has been designed to be separately both the most comfortable - and, at 79.5 inches by 22 inches, the longest and widest - bed and the most comfortable seat in the air. Instead of extending from a seat into a bed, Virgin Atlantic's seat provides the passenger with a luxury leather armchair to relax on which then flips over into a separate bed with a mattress to sleep on. Virgin Atlantic has applied for a patent for this revolutionary design.

    The Suites are configured in a unique herringbone style in a 1-2-1 arrangement, which means that all passengers have access to the aisle and half can have both an aisle and a window seat. This configuration also means that no suite faces backwards. Up to 45 new suites will be fitted to each aircraft.

    Every suite has an extra seat which can be used for companions so passengers can eat together, hold meetings or for inflight beauty therapy treatments if the passenger prefers. The new Upper Class cabin also features a newly designed private bar in an area discreet from the cabin.

    Upper Class also offers a unique range of products and services compared with other airlines' first and business classes including four free limousines (to and from the airport at both ends of the journey), inflight beauty therapists offering a range of treatments and access to Virgin's award winning Clubhouses where you can get a suit made, have a haircut or a beauty treatment. "

    Take a look at the new Upper Class Suite.
  2. Skiing is best, Mickey comes next

    Jun 17, 2000
    Very nice. Lokks like it's midway between BA's (new) Club World and their First Class seats. I wonder if the LGW-MCO route will get these seats? Purely academic of course, I'll never be able to afford them...


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  4. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000

    They reckon they'll be on all flights out of Heathrow by Spring 2004 and all those out of Gatwick by Autumn 2004.
  5. WDWfan uk

    WDWfan uk <font color=red>.... but you can call me Shirley :

    Aug 21, 1999
    Looks good....... and very expensive!! (Well if it's for the ex-Concorde passengers, judging from the prices of those seats, it will be VERY expensive indeed!)

    ......... unless I win the competition ;) - don't tell me you didn't enter it because I don't believe you :teeth:

    Some of the answers are SO silly, I wanted to choose them just for the sake if it e.g one of the answers for "...if you are looking scary what would you do?" IS - put a sick bag over your head and wait until you land - LOL!!!
  6. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000
    Me too, Shirley, but I didn't have the bottle - the lure of the prize was too great, even if there is only a one in a billion chance of winning!
  7. elisebutt

    elisebutt DIS Veteran

    Aug 7, 2001
    Oooh! Did someone say competition????

    Hope my luck is still holding.

    UKANGEL Champagne Girls Rule!

    Jun 19, 2002
    I want I want I want!:Pinkbounc
  9. Claire L

    Claire L <font color=blue>Enjoys a good broadway show<br><f

    Apr 13, 2002
    Whatever next fourposter beds ! ;)
    Seriously though I'm sure I saw this design on the Airbus we went on to New York in February this year with the nice long seat/beds and they looked really good.
    Claire ;)
  10. profdsny

    profdsny DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 1999
    Cool. Couldn't decide if I should take the title "Lord" or "Sir". Would that disqualify me? Is there a law against that? Here in the US? I suppose I could just go as His Excelency.
  11. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000
    Well, I had the e-mail yesterday (which prompted me to start this thread), a glossy brochure in the post this morning and now I've received the following:

    <i>Dear Mrs Churchill
    We're sorry if you were unable to access our Upper Class Suite site late yesterday afternoon, we realise that you tried to visit the site and may have experienced some difficulties.

    We're delighted to say that the site has been very popular over the last few days and is now fully accessible.

    Don't forget to check out all the latest news and enter our fantastic competition by visiting

    Thank you for your continued support of flying club.

    Kindest regards,

    Rebecca Gigg
    flying club</i>

    Yikes! Just goes to show Big Brother is alive and well!
  12. richard3330

    richard3330 Cirque Fan

    Jul 30, 2002
    This sounds amazing - to me it looks better than first class!

    We also had the brochure through the post this morning - Also entered the competition ;)


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