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Virgin reveals new 737-800 cabin interior

written by Hannah Dowling | November 11, 2021

Virgin Australia has kept itself busy during the pandemic down-time, today revealing its brand-new interior cabin design on its flagship Boeing 737 fleet.

The airline has already installed the newly upgraded cabins, which include enhanced business class seats, on two of its nine newly-acquired Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

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Similarly to Virgin’s existing 737-800 interior, the new cabin will contain eight business class seats up the front, however the new seats boast an extra recline of seven inches (17 centimetres), around 40 per cent more than existing business class seats.

Other new features in business class include customisable leg and footrests, in-seat storage cubbies for device, as well as “self-deployable, non-slip cocktail tables” and “movable tray tables with in-built device holders”.

In order to make room for these roomier business class seats, Virgin has removed one row of economy seats for the aircraft, with the upgraded 737-800 interior now hosting 162 economy seats as opposed to its predecessor’s 168.

Economy seats will also now provide a seatback device holder and additional seat pocket space.

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The seats themselves have been fitted with a “distinctive new horizontal rib design”, the airline said.

The cabin, of course, has Virgin Australia’s signature purple LED lighting, along with an “embossed leaf pattern” design on the economy headrests that matches the airline’s airport lounges.

Virgin Australia group chief customer and digital officer Paul Jones said the new interior added to a long list of customer enhancements the airline has rolled-out since relaunching almost 12 months ago.

“We are excited to unveil our new interior prototype which we are going to trial over the next few months,” Jones said.

“Virgin Australia is committed to being a customer-led business, so once we receive feedback from our guests and crew, we’ll consider implementing elements of the new design as our fleet grows.

“We can’t wait for guests to experience the new interior for themselves if they’re lucky enough to fly on either of the two aircraft that have initially been fitted with the new design.”

“We’re really focused on creating great experiences for our guests and the design has been carefully considered to implement thoughtful features that we know will make travelling with Virgin Australia all that more enjoyable,” Jones added.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how the new design will influence our fleet moving forward as we continue to expand our fleet and network as the market recovers.”

Last month, Virgin confirmed that it will not mandate vaccinations for its passengers on domestic flights.

Chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the issue was a “matter for government” but it would follow any rules implemented by states.

The business previously revealed it would make COVID jabs mandatory for customer-facing staff by 15 November and office-based employees by 31 March.

Speaking at the Flight Centre’s Illuminate conference, Hrdlicka called the decision “difficult” because the company can only have certainty over its own staff.

“I suspect some states will require only vaccinated travellers to move between states, and we will absolutely support any government requirement,” Hrdlicka said.

“But it’s not on us to mandate that ourselves. It’s really a matter for the government. So, we stand ready to implement and we think it makes sense to do that. We stand ready to work with the governments on how to make that practical and realistic.”

Hrdlicka added that the situation would likely be different for international travel, where COVID jabs would be “a must-have”.

6 Comments

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    It’s great that VOZ is assessing their A/C seating configuration but unfortunately based on what has been published little if anything changes. At a time when many of the worlds largest airlines are viewing LR/single aisle equipment for their international routes based on economies of ops but there has been little comment from them regarding the comfort needs of us the punters and what they intend to do to attract and accommodate us. VOZ has had to make vast changes to their product with the exclusion of their wide bodied equipment and they may have to change again because attempting to maintain challenging distances with aged design domestic use aircraft is no match for most of their opposition today and into the future. I congratulate VOZ on their good recline JCL seats and the exclusion of full lay back bed sleepers and or JCL cubicles which to me is absolute nonsense in the extreme and not required on sectors of circa 8-10hrs;- interesting to note that the pitch is but 1 ins above what was the original design ECY seat so in real terms still quite squeezy. I do also understand that there will always be a market for the elcheapo ECY fares to popular destinations, you know, the ones in thongs ( both types), board shorts and a loose top, often some have a hate of showers and or “mum” but not all of us are like that. Now is the time to truly consider graded ECY seating, not just at Capacity Control and or other marketing schemes but in real terms, maybe ontop of the elcheapo rows offer say another 2 zones, same seat (better with a cloth cover) and cabin service both at increased seat pitches say, 34 and 36 ins BUT, the pricing also has to be realistic and that is not hard to achieve and most importantly it avoids most of the unwanted criticisms of life travelling in ECY. Would be interesting to hear other views.

  • chris

    says:

    I recall that in Ansett our stretched B727-200 series a/c accommodated a total of just 151 Pax, which was 19 LESS than the total seating of 8J class/162Y class in VA’s latest configuration. Admittedly, that Ansett configuration included approx 8 rows of first class in the forward cabin (roughly comparable to domestic business class these days). And the B727-200 had 3 engines and 3 cockpit crew!

  • Frequent Traveller

    says:

    “Guests” seriously nothing has changed at that place.

    • Rocket

      says:

      @ Frequent Traveller

      Yep. A ridiculous and stupid name for what are passengers. There’s no reference to ‘customers’ or ‘guests’ in the Civil Aviation Regulations or in any legislation. It’s a BS word, just like all the ‘reaching out’ and ‘going forward’ that they go on with.

  • Gary

    says:

    After travelling in VA Business Class last weekend I was not overly impressed. I have had better meals on Qantas Economy Class and even Jetstar. The seats were only marginally more comfortable than Alliance E190’s Economy seats. VA has a lot more competition and need to lift there game to compete. Having travelled on many airlines in all classes for over 60 years I have noticed service standards drop from the days of Ansett. I used to enjoy travelling by air, now not so much.

    • Rocket

      says:

      The problem with Ansett was their product was so lavish it sent them broke. It cost more to deliver the international First and BusinessFirst than it generated in revenue. I assume domestic was the same and only kept afloat by the rest of the cabin.
      That lavish level of service is not a recipe for success, even before there were any groundings or overt financial problems, Qantas cut Ansett’s lunch as premium consumers/passengers deserted Ansett in droves for Qantas who had finally emerged from the malaise brought about by the domestic people who couldn’t cope with the fact they’d been taken over.

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