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.
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.
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”.