Virgin Atlantic is readying for the launch of its inaugural Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow to Boston on 28 October 2014.
Sir Richard Branson pictured in a mock-up of the Boeing 787, some seven years ago.
The airline has published a microsite detailing its plans.
Here’s what we know so far:
– As stated above, the inaugural route will be Boston. We surmise this has been chosen because it is the shortest transatlantic route.
– Future Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 routes include New York (Newark & JFK), Washington, Delhi and Shanghai. The airline initially claimed Cape Town and Tokyo Narita would be 787 routes. However, the airline is suspending these routes.
– The aircraft will feature in flight WiFi and mood lighting for all passengers.
– The aircraft will feature the airline’s signature Upper Class Bar and an updated version of its Upper Class seat and an updated premium economy seat.
– The seating in economy will be a 3-3-3 configuration using a Recaro 3620 model. The 3-3-3 layout is consistent with BA and other airlines who have mercifully resisted a 3-4-3 layout. “Extra leg room” seats will be available in economy.
– In total, the aircraft will have 264 seats with 31 in Upper Class, 35 in premium economy and 198 in economy.
– One innovation is a “Wonder Wall” social space in the galley for passengers seated in premium economy.
– Virgin is due to receive 21 Boeing 787s over the next ten years, with ten to be delivered between September 2014 and January 2016.
– Virgin has not indicated what new routes may be opened up by the Boeing 787. However, it has long indicated a desire to fly to Latin America and has in the past obtained traffic rights to Rio de Janeiro (a route TAM was withdrawn from and is solely served by BA from London).
– Virgin will no doubt by carrying out test flights to allow for pilots and cabin crew to become familiar with the aircraft. Virgin has not indicated whether such test flights will be available to revenue passengers.
Virgin has subsequently released a series of videos demonstrating the economy, premium economy and upper class cabins on its Boeing 787 aircraft.