Virgin Australia unveils new ‘prototype’ cabin, seats on two Boeing 737 planes

Virgin Australia has unveiled a new ‘prototype’ cabin for its Boeing 737 aircraft, installing the new interiors in two aircraft as a trial.

The biggest change is in business class, where seats will recline a further seven inches (18 centimetres) than the current seats – an increase of 40 per cent. There are also adjustable foot and leg rests.

Other changes to business class seats include cocktail tables, movable tray tables with in-built device holders and additional in-seat storage for personal items, including a charging port.

The key change in economy class is moving the safety card and menu storage to the top of the seat, creating more legroom, and an adjustable seatback device holder, which can accommodate various sizes of smartphones and tablets.

All seats feature a new horizontal rib design, which the airline says will provide extra support and comfort during flights.

The new interiors for Virgin were unveiled as the airline launched its own TikTok account, which featured a video of the new seats being installed.

The airline will wait on feedback from passengers before rolling the design out to other aircraft.

“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,” said group chief customer and digital officer, Paul Jones.

“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,” he said.

In December the airline announced it had renegotiated its deal with Boeing for new 737 MAX aircraft. Virgin will no longer receive 737 MAX 8 variant (the model involved in two fatal crashes which saw the aircraft grounded worldwide), cancelling its order for 23 of the aircraft. It will now take delivery of 25 of the larger MAX 10, starting in mid-2023.

Boeing 737s currently make up the vast majority of the airline’s fleet, accounting for 70 of Virgin’s 86 aircraft.

The airline previously had several larger aircraft, Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s, which it used for longer international flights. With the airline unlikely to resume international long-haul flights in the wake of the pandemic, the planes have reportedly been sold.

See also: Virgin reopens its largest lounge after 19-month closure

See also: Virgin launches prizes for vaccinated passengers 

Correction: An earlier version of the story said Virgin would no longer receive the 787 MAX 8. This should have said the 737 MAX 8.

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