This evening UK-based airline Virgin Atlantic have unveiled three new ways to fly in their Economy cabin as part of a multi-million pound investment into the cabin’s product.
From later this year, passengers will be able to choose between three different fare levels in Economy; named Economy Light, Economy Classic and Economy Delight. The new fare levels allow passengers to select the product which fits their budget and travel needs… something which is happening a lot across the aviation industry right now.
Let’s take a look at the new fare levels, but it’s worth noting that all fares still include meals, snacks, drinks and Virgin Atlantic’s renowned Inflight Entertainment offering.
In brief, this is the lowest fare level offered in Economy which is Hand Baggage Only and a restricted fare which prohibits refunds and changes. Seats are allocated to passengers who purchase the Economy Light fare at check-in. This will always be Virgin Atlantic’s lowest available fare.
This “classic” Economy fare includes one free checked bag (weighing up to 23kg), complimentary seat selection at any time and the fare is upgradeable with miles.
For the ultimate Economy experience, the Economy Delight fare features Extra Legroom Seating (34″ seat pitch), premium check-in and priority boarding in addition to all the features of the Economy Classic fare.
Virgin Atlantic have pledged to offer up to 36 Economy Delight seats on every flight, which involves retrofitting seating across their fleet. At a time when others in the industry are trying to squeeze more seats onto planes this is a very bold move in the other direction. Is it clever? Quite possibly.
I personally think this is a very interesting move from Virgin Atlantic and it comes less than a week since British Airways announced the launch of a Hand Baggage Only fare on select long-haul routes (to be confirmed).
Virgin’s Economy Delight fare sounds like a great option for passengers who want that little bit of extra legroom and a premium experience without the hefty price. But does that devalue their Premium Economy product at all? Only time will tell, but I should hope not.
A Few Other Things
- Virgin Atlantic also announced the introduction of automated bag drop at London Gatwick and London Heathrow Airports. Gatwick will introduce four kiosks this summer, followed by a further eighteen kiosks at Heathrow in the Winter. Automated bag drops are springing up everywhere and whilst many might be reluctant to use them, I love it!
- 12 Airbus A350-900 aircraft will join the Virgin Atlantic fleet from Spring 2019 featuring a new Economy cabin. No more details have been shared at present, but the cabin has been designed with VS’s customers in mind. Interesting indeed!
- Connectivity is important. In the media release, Virgin Atlantic noted that every seat in Economy now offers a personal USB charging point, and all routes offer high-speed WiFi connectivity.
The introduction of three new fare levels for Economy customers is exciting and actually complements what Delta offer to their customers, thus creating a seamless experience. Basic Economy, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort +.
I’ll be flying Virgin Atlantic later this month, sadly too early to check-out the automated bag drop kiosks, but I’m looking forward to experiencing their Economy service after a few years.
What are your thoughts on the announcements from Virgin Atlantic? Let me know in the comments field below.