Surging passenger demand has led to Virgin Atlantic fitting out its entire Heathrow fleet with its new Premium Economy seat. With its Airbus aircraft already fitted the 747 fleet at Heathrow will offer the new seat onboard by Christmas, allowing more passengers to benefit from the widest leather seat in its class and enhanced onboard service which includes many dedicated services.
The news comes after Virgin Atlantic was named Best Premium Economy and Best Business Class at the Business Traveller Awards 2007 yesterday.
Premium Economy, which was invented by Virgin Atlantic in 1992, saw an increase of 56% of passengers flying in the cabin from 2000 to 2005 and the market has continued to show very strong growth in the past eighteen months. Following the £12m revamp Virgin Atlantic has flown around 950,000 Premium Economy passengers which is an increase of 20% in the last 10 months alone. This is a testament to the new Premium Economy seat and more bespoke service onboard.
The 747 aircraft will have 62 Premium Economy seats onboard compared with 32 currently - a 10% increase in the number of premium economy seats available across Virgin Atlantic’s network worldwide.
Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive for Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“Having completed the refit across the Airbus fleet, we are delighted that this product exceeded our expectations and has resulted in a 20% growth in our Premium Economy passengers. This is a clear indication that we are streets ahead of our competitors and in order to seize further market share from our competitors we have decided to increase our capacity in Premium Economy on our Heathrow 747 aircraft.
“Year on year we continue to push the boundaries for innovation and passenger satisfaction, and with this extra capacity, we are confident that the award-winning Premium economy service will remain the market leader in offering passengers more than any other airline.”
The Premium Economy cabin which has grown in popularity since its re-vamp last year, combines a 38” seat pitch with a width of 21” leather seat which features enhanced ergonomics for improved comfort. It also features a dual position footrest, lumbar support, adjustable headrest with wings, and a redesigned tray table. All seats provide passengers with lap top power. Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy passengers benefit from many dedicated services when they travel on Premium Economy which include a dedicated check in and cabin crew, a separate cabin, priority boarding and luggage along with a separate meal service and amenity kit.