A Closer Look at the Design of Virgin’s New Retreat Suite

Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite A330-900neo Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic’s new Retreat Suite on the A330-900neo introduces a unique “first-class” experience within the Upper-Class cabin.

Image Source: Virgin Atlantic/Thompson Aero Seating

Highly customised VantageXL First enters service as Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite

A highly customised version of Thompson Aero Seating’s VantageXL First fully flat-bed seat has entered service with Virgin Atlantic as the luxurious Retreat Suite in Upper-Class.

Each Virgin Atlantic A330-900neo features two Retreat Suites in the centre front row. The clever configuration of the VantageXL seating range creates the option for a seamless two-class cabin at all-business-class density, effectively providing airlines with first class ‘for free’.

Virgin Atlantic has taken advantage of the innovative design to create its Retreat Suite, offering passengers another level of luxury within the same density as a traditional all-business-class cabin.

These exclusive suites provide additional personal space for relaxation, fine dining, or sleeping.

  • The fully flat beds are 78.9”
  • Each passenger has a 27” touchscreen TV with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging.
  • Thompson has created an ottoman that doubles as an extra seat, enabling the passenger to dine with a friend or to increase the sleeping space.

The rest of the Upper Class (business-class) cabin also features the VantageXL Suite with:

  • 77” fully flat beds, privacy doors
  • 17.3” touchscreen TVs
  • passenger-controlled mood lighting

Thompson has all meticulously customised all seats. Every seat has direct aisle access, extensive work and relaxation space, and a variety of personal stowage spaces to store their devices and comfort items during the flight.

“We have taken great pride and satisfaction in working with Virgin Atlantic to create this truly exclusive option,” says Andy Morris, VP Commercial for Thompson Aero Seating. “The VantageXL offers Virgin Atlantic passengers an extremely comfortable and enjoyable flight. The bonus of the VantageXL First suites – the Retreat Suite – is an added element of indulgence, and an extra draw for customers, with no additional LOPA (location of passenger accommodation), demands. It really is a win-win for passengers and airlines alike.”

In other words, the airline can add two upgraded seats to the cabin without sacrificing space or having to reconfigure the seat layout.

Henry Buckley, Design Manager at Virgin Atlantic, said of the introduction of this new seating option: “In true Virgin Atlantic style, we have elevated the functionality, styling and features within our latest Upper-Class cabin, as we strive to develop innovative products and services that create memorable experiences for our customers. The VantageXL suite is a fantastic product, and our enhanced front-row offering, known as the Retreat Suite, is a particularly exciting addition to the cabin. It’s our most spacious suite yet. These two exclusive seats, with lots of extra space, storage and bigger screens, give our customers the opportunity to connect with each other in-flight and engage with shared experiences for up to four people to enjoy. We are thrilled that our newest product is now in service, and we hope that our customers are as delighted with it as we are.”

In creating the bespoke cabin interior for Virgin Atlantic, Thompson Aero Seating worked closely with Virgin Atlantic and Factorydesign to ensure the design features met the distinctive vision and ethos of the airline. The styling and functionality have been carefully conceived to give a feeling of opulence and to differentiate Virgin Atlantic’s offering.

About Thompson Aero Seating

Thompson Aero Seating is recognised for cutting-edge design, engineering and manufacture of premium class, full-flat bed airline seating. Their bespoke solutions maximise passengers’ personal space and, through intelligent design, optimise every inch of the cabin.

Thompson Aero Seating is one of the leading suppliers of Business and First-class aircraft seating, with a worldwide customer base featuring many of the world’s top airlines, including Delta, China Eastern and Singapore Airlines. With increasing market share and an evolving and expanding product portfolio. Thompson seats are installed on all major aircraft platforms, including Airbus A321, A330 and A350 and Boeing B737 and B787.

Marisa Garcia

After working for sixteen years in aviation, specializing in aircraft interiors design and aviation safety equipment, and getting hands-on with aircraft cabins in hangars around the world, Marisa Garcia turned her expertise into industry insight. She has been reporting on aviation matters since 2014. Every day, she's putting words to work.

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