Virgin Atlantic’s first A350 ‘Red Velvet’ takes to the Skies

Named ‘Red Velvet’, Virgin’s first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, G-VLUX Red Velvet, took off for the first time on September 10th, flying customers from London Heathrow to New York JFK.

With a totally redesigned Upper Class cabin complete with Loft area as well as tailcam and a new in-seat ordering feature, Virgin say their new aircraft is revolutionising travel.

Virgin listed these new features on their new A350-1000’s:

  •  Five new “Flying Icons” will adorn the fuselage of the brand new A350-1000 fleet. The high flyers are a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain with Zadie on board G-VLUX (Red Velvet), G-VPOP (Mamma Mia) and G-VJAM (Queen of Hearts) followed by Oscar on G-VPRD (Rain Bow).
  • A first for Virgin Atlantic: a new tailcam shows you the best view of outside. You’ll be able see your surroundings as if you were sitting on the tail of the  A350. Two views are available – tail cam and front facing from the underside of the aircraft.
  • An innovative new feature in Upper Class allows you to order some extra bites and breakfast items from the comfort of your Upper Class seat. You can make your choice on your IFE screen and this will be sent to the crew who will deliver the order to your seat. No more waiting for meal time!
  • The Loft is a unique space for Upper Class customers, and the largest social space across any of the fleet. It’s a place to gather, chat, grab a drink or dine with friends. As well as enjoying luxe comfort and high end finishes, you can settle in with Bluetooth headphones and connect to the 32 inch screen – catch a show, or watch the live tailcam.
  • The redesigned Upper Class suite is the perfect retreat at 30,000 feet. Every seat faces towards the window and boasts enhanced privacy, plenty of space and storage, adjustable mood lighting and an 18.5 inch screen – all with Virgin Atlantic style.
  • A redesigned Premium cabin with rich, custom leather seats and high end finishes. Tailored just for Virgin, the Premium seat features luxurious Claret leather with intricate stitch detailing, a pressed black wool cocktail tray and meal table, and an Oxblood red upper literature pocket interior.
  • Six way adjustable headrests ensure comfort on the newest Economy seats which are designed with bespoke woven fabrics inspired by fashion houses.
  • Working with Inmarsat and T-Mobile, Virgin are offering award-winning GX KA Band wifi connectivity onboard. The cost of wifi is £20.99 for the duration of the flight; however prices start from £2.99 for messaging. Free wifi until 9th October – LivefromVIrgin.

Virgin are taking inflight entertainment to new levels with the Zodiac Rave System from Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) and their largest ever inflight screens at 18.5” in Upper, 13.3 inches in Premium and 11.6 inches in Economy. You’ll be able to choose from over 100 movies, 300 hours of TV shows, over 350 albums and podcasts and over 45 hours of kids’ content. Want to watch a movie but still see where you are on the map? Complementing the touchscreen IFE, customers can now pair their smart device to the IFE to control their experience onboard and provide second screen viewing.

In charge of the first flight was Captain Chris Pohl, who was very much looking forward to the occasion. “It’s a great honor to be flying the first ever passenger flight of our A350,” he said. “I know how hard everyone has worked to get this beautiful aircraft to this point and I can’t wait to see what our customers think.

A total of of 12 Airbus A350-1000 have been ordered, with them all scheduled to join the fleet by 2021 in an order worth an estimated $4.4 billion (list price.) The first four A350s, Mamma Mia, Red Velvet, Rain Bow and Queen of Hearts, will join the Virgin fleet by the end of 2019 and all four aircraft will initially fly between London Heathrow and New York JFK. Los Angeles will be the second Virgin Atlantic destination to receive a new A350, from next year.

All of the initial A350 deliveries will be based at London Heathrow. The final five planes will offer a leisure configuration and will operate routes to Florida and the Caribbean from London Gatwick and Manchester Airport. These deliveries will take place in 2021 when Virgin will begin to retire their 747 fleet.

The original version of this article was featured on the Virgin Atlantic Blog.