Issues to learn about flying Virgin Atlantic’s new Retreat Suite enterprise class

Virgin Atlantic has a particular new seat on its newest plane, the Airbus A330-900neo: the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite.

Along with the same old 184 financial system and 46 Premium (premium financial system) seats you’ll discover on all Virgin Atlantic planes, the airline’s A330-900neos function not simply new Higher Class seats, however two bigger business-class suites on the very entrance of the cabin — seats 1D and 1G. Virgin has dubbed them Retreat Suites to replicate their superior private area and luxury in contrast with the remainder of the seats within the business-class cabin.

How do the Retreat Suites differ from Virgin Atlantic’s common business-class expertise, and are they value the additional value? That is simply what I flew them to search out out.

Listed here are 10 issues to learn about flying Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite.

Associated: On board Virgin Atlantic’s 1st A330-900neo commercial flight


What’s the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite?

Virgin Atlantic put in a brand new kind of Higher Class seats on its A330-900neos, all of that are 22 inches vast between armrests, have direct aisle entry, sliding doorways (turning the seats into suites) and lie-flat beds. The Retreat Suites have the next extra advantages, although.

  • A considerably bigger inflight leisure display — 27 inches in comparison with 17 inches in the remainder of Higher Class.
  • Two inches of additional legroom.
  • An ottoman as a substitute of a cubbyhole to your toes whereas in lie-flat mode.
  • The choice to dine with a companion.
  • A bigger tray desk that may be set for 2 passengers.
  • A big extra storage compartment to the correct of the footrest.

The Retreat Suite in 1D is barely higher than 1G as a result of it has a bigger panel within the heart console, good for resting a laptop computer, headphones or purse.


The Retreat Suite is the very best seat in any class that Virgin Atlantic has ever provided. It’s gentle years forward of the airline’s first-generation Higher Class seats still flying on its 787 Dreamliners and older Airbus A330s.

In some ways, that is extra like a first-class expertise than a business-class seat due to its unimaginable privateness (together with a sliding door) and extra private area and storage than the opposite Higher Class seats on the jet.

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The Retreat Suite is just obtainable on the A330-900neo

The Retreat Suite is just put in on Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-900neos, and the airline solely has three of those plane in its fleet to this point, with one other because of enter service in April, and 12 extra on order after that.

Furthermore, there are simply two Retreat Suites on every aircraft, within the heart of the entrance of the Higher Class cabin (seats 1D and 1G).


Meaning there are few possibilities to guide the Retreat Suite. This month, although, it is possible for you to to search out it on the next routes, flight numbers and frequencies:

  • Between London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport (ATL): Day by day from April 7 onward (VS103/104).
  • Between London and Boston Logan Worldwide Airport (BOS): Day by day, aside from April 2-4, 10, 17 and 24 (VS11/12).
  • Between London and New York’s John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK): Day by day aside from April 11, 18, 25 and 30 (VS9/4).
  • Between London and Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA): April 5 and 6 solely (VS5/118).
  • Between London and Tampa Worldwide Airport (TPA): Day by day, aside from April 5 and 6 (VS129/130).

Schedules stay topic to vary, and there might be last-minute operational shifts, so earlier than you guide something, you’ll want to test the plane kind and seat map of your flight. Higher Class passengers who’ve paid the extra payment to pick out the Retreat Suite can obtain a refund if an plane swap means their new aircraft doesn’t have an obtainable Retreat Suite.


How will you guide Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suites?

Though you possibly can merely pay money for a flight in Retreat Suites, you can even guide them utilizing a mixture of factors and money.

We booked a one-way flight from Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Tampa Worldwide Airport (TPA) in Higher Class by redeeming 47,500 Virgin points and paying $750 in charges, taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges.

Award availability on this route is superb, because it was solely launched final 12 months. The charges, taxes and surcharges have been paid with The Platinum Card® from American Express, which earns 5 Membership Rewards points per greenback on purchases made immediately with airways (on as much as $500,000 on these purchases per calendar 12 months). That earned us an extra 3,750 Membership Rewards, value $75 by TPG’s current valuation.

With the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®, you possibly can earn 30,000 bonus Virgin factors after spending $1,000 or extra in purchases throughout the first 90 days of account opening.

The data for the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.

TPG’s valuations peg Virgin factors at 1.5 cents every, so this welcome provide is value $450. Nevertheless, relying on how you utilize your factors, it’s possible you’ll get much more than $450 in worth from them. The cardboard additionally earns 3 Virgin factors per greenback spent on Virgin Atlantic tickets and duty-free objects bought immediately from Virgin Atlantic. This implies you will get a 4.5% return on these purchases based mostly on TPG’s valuations.

It’s also possible to switch American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One miles at a 1:1 ratio to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Membership program.

The Retreat Suite turns into obtainable to all Higher Class passengers 14 days earlier than departure. The primary two passengers to pay for it get it.

Passengers who’ve booked an Higher Class seat with money or any mileage forex (together with Virgin factors and Delta SkyMiles) are eligible to pick out the Retreat Suite by paying a further payment of 200 British kilos (about $248) on-line, which we did proper on the 14-day mark. Sadly, there is no such thing as a manner to make use of Virgin factors to pay this extra payment, although I hope the airline considers charging Virgin factors to order it (I might estimate the upcharge ought to be about 20,000 factors).

Passengers are usually not notified when the Retreat Suite turns into obtainable 14 days earlier than departure. As an alternative, it’s a good suggestion to set a calendar reminder to log in to your Virgin account, go to “Handle My Reserving” and choose or change your seat to 1D or 1F, making the extra cost on the identical time.


If the seat remains to be exhibiting as blocked with an X, it isn’t but obtainable; whether it is exhibiting as occupied, another person has overwhelmed you to it.

The bottom expertise at Heathrow is terrific

Passengers touring in Virgin Atlantic Higher Class, the Retreat Suite or Delta One can use Virgin’s particular Higher Class Wing to test in at Heathrow’s Terminal 3. It is a peaceable, refined and personal technique to begin your journey, with a non-public entrance, drop-off area and check-in desks.


Smiling employees members have been ready to assist take my baggage from the Uber I arrived in, and I used to be checked in inside seconds by the useful Virgin floor employees members of their good and distinctive fire-engine purple uniforms designed by the late Dame Vivienne Westwood.


The Higher Class Wing has its personal non-public safety channel.

Whereas the road initially appeared lengthy, it moved shortly and I used to be by to the airside part of Terminal 3 inside minutes.


From there, passengers can observe the indicators to the H lounges in Terminal 3, which is a couple of five-minute stroll from safety, and entry the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse there.

Higher Class passengers (together with these flying within the Retreat Suite), Delta One passengers and Gold members of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Membership program, in addition to SkyTeam Elite members (resembling Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallions) flying Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeromexico in any cabin, can entry the Clubhouse lounge at Terminal 3 earlier than departure.

Associated: Virgin Atlantic is now a member of SkyTeam — here are 6 things you need to know


This award-winning area stays one of many world’s greatest business-class lounges.


There are plenty of different zones to explore throughout 26,000 sq. toes, from Instagrammable picture backdrops to Peloton bikes and an outside rooftop for unbelievable planespotting alternatives.

A small deli counter gives chilly cuts, cheeses and contemporary bread for morning departures, however I like to recommend as a substitute discovering a seat within the eating space and ordering off the a la carte menu. My eggs Benedict have been a tasty technique to begin the day, washed down with a superb barista-made flat white espresso and a glass of Jacquart Rose Mosaique Champagne (retailing for round $40 a bottle.)

The Clubhouse lounge employees members have been terrific, continuously checking that I used to be OK and providing me extra of all the things. It’s a lounge effectively value arriving early for.


The leisure screens are large

Together with the spectacular 79-inch lie-flat mattress and 22-inch seat width, my favourite function of the Retreat Suite was the crisp touchscreen displaying Virgin’s Vera inflight leisure system. At 27 inches vast, it was considerably bigger than the 17.3-inch ones present in the remainder of the Higher Class cabin, and is extra like a display you might need in your front room than on an plane.

All the Higher Class seats, together with the Retreat Suites, have distant controls for the inflight leisure system with a enjoyable trackpad to regulate the cursor. There was a variety of greater than 100 films and virtually 100 tv exhibits, together with dozens of well-liked new releases and an interactive inflight map.

Wi-Fi was obtainable all through the flight, with pricing from 2.40 kilos (about $2.60) for a messaging-only choice as much as 16.80 kilos ($18) for the full-flight choice, with first rate speeds of 18 Mbps obtain and 6 Mbps add.

Retreat Suite passengers may also take pleasure in a studying gentle; USB-A, USB-C and common charging factors; and wi-fi telephone charging, all housed within the again right-hand facet of the suite. All you have to do is place your telephone on the lightning bolt icon on the again of the correct armrest, and it’ll start charging instantly if it is suitable. The sheer quantity of non-public area and spectacular tech is among the many better of any business-class seat.

The Retreat Suite facilities and meals are the identical as for the remainder of Higher Class

Although the Retreat Suite passengers have way more private area and a bigger inflight leisure display than different Higher Class passengers, the remainder of the expertise is identical as in enterprise class on all Virgin Atlantic flights. There was a fundamental amenity equipment comprised of crumpled recycled paper that was sustainable however not trendy. Inside was a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush from BambuuBrush and REN toiletries. A mattress pad, thick pillow and quilt have been additionally supplied for this daytime flight.


Chanoine Freres Reserve Privee Brut Champagne, retailing at round $45 a bottle, was served throughout boarding, in addition to juice and water.

Lunch service started shortly after takeoff with extra Champagne and Hambledon English glowing wine, prosecco and a selection of two totally different white and purple wines, together with a bowl of potato chips.


For lunch, I selected an appetizer referred to as “textures of beetroot” with goat-cheese mousse, heat artisanal bread and an entree of miso- and sesame-crusted salmon with candy potato puree, bok choy and a honey-ginger sauce. I opted for a really British heat candy brioche bread and butter pudding with contemporary cream for dessert.

All three dishes have been elegantly plated, served on the appropriate temperature and pleasing to the palate. I particularly loved the mix of the honey and ginger sauce with the salmon.

Relatively than a regimented second meal service, Higher Class (together with Retreat Suite) passengers have been inspired to order from a selection of small plates at any time till 45 minutes earlier than touchdown. I had the hen Caesar membership sandwich and the chickpea fritter and vegetable samosa. Whereas not as memorable because the lunch service, they did the job of satisfying my starvation till touchdown.

You’ll be able to dine with a companion in Retreat Suites

One of many options of the Retreat Suite that you simply will not discover in some other seats on the A330-900neo is the flexibility to dine with a companion. The crew can increase the suite’s footrest to kind a seat with its personal seat belt if turbulence strikes. Two passengers can face one another, and there is simply sufficient room on the tray desk for 2 place settings at mealtimes.


When two passengers are touring collectively within the two Retreat Suites, I’d argue it’s nonetheless extra snug to sit down facet by facet with the middle divider down, because the legroom is a bit tight with two passengers dealing with one another. In case you have a pal or member of the family touring in a daily Higher Class seat (maybe as a result of just one Retreat Suite was obtainable to order), eating with a companion is a singular expertise. Passengers seated in financial system or premium financial system are usually not permitted within the Retreat Suites.

Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suites already undergo upkeep points

Virgin Atlantic solely began flying its A330-900neos about 5 months in the past, so seeing and listening to of a number of upkeep points the Retreat Suites are already affected by was worrying.

The passenger within the Retreat Suite subsequent to me was as excited as I used to be to fly in one of many suites, having booked it specifically. He was imagined to be flying to Miami that day, however had been suggested by Virgin that the 1G Retreat Suite on his unique plane was inoperable and he must transfer to a daily Higher Class seat. As an alternative, he managed to maneuver to my flight to Tampa to order the second Retreat Suite on it as a substitute.


Whereas he acquired the seat expertise, it was nonetheless not fairly the total impact. Attempt as they may, the crew couldn’t increase the divider between our two Retreat Suites for your complete flight and admitted the quite a few mechanical shifting components within the seats have been vulnerable to breaking down. This made the seat far much less non-public than designed. With these points arising after only a few months of flying, I can solely think about the issues these seats might need just a few years from now.

Virgin’s A330-900neo social area is uncomfortable

Virgin is well-known for its onboard social areas. The older Airbus A330s, in addition to the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, function a bar on the rear of the Higher Class cabin the place business-class passengers can stretch their legs, mingle with one another and luxuriate in a made-to-order cocktail. It’s a enjoyable technique to cross the time on lengthy flights.

The bar on board a Virgin Atlantic 787. NICKY KELVIN/THE POINTS GUY

On the airline’s newer Airbus A350 aircraft, Virgin as a substitute selected a special idea for the area, which they named The Loft.

Extra of a lounge than a bar, it options banquettes with area for a number of individuals and seat belts, permitting passengers to remain there even when the seat belt signal is on, plus a big leisure display. It may show a shifting map, however it might additionally present films and TV exhibits, permitting Bluetooth connections to take heed to audio. On the leisure-configured version of the A350 with solely 4 rows of Higher Class, there is no such thing as a want for such a big social area, so Virgin as a substitute has The Sales space, a smaller area for 2 passengers to socialize, dine or work.

On the brand new A330-900neo, Virgin has a modified new social area on the rear of the Higher Class cabin, additionally named The Loft. The crew suggested me the realm has area for 4 individuals to sit down and 4 individuals to face, and options self-service fridges containing canned wine and cocktails and ice cream cups to encourage passengers to hang around and socialize.

The seats within the A330-900neo Loft are larger than these on the A350, and there is a motive for that. Virgin explained to TPG last year that passengers seated in The Loft love interacting with each the crew and different passengers mingling concerning the cabin. Having larger seats permits them to be nearer to the attention stage of these standing round them.

Sadly, the seats in The Loft on the A330-900neo are too excessive and too shallow to be snug and have been barely used throughout my nine-hour daytime flight to Tampa. What makes the design even worse is that a lot of the seating is on the entrance of The Loft, dealing with the rear of the aircraft. As a result of aircraft fly at a slight incline, these seats are angled barely downward whereas airborne, making them really feel a bit precarious.


After 5 minutes perched on these seats, I used to be prepared to go again to my Retreat Suite somewhat than mingle with a mixture of passengers and crew members.

Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suites are nonetheless well worth the surcharge

I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic’s Higher Class quite a few instances on quite a few routes, and it’s a constantly stable, pleasurable expertise.

My flight to Tampa on the brand new Virgin Atlantic A330-900neo was no exception. The meals was tasty, the Champagne chilled and the service skilled but pleasant. It is true that, past the spacious suite itself, the remainder of the expertise, from the airport lounge to the meals and beverage to the service, is strictly the identical as common Higher Class passengers obtain.

Nevertheless, the Retreat Suite is noticeably higher than the A330-900neo’s Higher Class suites, with a a lot bigger leisure display and the chance for eating with a companion, plus loads of area to your legs and toes in lie-flat mode in order that sleeping is extra snug than within the seats.


Mechanical points apart, Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite is arguably the very best all-around business-class product flying throughout the Atlantic for the time being, and well worth the surcharge of 200 British kilos for a nine-hour flight, particularly in case you are touring for an important day.

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