This New Aircraft Has Virgin Atlantic's First-ever 'Retreat Suites' — and Lie-flat Seats With Closing Doors

Virgin Atlantic is now flying four Airbus A330neo-900 aircraft — here's how to get on board.

The Virgin Atlantic A330-Neo flying through clouds

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

There's never been a better time to fly Virgin Atlantic. With the delivery of four A330neo-900 aircraft last fall, the airline is now flying its most advanced plane yet — daily from New York-JFK and Tampa, and on select flights from Boston, Miami, and Atlanta, to London's Heathrow Airport.

"This is our best experience nose to tail," said Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic's chief customer and operating officer, at a showcase for the aircraft earlier this month. The aircraft has improvements throughout that make flying more comfortable and convenient for passengers seated in every cabin, not just business class.

The Upper Loft on board the Virgin Atlantic A330-Neo

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Of course, business class, which is called Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, offers the best seats in the house. For the first time ever on the airline, the lie-flat seats have fully closing doors, making them true suites comparable to other top airlines. (The suites, which are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout, are still cubicle-style, though, as their walls don't reach the ceiling of the cabin.) The cabin also includes a social space called the Loft, where Upper Class passengers can congregate during the flight — there's even a self-service fridge with low- and no-alcohol beverages, plus an ice cream freezer.

The Upper Seats on board the Virgin Atlantic A330-Neo

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

The Upper J+ seat on board the Virgin Atlantic A330-Neo

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

But what truly stands out in the cabin are the new Retreat Suites. There are two in the first row, and they provide even more space than the other Upper Class suites. Most notably, they have a foot ottoman that can serve as a second seat — when you pull the tray table out, it's easy to have a meal with a travel companion as if you were seated at a true table rather than an airplane seat. The Retreat Suites can only be booked by existing Upper Class passengers; bookings open 14 days before departure, and the upgrade costs £200 per seat.

Another big improvement across both Upper Class and Premium, Virgin Atlantic's premium economy offering, is the addition of wireless charging stations, though there are USB ports and power outlets, too. Additionally, the in-flight entertainment systems throughout the entire aircraft have Bluetooth connectivity, so you can watch movies using your wireless headphones.

The Premium seats on board the Virgin Atlantic A330-Neo

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

And don't worry — economy has improvements, too. "With economy, we've actually uplifted screen size to 13.3-inch monitors, so it's a really healthy screen size compared to other economy offerings on the market," said Henry Buckley, Virgin Atlantic's senior manager of experience design. By comparison, Virgin Atlantic's A350 aircraft has 11.6-inch screens in the economy cabin. "And again, we have that Bluetooth connectivity, so at every seat, you can connect your headsets there," Buckley added.

Beyond its advanced cabin design, the A330neo-900 is also the most fuel-efficient aircraft in Virgin Atlantic's fleet — it uses 11 percent less fuel than the airline's other planes, which means fewer emissions. (One small contribution to its fuel efficiency is that the plane has a leather-free interior, using instead a synthetic alternative that's more lightweight than leather.)

While there are four Virgin Atlantic A330neo-900s flying today, the airline has an order for 16 of the planes in total.

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