I recently reviewed the new Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 in Upper Class and remarked that the lounge area was wasted space. But Virgin’s creative use of this space onboard its leisure-configured A350s, dubbed “The Booth,” is pure genius if marketed correctly.
I Love The Concept Of “The Booth” Onboard New Virgin Atlantic A350s
Virgin Atlantic will shortly begin taking delivery of five specially-configured A350s for its leisure markets. These aircraft will feature:
- 16 “Upper Class” (business class) seats
- 56 premium economy seats
- 335 economy seats
For reference, Virgin’s first seven A350s include a much more premium configuration:
- 44 “Upper Class” (business class) seats
- 56 premium economy seats
- 235 economy seats
The premium configuration includes “The Loft” – a seating area with a pair of couches facing each other.
While it’s great for congregating and for families with children, I noticed that it remained empty during my flight to Los Angeles and I understand why: the new business class seats are so comfortable you just do not feel like getting up.
Because the “leisure” A350s have a much smaller premium cabin, including “The Loft” is not practical. Business class will no longer take up all the real estate between Door 1 and Door 2 and placing a pair of large couches in the middle of the premium economy cabin just does not make sense.
Instead, Virgin Atlantic will introduce what it calls “The Booth.” This will be a smaller area with a table and two seats, allowing passengers to dine or sit together.
I love this concept because I think there is great revenue potential and something special about offering economy (and even premium economy) passengers a chance to reserve that space and enjoy a premium meal and room to stretch for a portion of the flight.
Now mind you, this is not the plan for this space. But I know that as an economy class passenger, I would gladly pay £100 for a “date” with my wife in a couple of seats in which we could stretch out and enjoy a nicer meal than the one-tray slop in economy class.
Imagine if Virgin Atlantic marketed this space as a “break” from economy class and took advance reservations. On a flight from London to Barbados, for example, nine hours in length, Virgin could offer 7-8 seatings. Not only would it be a revenue-generator, but it would give economy class passengers a very special memory, which would endear the Virgin Atlantic brand to many.
While “lounge” space onboard is often wasted space, Virgin’s new “The Booth” concept could be a game-changer and actually effectively use space and monetize it. I’m excited to see what Virgin Atlantic does with this new concept.
How much would you pay to escape from economy class for an hour on a transatlantic flight in order to enjoy room to stretch out and a nice meal?
(H/T: God Save The Points)