Virgin Australia has just launched a re-configured 777-300ER as of this week. The remaining 4 planes will be slowly reconfigured throughout the rest of this year.
OK - so what have they done besides introduce new 1-2-1 reverse herringbone (or 'sardine can' as I call them) seats in Business Class and staffed their on board bar?
Well a couple of things:
- increased business class capacity by 4 seats from 33 seats to 37
- reduced Premium Economy by 16 seats from 40 to 24
- Introduced a row of 'Economy Space +' seats
- reduced economy by ten seats from 288 to 278
- Removed 2 toilets
Yep, that's right, removed TWO toilets. Unless I can't read a legend correctly, there were 5 toilets 'reserved' for business passengers, and now there are 3.
Check out the side-by-side seating plans from the Virgin website below:
Ok - so you get direct isle access in the new sardine configuration, but does that necessarily help if you have to hold your legs together longer?
I was fortunate to travel in the old configuration to Los Angeles a few times in the early days of the service, thanks to a premium on transferring American Express points to the Velocity program. At that time, I thought it blew Qantas business class out of the water (Qantas still had sloping lie flat seats then). I'm not so sure about the new configuration. I'll reserve judgement until I get to try it.