Virgin Atlantic - the fleet

Virgin Atlantic’s modern fleet means that you’ll always fly in comfort and style. With state-of-the-art technology, Virgin flies a variety of models of different sizes and configurations, from the jumbo Boeing 747 to the ground-breaking Boeing 787. Take a look at Virgin’s aircrafts (and their characteristics) below.

Virgin’s newly refurbished B747-400’s embody the perfect combination of class, comfort and space. Split between a main lower deck and a smaller upper deck, these Jumbos consume up to 13 per cent less fuel than their older 70s models. There are three classes to choose from and all of them feature seats with touch-screen entertainment. Curious about seeing how a Boeing 747 is refurbished? Take a look at this Virgin Atlantic video of Barbarella getting a full upgrade.

Famously known as the Dreamliner given its unique attributes and cutting-edge design for optimum environmental performance, Virgin acquired its young fleet of 787s in October 2014 and plans are to replace the airline’s entire fleet with these models over the next few years. Advantages of flying in a 787 are avant-garde technology that allows for a 20% reduction in fuel emissions, a wider design that means more room for passengers and for overhead luggage, bigger windows and higher humidity thanks to the better quality of air inside. Flying on a Dreamliner indeed feels like a dream.

Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to introduce one of the longest civil aircraft ever made. At 75.3 metres, this plane can carry up to 350 passengers and as such is the largest capacity member of the Airbus A340 Family. Comfortable and spacious, Virgin’s modern fleet of A340s are configured with 45 Upper Class seats which recline 180 degrees, 38 Premium Economy seats and 233 Economy seats. All cabins feature touch-screen entertainment.

Having joined the Virgin Atlantic fleet in April 2011, this model measures close to 64 metres in length and features 3 cabins. With an almost equally long wingspan stretching some 60 metres. Boasting the largest of the A330s; twin engines, Virgin flies 10 of these beauties to a long list of destinations. Virgin Atlantic’s A330s configuration consists of 185 Economy seats, 48 Premium Economy reclining seats and 33 Upper Class seats that recline a full 180 degrees. Seats across all cabins include touch-screen entertainment.

This is Virgin Atlantic’s newest aircraft in the fleet and their brand new, shiny 2-cabin A330-200s will take to the skies starting March 2018. Come back to this space soon to find out more details as soon as they’re officially launched.


With over 30 years of flying experience to an ever-expanding range of worldwide destinations, Virgin Atlantic’s success story is built upon a strategy of innovation, efficiency and effectiveness. This outstanding British carrier has gone a long way from their first leased Jumbo to becoming the UK’s second largest long-haul airline. How did they get to where they are now? It involved a lot of risk-taking, pionering and dreaming big. Read on for the full inspirational story…

The eighties

The Eighties - A leap of faith

It all started, as most great things do with a brilliant idea and a relentless drive for success. Previously known for being the man behind Virgin Records, the label famous for signing big names in the industry like The Rolling Stones and Janet Jackson, Richard Branson took a major leap of faith when he announced to his gobsmacked directors that he would launch a high quality, good value for money airline in only three months! Indeed he made it happen, three months, a newly-leased Jumbo, newly-recruited staff and a plane packed with celebrities later, Virgin Atlantic was a solid dream come true. A few years later and by the end of the decade, the carrier had flown over one million passengers and had already started to shake things up in the industry by adding individual TVs to the back of their business class seats - the first airline to do so!

The nineties

The Nineties - Upping the game

Betting strong on his newly-created and already successful airline, Branson sold Virgin Music in 1992 to invest the proceeds in Virgin Atlantic and further improve its service. Shortly after, the first super economy service was launched, which eventually would become the airline’s award-winning Premium Economy. Throughout most of the nineties, Virgin Atlantic was busy acquiring new planes and expanding their route network, as well as setting higher standards for service, both in the air and on the ground, laying the foundations for even more innovation. At the turn of the decade, Branson decided to sell Singapore Airlines a 49 per cent stake in the airline, valued at a minimum of £1.225 billion at the time. It was in this same year, 1999, that Richard Branson was bestowed a knighthood by the Prince of Wales for his “services to entrepreneurship”.

The noughties

The Noughties - Exciting innovation

The new millennium saw Virgin Atlantic strive towards even more innovation. By 2003 the airline had launched its revolutionary Upper Class Suite, the most comfortable, longest flat bed in business class. Three years later, the airline debuted its first Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow, which opened in March 2006 (ten more Clubhouses would follow in the following years, springing up all across the world). Virgin’s flagship lounge had unique features, from a hair salon to a brasserie, a games room, a cocktail bar and a Cowshed Spa. Pioneering in on-the-ground customer service, Virgin Atlantic launched its brand new check-in facilities at London Heathrow Terminal Three in 2007. Zone A is now brighter, wider and more spacious for those flying Economy and Premium Economy and the new kiosks meant a faster and more stress-free check-in process. Simultaneously, the Upper Class wing was launched for Upper Class passengers, offering a private security corridor enabling passengers to journey from the terminal to the Clubhouse faster than ever before.

The world’s first flight by a commercial airline using biofuel was done by Virgin Atlantic in 2008, during a demonstration with Boeing and engine manufacturer GE Aviation on a journey between London and Amsterdam on a 747 aircraft. Not too long after, Virgin Atlantic ordered 15 of the new and revolutionary Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which burn approximately 27 per cent less fuel per passenger than the A340-300. Eventually, the plan is for these new planes to replace the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet.



Virgin Atlantic has been amassing awards and recognitions virtually since their story began. Take a look at their most recent accolades below:

Awards 2012

    Chartered Institute of Marketing's Travel Industry Group Awards
  • Travel Brand of the Year
  • Campaign of Year
  • Best TV Commercial
  • Best Press Campaign (Upper Class)
  • Best Website (VSFlyinghub – the global trade website not
  • Best Brochure - Little Red Book – the interactive online Flying Club brochure
    Travolution Awards
  • Best Airline Website

Awards 2013

    Online Retail Awards
  • Winner of the coveted ORA Prix d'OR (top accolade)
  • Best Leisure & Travel Website
    World Travel Awards 2013
  • London Heathrow clubhouse lounge, crowned winner of Europe's leading airline lounge 2013
    BIMA Awards 2013
  • Commended - Website User Experience
    Digital Impact Awards
  • Bronze - Best use of digital in the travel and leisure sector

Awards 2014

    Wearable Technology Show
  • Smart Technology Award
    Future Travel Experience Awards
  • Best Passenger Assistance Initiative
    Travolution Awards
  • Best Airline Website as voted for by consumers

Awards 2015

    Data Storytelling awards
  • Winner of the Real-time data and automation award
    World Travel Awards
  • Europe’s leading airline to North America
    M&IT Awards
  • Silver – Best airline for groups

Sustainability and mission statement

Virgin Atlantic is committed to developing sustainably and to that end, they’ve created a programme to look at ways of limiting their impact on the environment, whilst also fulfilling their motto of “embracing the human spirit and let it fly”. Keep reading to find out what is at the backbone of the airline’s strategy.



Change is in the Air is a programme that aims to reduce Virgin’s carbon footprint as well as invest in community projects. This focus on environmental impact means they’re always seeking to change things for the better.

Virgin Atlantic Statement

Mission Statement

Virgin Atlantic’s mission statement is at the core of everything they do. The airline’s motto “embrace the human spirit and let if fly” is at the heart of the company’s constant drive to innovate and revolutionise the travel industry.