Aircraft Interiors International was proud to be part of the launch celebrations onboard ‘Birthday Girl’, the first of Virgin Atlantic’s 16 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The inaugural flight began with a few cocktails and relaxation time, but the Panasonic eX3 IFE system was soon upstaged by a new form of inflight entertainment: a live inflight music event starring UK artists and DJs, Rudimental and Gorgon City. We have never experienced a full-on party at 30,000ft before – indeed it was a world first – but we sincerely hope to do so again.
The DJs performed on the new Upper Class bar, designed by Virgin Atlantic and Viewport, and manufactured by Altitude Aerospace Interiors. There was only one report of damage in the area, courtesy of a particularly enthusiastic Rudimental fan, but the bar passed one of the most challenging durability tests it will ever undergo.
Even the lavs didn’t escape the rock n’ roll experience, with a confirmed ‘mile high’ celebration – this was a Virgin event after all, with a capital ‘V’. As Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic quipped, “We design the sinks to be very comfortable, and we’re not the kind of airline to bang on lavatory doors. We like people to leave our planes with a smile.”
While the party reflected the fun-loving spirit of the airline, during quieter moments one could appreciate the depth of detail in Upper Class, with finishes revealing themselves as the natural and LED lighting changed during the flight. There is a maturity – a surprising sense of reserve even – in the cabin designs, with the Virgin verve and color shining through the gorgeous Vivienne Westwood crew uniforms and the bespoke LED lighting system. We still love the A330 Upper Class designs, but by removing a little ‘bling’ and adding a little more sophistication, the Dreamliner interior reflects an airline with a serious sense of purpose – Virgin Atlantic is 30 now, after all.
Full details of the cabins – including the third-generation Upper Class Suite, the new bar area and the new premium economy, including the ‘Wander Wall’ destination space – will be revealed in the November issue of Aircraft Interiors International. As ever, we have interviewed the key personalities involved in the project and investigated every detail of the interior, which we can’t wait to share.