Seat wars: How Qantas and Virgin Australia’s new business class designs compare

Seat wars: How Qantas and Virgin Australia’s new business class designs compare

The competition for business class travellers is hotting up as both Virgin and Qantas compete for an increasing share of the business traveler market.  This can only be good for travelers as more comfortable seats become available for flights – a direct response to the competitive need for the ultimate travel experience.  The Business Class sections for both Virgin and Qantas have been upgraded, making travel comfort a premium across their services.

But how do they compare?  We’ve found this great article “Seat wars: How Qantas and Virgin Australia’s new business class designs compare” from Robyn Ironside National Aviation Writer, News Corp Australia NetworkRead on for the full article!

Virgin Australia’s new business class suites, to be installed on the A330 and 777 fleets.

ECONOMY class cabins on some Virgin Australia aircraft are set to shrink to allow more big-dollar business suites on board.

Under a strategy unveiled by CEO John Borghetti in Singapore yesterday, Virgin Australia will redesign the cabins of its A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft from March next year, to better meet the needs of the corporate traveller.

The plan will see business seats on board the 777s grow from 33 to 37 as premium economy and economy seats are cut by 25.

Virgin Australia's new lie-flat business-class seats.bu

Virgin Australia’s new lie-flat business class seat.

A330s will retain 250 “cheap” seats and lose four business seats to allow room for 20 new suites featuring lie flat beds, privacy screens and extra workspace.

Mr Borghetti said the strategy would deliver a greater return per seat for Virgin than the current format because of expected higher fares for the new suites.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti launches the airline’s new business class suites.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti launches the airline’s new business class suites.

The cabin reconfiguration would mean up to 42 economy class seats would also get more leg space, Mr Borghetti said.

“There will be some seats in economy where there’ll be enough enhancement in the seat pitch to allow us to sell it for a premium,” said Mr Borghetti.

“The business case shows very strongly that the result will be improving. We wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.”

Virgin Australia's new business class fit-out.

Virgin Australia’s revolutionary new business class.

The strategy follows on from Qantas’ announcement last year of a new business class suite on its A330s being rolled out later this year.

Mr Borghetti said the Qantas design had given Virgin new ideas about its own redesign, which he believed would give it the upper hand.

“I think what we’ve come up with is exceptional,” he said.

“What we want to do is not just maintain the leadership in the products we’ve established, we want to leapfrog, we want to go one step further.”

Qantas unveiled its new A330 business class suite last year.

Qantas unveiled its new A330 business class suite last year.

The travel industry welcomed the innovation and ongoing rivalry between Qantas and Virgin.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents CEO Jayson Westbury said in a competitive environment the seat could “often be the factor that influences a business class passenger”.

“You would be surprised how Australians gravitate to business class — particularly when it is a good product,” said Mr Westbury.

An artist’s impression of Qantas’ new business class suite.

An artist’s impression of Qantas’ new business class suite.

Acting Tourism and Transport Forum chief Trent Zimmerman also welcomed the plans unveiled by Virgin.

“Innovation and improvement are critical in the extremely competitive world of global aviation and this Investment will ensure Virgin Australia can continue to offer world-class service and comfort,” said Mr Zimmerman.

Qantas’ new suites will beat Virgin to the marketplace and the airline remained confident of retaining the lion’s share of the corporate dollar.

“The great thing about competition is that customers get to decide which product they think is better, rather than relying on all the hype,” said a Qantas spokeswoman.

Why Virgin Australia claims its business seats are better

(with Qantas stats in brackets)

In the Boeing 777: Seat width 71cm (54.6cm)

Bed width: 71cm (61cm)

Bed length: 203cm (203cm)

Inflight entertainment unit: 43cm (30.7cm)

In the A330 seat width: 71cm (61cm)

Bed width: 71cm (63.5cm)

Bed length: 203cm (201cm)

Virgin’s share of corporate market: 25-26 per cent

Qantas: 74-75 per cent

Where it will be by 2017 (according to Virgin): 30 per cent and rising

Qantas: 70 per cent and falling

In summary

We hope you like the above article.  We think it summarises perfectly the differences between what is available for business class travelers of both Virgin and Qantas.

Many travelers are keen to stick with Australia’s longest running (and probably favourite) airline, but Virgin remains a strong competitor in the aviation market.  Now, its for you to decide who you prefer!

…and… if you are looking for a resort-style luxury beachfront holiday home for your family holiday, romantic break  wedding accommodation, (watch our video here), or a girls getaway  contact us at La Maison Pacifique for availability and a quote….  Remember, our rates compare really well with local 5-star resorts – and La Maison Pacifique is private – on the beach – walking distance to cafes at Cabarita Beach – perfect spot for whale watching (June to November each year) – children optional!

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Di Hendy
Property Consultant & Interior Designer
La Maison Pacifique
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