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Virgin deputy chief talks of Wi-Fi and Economy X

May 16, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

John Thomas, Virgin Australia’s group executive and second in charge, outlined the thinking behind the airline’s new Economy X class to media at ATE17 in Sydney yesterday, and revealed that pre-sales of the new class are running 7% ahead of expectation.

“Space in the air and speed on the ground,” is what travellers want, Thomas said. Economy X is geared to give them more legroom and make the boarding faster.

Thomas added that the final pricing of inflight Wi-Fi has yet to be decided but it will probably be a mix of free and paid-for. Australians wanted it free while other people were prepared to pay for it, he quipped.

It will be really fast. In tests it is running at about 20 megabytes per second and it would be 10 times faster in five years time, Thomas said.

Thomas, who has created quite a name for himself over a 25-year career in the airline industry, latterly in the US, has been with Virgin eight months.

John Thomas. Group executive. Virgin Australia

“We want to create the world’s most rewarding travel experience,” he said yesterday. The total experience was what travellers remembered, rather than elements.

Economy X is being rolled out on all 75 of the airline’s B737 fleet, domestic and international. There will be 30 Economy X seats on each, so about 20% of the fleet. For a modest amount extra on the fare, passengers will get more legroom, reserved overhead baggage storage and priority boarding.

Economy X will occupy the first rows in economy and the seats will have 34-inch pitch, which Thomas said was far more generous than the Australian economy class standard of 30-inches and made a measureable difference.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Virgin is clearly trying become a one aircraft fleet, namely the B737. They’d already announced they were getting rid of the lovely Embraer jets, and now they’re reducing the ATR fleet, which are very slow aircraft that get trounced on by Qantaslink’s Dash 8-400s. They’re codesharing routes out to people like Alliance Airlines. I would expect them to eventually serve only the largest cities with an all 737 fleet. One wonders with Economy X how much this will dilute Business Class sales. On routes like SYD-MEL most people only go up the front for some extra space.

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