I got the chance to experience Virgin's Upper Class Suite over the summer, JFK
on the A346, and let me tell you that the seats and the whole arrangement is overall very comfortable, and brilliant, IMHO.
I traveled with my family, and we were arranged two on the window side and two in the middle. We could look at each other and talk across the aisle, although it was not possible to have a quiet conversation. Usually when my family travels, though, we all drift off into our own little worlds until we land. Also, it really wasn't bad talking to the person next to you, when the seat is in the fully upright position. You will notice that the headrests come above the partition when they are fully upright. If you don't want to talk or look at anyone else, recline the seat a little bit and you end up below the partition and can go into your own little world.
From the looks of this too, I think I would like the Air Canada seat over the Virgin seat because it was not possible to put the Virgin seat into the cradle position. You could recline it somewhat, but the actual seat merely slid out a little further to bring you below the partition. To turn the seat into the full bed you have to get out of the seat and push a button that flips the seatback over to create the flat surface. The back of the seatback has a different material that is very comfortable though. And it really is flat.
It was great being able to have a truly flat surface for the overnight flight. I have never flown in any other international business product before, but this was amazing. It was great because when you laid down, your space wasn't violated by anyone snoring or any lights coming from anywhere. It is very quiet, dark, and cozy. If I were a business traveler, I would take that seat over anything else. Another benefit is not having to disturb someone to get to the aisle. All you do is stand up, and you are in the aisle.
Its also amazing all the little storage spaces that Virgin incorporated into the seat, and it looks like the Air Canada seat has a little bit more. There were about five different areas that you could put stuff. If you notice the first pic in reply 5, the rectangle in the lower right of the screen popped up on VS
, and you could put smaller articles in there, and put it back down into the seat. That way no one really has easy access to anything that you have that may be valuable.
I do admit though that the Air Canada aisles look a bit narrower that Virgin.
|Quoting MartinairYYZ (Reply 13):|
Looks very uncomfy... couldn't expect more from AC....... the seats are crammed in like sardines, and the aisles are made for a toddler.......
On my return flight there was a very large woman, and I do mean very large, seated in one of the seats, and she seemed to have no problem. Its really not as cramped as it appears. While I am not sure what the height comparison is between VS
and the new AC
seats, it actually felt very open and accessible.
|Quoting MarshalN (Reply 15):|
I would think that might have safety issues -- like during an emergency evacuation it might make it difficult for pax to find the nearest open exit, etc
I don't know about the whole emergency exit situation, but the seats on Virgin, and I would assume these seats as well, can be in the reclined position for landing. I don't know the exact reason why, but I would venture to guess that it is because each person has direct aisle access, and the seat in front does not restrict the anyone's aisle access in the row behind.
|Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 16):|
I would hate those walls. It also looks like there is no view out of the window!
|Quoting Bohlman (Reply 19):|
I've been waiting for somebody to say something along these lines. I'd hate it too. Something about sitting in a cubicle with no outside view just bothers me, i guess.
The view out the window is not that great. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't look out, but VS
had an amazing entertainment system that kept me occupied for nearly 7.5 hours, so I was happy. To look out the window, you have to recline the seat and turn your head back a little bit, and it is somewhat uncomfortable. It is manageable though, but not for extended periods of time. I even got a few good pictures.
However, on an overnight flight especially, VS
asked that we all keep our window shades down so that night lasted longer inside the cabin. We took off from JFK
at 11:30pm, and less than three hours into the flight, I peeked open my window to discover full daylight...and very bright daylight at that. Therefore, a window view really didn't matter then. We didn't open the windows until about 45 minutes out of London.
Also, its really not that weird on takeoff. You do get pressed up against the partition a little bit, but it isn't that forceful or bothersome.
On the downside, the little footrest seat really serves no other purpose than a footrest. It could be a seat, but it would be very cramped to have to people sitting together having a face-to-face conversation. Overall, this seat is truly targeted towards business travelers. Families with smaller children would probably have difficulty functioning in these seats.
Hope this answered some of the questions or points. In my opinion, its a great idea and very comfortable. And there did seem to be a very positive response (as in, nearly everyone was sleeping in the fully flat position).
If you ever get the chance, give the seats a try. I was extremely impressed.