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Virgin Blue Launches 'Premium Economy'



Virgin Blue Airlines today announced its new top end “Premium Economy” product is now on sale and will be comprehensively launched across the Australian domestic network for travel from 15 March 2008 with Sydney-Canberra as the first route of the day.


The airline confirmed late last year at its Annual General Meeting it would introduce its latest product innovation aimed at catering to the premium end of the travel market.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said, “One of the major benefits of Premium Economy, particularly for the business traveller, is that it provides a streamlined and hassle-free way to travel. Not only do they get Priority Check-in and all the other additional benefits such as more personal space, Premium seating is at the front of the aircraft which means they can make a quick exit when they land to get on with the rest of their day.”


The first three rows of the airline’s Boeing aircraft will be fitted with red leather Recaro seats and both the Boeing and EMBRAER aircraft will offer the new Premium Economy product.


Over the past three months, the Boeing aircraft have been fitted with the Recaro seating with 70% of the fleet currently fitted and the entire fleet to be fitted in time for launch on March 15.


The introduction of a domestic premium product is a reflection of the airline’s ongoing New World Carrier strategy which is aimed at catering to the needs of contemporary business travellers.


Premium Economy is now on sale across the entire network and is competitively priced to reflect the range of product inclusions on a route by route basis. As a sample:


Sydney-Melbourne Premium Economy fare   $389* one way on the internet

Canberra-Sydney Premium Economy fare  $269* one way on the internet

Brisbane-Sydney Premium Economy fare  $399* one way on the internet

Melbourne-Brisbane Premium Economy fare  $599* one way on the internet

Adelaide-Sydney Premium Economy fare  $499* one way on the internet


The Premium Economy seats can be smoothly and quickly converted to offer a maximum of 12 premier seats or Virgin Blue’s standard 3 x 3 seat configuration on the Boeing jets.


Premium Economy will offer:


2 x 2 seating compared to the current 3 x 3 seating on all Boeing aircraft

Comfortable leather seating with additional leg room through an increased seat pitch of at least 34 inches* as well as increased seat width, translating to increased personal space and comfort. The middle seat on the Boeing is transformed into a personal cocktail table for refreshments leaving the highly desirable window and aisle seats available for Premium Economy Guests

* A minor percentage of seats are at 33 inches

Priority Check-in (or web-check in & Kiosk Check-in for those who prefer this efficient means of checking themselves in)

Priority Boarding

Increased checked baggage allowance of 32 kg

Complimentary access to The Lounge facilities in primary ports of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney

Fully Flexible and fully refundable fares.

Virgin Blue’s existing Blue Zone seating featuring additional leg room in the over wing emergency exits will remain, however the first row of the aircraft will become a Premium Economy seat option so will no longer be available as Blue Zone.


* Standard terms and conditions apply


Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of  60 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 24 Australian and eight international destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.  Virgin Blue was the first airline in the world to launch a Government-certified carbon offset program, where Guests can offset the carbon emissions from their flights. Virgin Blue Group has also announced plans to launch Australia's newest international airline, V Australia, set to commence flights between Australia and the USA from late 2008, subject to regulatory approvals