Virgin Australia's Business Class cabin design infuses international style and sophistication, helping to reposition the airline's service for premium travellers. Tangerine identified that aircraft cabins often lack variation in surfaces because of the way parts of the interior are manufactured and certified, tending to leave cabins flat with a utilitarian feel. A rich tapestry of bespoke materials and textures was designed for the cabin, creating a sumptuous environment. The design of innovative form, plays with the way light & shadow falls, creating a more spacious feeling. Ventilation gaps around the IFE monitor, previously crudely detailed, are cleverly hidden in shadow lines to create a clean, refined space.
The curved seat shell is extended to improve privacy and creates a sense of drama in the cabin. To accommodate modern travellers, bringing their own smart devices, a unique stowage cabinet allows passengers easy-access from boarding until touch down. Individual mood lighting is integrated into each seat, creating an intimate atmosphere. Touch screen seat controls are designed to make the button layout more comprehensible and faster to use. Passengers can easily personalise the suites for their comfort, giving more time to relax and enjoy their flight. The aesthetic of the cabin is expressed from the broad impression of the design, all the way down to the fine details at the end of the passenger's finger tips.
The cabin design complies with the strict certification, safety and regulatory requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority. The materials selected for the design passed all applicable smoke and toxicity testing. The seating design underwent 16g and 9g dynamic tests to measure the structural safety of the seating. This ensures the seating remains secured to the airframe and cannot deform in dangerous ways that could put passengers at risk upon impact. Within these strict requirements, tangerine found ways to differentiate Virgin Australia's cabins through the creation of a unique design and bespoke materials created especially for the airline.
A number of weight savings innovations were created leading to improved fuel efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint. Cabin dividing curtains incorporate both sateen and satin constructions within a single woven layer. This gives a luxurious curtain that is lightweight and minimises weight on board, improving fuel efficiency. Lightweight, durable carpet is selected for the aisles where wear is high, this reduces weight and the need for replacement. All of the assemblies on the seat are easy to remove, refinish and replace. Durable laminate finishes are applied to the exterior surfaces to extend the life of the product and custom designed high performance fabrics reduce cleaning and replacement cycles.
The design creates a high quality cabin interior, helping to reposition the airline as a premium carrier. Texture and quality production techniques introduce a richness and depth to make the interior distinctive. High-quality materials & finishes ensure comfort for long sector flights whilst maintaining a long-life, quality appearance. Bespoke laminates, painted finishes and metal accents bring warmth and dynamism to the cabin. A reduction in part count and split-lines increases the quality of fit. All technical engineering details are hidden from the passenger, creating a seamless, refined product. The design creates an impression of a unique, high-end carrier for the lower price of a catalogue interior.
The design significantly improves the quality of Business Class whilst maintaining a similar ticket price, improving value for money. Staff are proud to serve the new cabins and guest satisfaction has improved, increasing brand value. Virgin Australia's 2015 Guest Satisfaction Survey found 84% of customers, who had also travelled on another global airline's domestic business class, believe Virgin Australia's to be the best in the World. Product consistency on A330 & B777 provides maintenance and support savings & streamlines staff training. The B777 space saving layout integrates seating with the bar area to provide an outstanding service whilst protecting seat numbers, delivering revenue worth $10-15m annually.
The design contributes to Virgin Australia's repositioning as a premium carrier. The business class leads competition in domestic routes, with 80” lie flat beds - World's longest and widest domestic business class bed. Bespoke materials introduce a rich tapestry of textures to create a sumptuous cabin. The innovative use of light and shade adds depth and drama to the suites, with louvered privacy screens contrasting the sparkling metallic finish on adjacent surfaces, creating an illusion of space without incurring extra cost. The innovative B777 layout integrates seating and the bar to save 29” of floor space. This maintains critical seat count whilst creating a spacious bar & lounge with a face-to-face service.