Airlines and Destinations: Virgin Atlantic Airways is offering a new dining service in all of its Economy Class cabins as part of the airline’s recently introduced £100 million ($160 million) product investment.
“We have a passionate team of food experts, hospitality managers and designers who have put every single aspect of our meals service under the microscope and our goal was to make sure that any ideas we came up with made our passengers’ journey even better than it was before,” says Paul Sands, head of customer experience for Virgin Atlantic Airways. “After a difficult period for the industry we have invested £100 million into our product and the result is the best meal experience ever in our economy cabin.”
Now available on all Virgin Atlantic flights, the new meal service is intended to create a more restaurant-like environment, using a redesigned menu which aims to offer a fresh approach to dining at 30,000 feet. Upon reaching cruising altitude, passengers are offered a ‘welcome cocktail’ – a refreshing blend of fruit juices served “virgin” or with vodka.
The ‘welcome cocktail’ is served in a new purple glass and finished with a red swizzle stick.
Following the new beverage service, Economy Class passengers will have the option of selecting a main course from a menu featuring a selection of fresh and inventive dining options.
The redesigned and upgraded meal service will be presented on smaller, soft-touch, non-slip metal trays with redesigned cutlery to give economy-class passengers more space to eat their meals and sample their overall in-flight experience.
Passengers will be offered a new dessert menu, featuring a rotating array of dessert items intended to entice the palate. In addition to a choice of coffee or tea, Virgin Atlantic will begin offering hot chocolate on evening flights.
When the lights are dimmed and the in-flight movies begin, a retro movie-theater environment is created as Virgin Atlantic’s flight attendants make their way through the aisles of the aircraft wearing custom-designed usherette trays, serving passengers treats which include the on-board ice cream and popcorn for which Virgin Atlantic is known.
Virgin Atlantic says that, with environmental sustainability constantly at the forefront of all of the airline’s initiatives, its new in-flight dining service has made significant enhancements in this area.
The new soft-touch tray removes the previously used paper tray liner and is 46 per cent more greenhouse-gas efficient over its life cycle than the tray it replaces, according to Virgin Atlantic The new menu is also printed on Forest Stewardship Council-approved, part-recycled paper.
With these changes, Virgin Atlantic says it will save 132 kilograms of weight per aircraft. The airline says that, compared with the fuel-burn and CO2 emissions resulting from the weight of its previous dining service, the new service will offer a 4 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, the same amount used to produce 167,000 new Economy Class glasses.