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Virgin Zones In On Economy

April 9, 2007 By: Jennifer Merritt Travel Agent

While other carriers battle it out over first-class
customers, Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines is courting the economy market.
Last September, the carrier announced it would spend £12 million revamping its
"Premium Economy" class, an offering of business-class amenities with
an economy-friendly price.

Virgin is currently rolling out larger seats and more of
them. By September 2006, the airline increased the Premium Economy seats on its
fleet by one-third. It claims the seats are wider than its competitor British
Airways' Club World seats, and that they incorporate ergonomics, dual position
footrests, lumbar support and adjustable headrests with wings. The leather
seats also provide passengers with laptop power sockets. New services include
an additional meal service and an amenity kit, as well as fruit throughout the

Virgin Atlantic says that the investment was made because
its Premium Economy class is worth half a billion pounds per year.
"Passengers are changing the way they travel, with many leisure passengers
opting for a more business-class-orientated service for which Premium Economy
fits the bill," says Joe Ferry, head of design for Virgin Atlantic.
"We have extended that business-class feel further by taking the knowledge
from designing our multi-award winning Upper Class Suite and integrating it
into enhanced design and comfort for the new Premium Economy seat."

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