Thank you Sir Richard - Branson of course - for a ride on one of your brand new Airbus A330-300 aeroplanes across the Atlantic today.
Virgin Atlantic introduced the first of its new A330 aircraft ‘Beauty Queen’ on the Manchester to Orlando route just this April, with the second ‘Mademoiselle Rouge’ following on the Gatwick-Orlando schedule from early May.
According to Virgin, the A330 deliver savings in emissions and fuel consumption, and offers customers a ‘cutting-edge product which will transform their flying experience’.
Within two years Virgin will be flying 10 of the long range twin-engined aircraft which are among the most efficient aircraft in their class today. All will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines manufactured in Derby, UK.
The new planes, which will use 15 per cent less fuel per seat than the airline's A340-300 aircraft, also feature a revolutionary new in-flight entertainment system created by Panasonic. It uses the latest touch screen technology and features over 300 hours of content.
And so was my flying experience transformed by Mademoiselle Rouge? I have to say it was a pretty good flight all round, with lower noise levels and much improved seating arrangements in economy class.
As for the entertainment system - that’s pretty cool too with 65 of the latest films to watch ‘on demand’, and a bewildering range of TV programmes, news flashes, music and games to keep you glued to the screen.
But, no matter how good the ‘facilities’, after nine hours in the air I’m more than ready to leave the confines of an A330.
Ninety minutes after the smoothest of landings I was through customs and car hire, heading out in the bright evening sunshine to the east coast of Florida where a craft of an altogether different era is waiting patiently on its launch pad.