Retreat Suite: How to book Virgin Atlantic’s best business-class seat


Virgin Atlantic has a special new business-class product that you can book with points and miles, plus cash.

The airline’s new Airbus A330-900neo features two larger business-class suites at the very front of the Upper Class cabin in 1D and 1G, which Virgin has named the Retreat Suites to reflect the superior personal space and comfort compared with the rest of the seats in the business-class cabin.

Here’s what you need to know about booking this terrific product.

Related: Virgin Atlantic reveals glorious new Upper Class ‘Retreat Suites’ for its Airbus A330neo fleet

What is the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite?

All the Upper Class seats on the A330-900neo feature 22 inches of width, direct aisle access, sliding doors (turning the seat into a suite) and lie-flat beds. However, the Retreat Suites have additional amenities:

  • A significantly larger inflight entertainment screen.
  • Two inches of extra legroom.
  • Unrestricted foot space (so no need to slide your legs into a cubbyhole for sleeping).
  • The option to dine with a companion.
  • A larger tray table that can be set for two passengers.
  • A large additional storage bin to the right of the footrest.

Both suites have slightly different layouts and benefits — 1D has a larger panel in the center console perfect to rest a laptop, headphones or handbag on (especially if you are right-handed), while 1G is farther from the aisle with a little more space to stand up in your suite.


While this means 1D is a bit closer to the aisle than 1G, the closing doors largely negate any extra privacy that might offer.

Where does the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite fly?

The Retreat Suite is only installed on Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-900neos, and the airline only has three in its fleet so far, with another due to enter service in April. The carrier has 12 more on order after that.

Moreover, there are just two Retreat Suites on each aircraft, in the center of the front of the Upper Class cabin (seats 1D and 1G).

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That means there are few chances to book the Retreat Suite. In the near future, though, you will be able to find it on the following routes, flight numbers and frequencies:

  • Between London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): Daily from April 7 onward (VS103/104).
  • Between London and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS): Daily, except for April 2-4, 10, 17 and 24 (VS11/12).
  • Between London and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): Daily, except for April 11, 18, 25 and 30 (VS9/4).
  • Between London and Miami International Airport (MIA): April 5 and 6 only (VS5/118).
  • Between London and Tampa International Airport (TPA): Daily, except for April 5 and 6 (VS129/130).

Schedules remain subject to change, and there can be last-minute operational shifts, so before you book anything, check your flight’s aircraft type and seat map. Upper Class passengers who have paid the additional fee to select the Retreat Suite can receive a refund if an aircraft swap means their new plane does not have an available Retreat Suite.

Related: 10 things to know about Virgin Atlantic’s brand-new Airbus A330neo


How do I book the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite?

To reserve the Retreat Suite, you must first book a regular Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seat on an A330-900neo-operated flight. This can be a cash ticket, an upgrade using Virgin points or an award seat booked with Virgin points. Eligible tickets also include those booked using partner programs such as Delta SkyMiles or Air France-KLM Flying Blue.

One-way Upper Class seats between the U.S. and United Kingdom require 47,500 Virgin points on standard dates or 57,500 Virgin points on peak dates, though you’ll also need to pay hefty fees, taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges.

Thankfully, earning Virgin points is very easy for many travelers, as the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of the following credit card programs:

Once you have a confirmed ticket, the waiting begins. That’s because the Retreat Suites only become available 14 days before departure. Before this time, the seats (1D and 1G) will be unoccupied but blocked with an “X.”


Any passenger with a confirmed Upper Class ticket (booked with cash, or points and miles of any currency) can select the Retreat Suite by paying an additional fee of 200 British pounds (about $248) online, beginning 14 days before departure. Unfortunately, there is no way to use Virgin points to pay this additional fee, though I hope the airline considers this option in the future (I’d estimate the upcharge should be about 20,000 points).

Passengers are not notified when the suite becomes available. Instead, if you’re interested in snagging one of those seats, you may want to set a calendar reminder for 14 days before your flight. At that point, you’ll be able to pull up your reservation, select 1D or 1F and submit the additional payment.

After the first two travelers have reserved the Retreat Suites, the rest of the Upper Class cabin will have to settle for the carrier’s regular seats (which are free of charge and can be selected at any time after ticketing).


If the seat is still showing as blocked with an X, it is not yet available. However, if it is showing as occupied, someone else has beaten you to it.

Bottom line

The Retreat Suite is noticeably better than the A330-900neo’s Upper Class suites, with a much larger entertainment screen and the opportunity for dining with a companion. You’ll also find plenty of space for your legs and feet in lie-flat mode so that sleeping is more comfortable than in the regular seats.

It is arguably the best all-around business-class product flying across the Atlantic at the moment, and worth the surcharge of 200 British pounds for a nine-hour flight, especially if you are traveling for a special occasion. Even better? It can be booked with a combination of points and miles and cash.


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