Virgin Atlantic launches first “eco” flight from London to Florida with the promise of a “guilt-free journey”

Virgin Atlantic launched the first direct flight between London and Florida using “the greenest plane in the skies”.

The inaugural flight to Tampa departed Heathrow at 8:00 am on Tuesday and is expected to arrive at Tampa International Airport 10 hours later, at 2:00 pm local time.

An Airbus A330neo, nicknamed Billie Holiday, was used for the flight. Virgin is the first UK airline to fly the plane, which is described as “one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky”.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said the A330neo planes paved the way for “guilt-free travel”.

Eight Miles High: The Wandering Hands provides in-flight entertainment on the way to Tampa (Ross Lydall)

Before a band called The Wandering Hands provided live in-flight entertainment, Weiss told the Evening Standard: “To get to a place where there is guilt-free travel is exactly where we all need to go.

“The number one thing airlines need to do is fly the youngest fleet in the sky. This significantly reduces carbon emissions. We are flying on a brand new A330-900neo, from Airbus. The aircraft it replaces, the A330, which is good, is 11% less efficient.

“Over the past ten years we have reduced our carbon emissions by 36%, despite the fact that we fly 6% more. We ask other airlines to do exactly the same: invest and have the youngest fleet in the sky.

“Our fleet is [on average] seven years. Our closest competitor is around 13 years old. We are all on the road to zero-emission flying by 2050 “.

Virgin first used the A330neo aircraft last month on the Heathrow-Boston route. It will take delivery of the aircraft this year and expects to have 16 in use by 2026.

On November 10, Miami will become its third destination on which the A330neo will be used.

Virgin sees Florida as its “heart” and, by the end of November, will fly daily to Tampa, twice a day to Miami and up to four times a day to Orlando.

Virgin is the only airline to fly directly between Heathrow and Tampa. It will provide more than 190,000 seats per year on the route.

The A330neo also includes an improved upper-class area and more “social space”, including a “retreat suite” plus its fastest ever wifi.

The Retreat Suite consists of two suites at the front of the cabin. Each suite has an ottoman that doubles as an extra seat, meaning up to four people can dine, chat, watch a movie or play in their own private space.

Virgin sees the A330neo as essential for managing the “cleanest fleet in the sky”. All of its aircraft will be “next generation” by 2027.

He says the planes are designed to be 11% more fuel-efficient and carbon-efficient than the A330-300 plane they’re replacing, thanks to more fuel-efficient engines. The planes also offer a 50% reduction in airport noise.

Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984. It employs 5,900 people worldwide and flies to 27 destinations on four continents.

About five million people live in the wider area of ​​Tampa, which includes Tampa Bay, St Pete and Clearwater.

The third largest city in Florida is considered a gateway to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens theme parks.

Key sectors include financial services and a growing technology sector. The area has a year-round warm climate and “gorgeous” Gulf Coast beaches.

The city is also home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team and the Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey team.

Round-trip Economy fares start from £ 436 per person, premium from £ 937 and higher class from £ 2,256.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *