Virgin Australia 'Economy Space+' seats launched: Prices, legroom

Virgin Australia has launched its new "Economy Space+" seats, offering passengers more leg room in economy class, for a price.

The seats consist of the first five economy rows and exit rows of the airline's Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft, along with the exit rows of its Airbus A330s, Boeing 737s, Embraer E190s and Fokker 100s. It also includes row one of Virgin's 62-seater ATR-72 aircraft.

The first five rows on board the 777 will offer 34 inches (86cm) of leg room (versus 32 inches in a standard seat).

The airline said guests flying on the carrier's two long-haul routes, Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, who booked the new seats would also receive additional benefits including their own dedicated check-in, priority boarding, noise cancelling headphones.

Prices start from $10 one-way for domestic and short-haul international flights and $50 one way for international long haul, though prices can vary depending on "route, market, fare type and time of purchase". A check on the Virgin Australia booking site found the seats on flights to LA priced at $135 one-way.

This still compares favourably with Qantas' charge of up to $180 for exit row seats on long-haul flights. Qantas charges $25-$30 for economy sale fare passengers to select a seat on long-haul international flights.

Virgin recently launched its new business class and premium economy seats on its Los Angeles route, with the new product to also roll out on Abu Dhabi flights over the coming months.

Flights to the US have become increasingly competitive in recent years, with new seats and lounges from airlines, as well as new aircraft on the route. Qantas now offers direct flights to Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco, while American Airlines recently resumed flights from LA to Sydney after a 24-year absence. United Airlines created the world's longest Boeing 787 Dreamliner route when it began direct flights from LA to Melbourne with the new aircraft last year.

See also: Airline review: Virgin Australia's new business class

See also: Airline review: Qantas business class

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