Virgin Atlantic inflight menus

The original brief for this project was to update the Upper Class menu in a way which communicated the sequence of the service more clearly and compellingly.

I persuaded the client that was an opportunity to update all the menus into a coherent suite.

We trialled two options for the upperclass menu; a booklet and the more unusual concertina format. We also tested separate cards for afternoon tea and breakfast menus.

After test flights, where both menus proved popular, it was decided to use the concertina format as it was the most distinctive, environmentally friendly and economical.

Upper Class Menu

When opened fully, the Upper Class menu shows the sequence of service from take off to landing so the passenger can plan their meal choices. The exact sequence of courses varies with the flight length and timing. We ensured that the design elegantly presented every permutation.

The reverse details the extensive drinks list, including wines from Berry Bros.

Double cover for Upper Class menu
Concertina flatplan for Upper Class drinks menu

Environmental impact

Weight is a crucial factor in any design for aircraft. In this instance, we used the weight of the economy menu as the bench mark as it has the greatest impact of the suite. Compared to the previous menus, the Economy menus had the same weight, the Premium Economy was slightly lighter, and the Upper Class menus (including the new cards) had their weight reduced by about half, representing a significant fuel economy across the fleet.

The materials used contributed to the weight reduction. The Upper Class menus are printed on Avebury Recycled Wove, which has a cotton content. The fabric-like texture of the paper complements the linen fabrics used in the meal service, maintaining a coherent customer experience. The paper has 50% recycled content and the cotton used is a waste product of the textile industry. The additional cards were printed on colorset, a 100% recycled stock

The menu is printed in a single ink. Along with the simple finishing, this keeps the production costs low. This enabled investment in good quality paper stock and gold foil on the covers to ensure the luxury feel of the menus.


Virgin Atlantic is the first airline to partner with The Sustainable Restaurant Association. The SRA are working with Virgin Atlantic to create a global sustainability rating programme for in-flight catering. Find out more about my work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Design Val Kildea
Copywriting Geoff Bargas
Project management Ali Nummy
Paper Consultant Justin Hobson, Fenner Paper

You can see my work on the Virgin Atlantic inflight safety cards here.

Please contact me if you have any feedback, questions or requests. Please do get in touch if you think we could do some great work together, I love to hear from people working on interesting projects. My email address is val [at] and my phone number is +44 7980 866 283.

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