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Virgin Atlantic appoints 'whisper coach' for upper class

A Virgin Atlantic aircraft comes in to land at Heathrow Airport, in London.

Luke Macgregor/Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Well-to-do travellers flying Virgin Atlantic will soon get to enjoy one more perk.

The airline has appointed a "whisper coach" to train the crew to speak to passengers in hushed tones.

But don't expect gentle whispers back in coach. The training is only designed for passengers in the "Upper Class Dream Suite."

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The airline says the it will have a "calming effect" on those passengers, who pay approximately £6,000 (roughly $9,400) a person for return flights to New York from London, the Telegraph reports.

The new service comes at a time when many airlines are being urged to consider a range of special offerings for those who shell out a premium to fly the frequently unfriendly skies. Earlier this year, several carriers, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, were asked to look at "adult only" flights, after a survey showed a majority of business-class passengers found children aboard planes to be bothersome.

Richard Fitzgerald, Virgin's customer-service training supervisor and now whisper coach, told the newspaper that crew members will learn to speak at a volume between 20 and 30 decibels. Normal conversation typically ranges between 60 and 70 decibels.

"It is incredibly important that all Virgin Atlantic's cabin crew have their skills honed in order to provide the most comfortable experience possible for our passengers," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "The new Upper Class Dream Suite is the ultimate in luxury and comfort and it's touches like these that make our inflight service second to none."

The one-day training course will teach crew how to "engage with passengers" and instruct them on the "tone, volume and sentiment" to adopt when addressing those in Upper Class.

One goal of all those soft whispers and proper sentiment – whatever that means – is that people flying across the pond won't be groggy when they land.

"[The]specialist training will also ensure that no passenger is unduly disturbed whilst sleeping and that all passengers wake up and arrive at their destination feeling rested and refreshed," the airline said.

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The Upper Class offering, launching this spring, also features a chauffeur-driven car to take customers to and from the airport and a seat that can turn into a flat bed that is 33" wide and 6'6" long, among other perks, according to the airline's blog.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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