I have flown with Virgin Atlantic a couple of times previously, and I have always loved flying with them. I always opt for Premium Economy as the price difference between that and Economy is not that much and I always think that what you get in Premium Economy is worth the extra cost.
My seat for the 10+hour flight from Las Vegas to Manchester was in the Premium Economy section in ‘the bubble’ which is by far the best place to be seated, whether in Economy or Premium, as it is a considerably smaller cabin, with it’s own dedicated crew. This means less waiting to be served and fewer people using the toilets! In addition, you also get the novelty of being upstairs on a plane, I genuinely don’t think that will ever get old!
Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed by my seat on this flight. It was filthy. There was some sort of gunk all over the back of the seat in front (see the picture below) and on the carpet and a very strong smell of sick mixed with bleach. After about 5 minutes, I couldn’t handle it and my boyfriend, who has a lesser sense of smell, agreed to swap seats. (There weren’t any free seats in Premium on the plane to ask to move to).
After disinfecting everything I may touch throughout the flight, I eventually began to settle into my seat but this really wasn’t a good start to the trip. Like I said before, I have flown Virgin Atlantic a few times and I have never had such an issue, they are usually rather clean, well as clean as a plane can be! But this felt like someone had done a half-hearted job of cleaning up whatever mess was all over our seats. I am hoping that this was just a one off and that standards are not slipping with Virgin Atlantic, as I would be very disappointed if this was the case, as they are one of my favourite airlines to fly with.
The seat itself however was super comfortable as they were made with a soft leather that you could sink into. There was an adjustable headrest that was great for sleeping and loads of room either side of my body when I was sat down. There was also a retractable footrest that aided in comfort throughout the flight, and a fabulous depth of recline that had me sleeping like a baby for part of the flight!
In addition, if you are seated in the bubble, you get additional side storage next to the window seat. This is great for storing items you want access to throughout the flight, as they are kept out of the way, maximising your leg room, but they are also easy to access without needing to get out of your seat and rummage around in the overhead lockers. It also makes for a great side table!
The Food and Drink
I mean, its plane food, so it’s not going to be fantastic but I never went hungry on this flight, that’s for sure!
Not long after you have settled into your seat, the Virgin Atlantic crew bring around a choice of champagne or orange juice before the flight takes off. Naturally, I opted for the champagne, I mean who can resist free champagne?!
Not long after take-off, a full drinks service follows, which includes a huge selection of spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks, all for free. I opted for my ever trusty in flight G and T and Chris went for a red wine (you get cute little bottles!).
The meal service followed shortly after, you are provided with a menu in your seat pocket so you can decide what you fancy before they come round. The meal is served with actual cutlery and the iconic salt and pepper planes (no I didn’t steal them, I’m a sucker for rules). I went for the roasted vegetable pasta bake, which did the job but was nothing mind blowing in terms of flavour. This was served with a Greek salad to start, the traditional bread and butter you get on every flight, some cheese and crackers and the best bit, a salted caramel cheesecake, yum. I had this with a glass of orange juice and a red wine.
This was followed by a new addition to the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy service, a cup of tea or coffee in a real mug. I loved this extra touch and the mug was adorned with some flying artistry. This was followed with yet more alcohol (oops) in the form of an after dinner liqueur. I went for the ‘knock off’ Baileys that Virgin Atlantic serves, can’t remember the name but it has an elephant on the front and it is really good!
About an hour and a half before we landed, we were served a light breakfast. This consisted of a delicious chocolate and hazelnut filled pastry with a fruit salad (too cold to eat if you have sensitive teeth!) and a blueberry yoghurt with some granola. This again was served with a good old mug of tea or coffee (in a real mug!). It was nothing extensive but it kept the hunger pangs at bay until you landed.
Throughout the flight there is also a treat wall, one in the bubble and one downstairs in the main cabin. You can take a wander here, stretch your legs and help yourself to a variety of goodies from pretzels to cookies.
All seats on Virgin Atlantic planes have a screen built into the seat in front which is touch screen but also comes with a handy remote, which is very useful if you are reclined and don’t want to move to touch the screen (being lazy on a flight is perfectly acceptable!). There is a huge selection of new and old films with something to suit all tastes, the hardest part is deciding what to watch. The headphones you are provided with are a huge step up from the ones provided with Delta (you can see my review here.) with them being over ear and slightly noise cancelling, though I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are noise cancelling, they just naturally block out a bit of noise due to the fact they go over the ears! I genuinely think though that Virgin Atlantic should really be offering noise cancelling headphones as most of its long haul rivals offer these as standard, even in Economy seats. It just makes the whole inflight entertainment experience that much better and helps to pass the time. Once again, they had followed suit with this new annoying trend of only including one or two episodes of the TV programs on offer, so I avoided this. I have 10+ hours to kill, you can’t suck me in with a TV series and then leave me hanging!!
This is where Virgin Atlantic really stands out. Not only am I in love with their uniform and secretly wish I could be one of their ultra glamorous air hostesses so I can wear that iconic outfit, but they are also all super nice and happy to help you out throughout the flight.
The cabin crew never leave you too long with litter or your food tray (one of my bug bears with flying when they leave your food tray for ages after the meal service and you are pretty much confined to your seat until they bother to come back and clear it for you). It is like they anticipate in advance what you need and appear at just the right moment. They always have a smile on their face and will assist you in whatever way they can.
There is also always someone available once the lights have gone out, so you are never stuck in your seat with the call button pressed and no one coming to your assistance (this has happened before, not with Virgin Atlantic though, but it is very irritating!).
Despite the very, very dirty seat I was assigned, my experience with Virgin Atlantic was very good and I will definitely be flying with them again, but I really do hope that the dirty seat instance was a one off, as on all previous flights with them the plane has been clean. If I find on my next trip though that my seat is dirty then I may have to start looking elsewhere, as it really did put a downer on my journey. On a plus though the food and drinks service is extensive, and you certainly won’t go hungry or thirsty during the flight! I still do love flying Virgin Atlantic and I look forward to flying with them again in the future.
Have you flown Virgin Atlantic? What did you think? Do you think premium economy is worth the extra cash?
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