Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In flight experience: Virgin Atlantic

I do not know how United Airlines manages to make their seats so
hideously uncomfortable, but they are indeed masters of making even
simple things complex and horrid.

It was therefore a nice change to have an economy seat that was at
least comfortable on my bum. While I am never happy to fly economy,
the in-flight experience on Virgin Atlantic was a big change.

The seat bottoms were more comfortable and they have about one more
inch of pitch than United. The in-flight entertainment is a larger
screen than I expected and all of the movies, games, audio and TV were
free. The headphones were even slightly better (though still cheapies)
than what you would receive on other airlines. The audio quality was
good and clear. My only major problem was my system freaked out and
went to a command line and would not reboot. I rang for an attendant
and she immediately reset my system. The game / remote controller was
a bit touchy and took a bit to get use to. I could see some non-techie
travelers getting frustrated with it.

The amenities during the flight were very nice. Food was of decent
quality and alcoholic drinks are free on all international flights. A
kit was handed out that provided you with a eye mask and socks.

An upgrade to Premium Economy is really much closer to being in
Business class. The seats are bigger and wider - it isn't just about a
few extra inches of legroom on this airline. Beverages, including
sparkling wine are served before take-off. The food is a bit better
and the amenity kit includes earplugs. I was seated in a bulkhead
 and the flight attendant brought us footrests after take-off.

Finally, the Virgin staff are lovely people. Very helpful, very
friendly. They seem to like their jobs, enjoy working with people and
want to help make your flight pleasant. In a time where most airlines
seem staffed with bitter, jaded individuals, this attitude was a
welcome change.

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