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Points, Miles, Martinis contributor, Nicky, shares his thoughts from a recent Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy flight from New York (JFK) t0 London Heathrow.
At JFK, Virgin Atlantic is located at Terminal 4, to make it easy for their partner, Delta. Passengers of Premium Economy get their own check-in desks, along with extra baggage, which is also tagged priority so it will be one of the first few bags (after Upper Class) upon arrival. Check-in was very smooth, no wait at all. The check-in agent offered to upgrade to Upper Class for a fee, $900 but I turned them down. Another plus flying on Virgin Atlantic, those who have TSA Pre-Check, you can use the TSA Pre-Check lines.
Boarding for my flight – VS 10 was delayed for a bit due to weather. A plus for Premium Economy passengers is that you will get to board along with Upper Class, Virgin Flying Club Gold members, and Delta Diamond and Platinum members. Once onboard, I was greeted by a flight attendant who guided me to my seat.
The flight I was on was operated with an Airbus A340-600, which was quite old. The Premium Economy cabin is right after the boarding door and offers a wider seat with greater legroom and recline than regular economy. Basically the cabin is just like a domestic first class seat on any US airline. At the seat was a bottle of water, a Herschel amenity kit, cheap headphones, a blanket, and a pillow. Since this was an older aircraft, the IFE was old (still was AVOD) and slow. The resolution was quite poor as well.
Another flight attendant came around offering a welcome drink, either prosecco or orange juice. Though there was a delay and weather issues, we were soon off to London.
Up in the air, a dedicated flight attendant for the cabin passed landing cards, menus, and hot towels followed by a full bar service. Meals in Premium Economy are larger in size and served on China and glassware. I had a Mexican-style chicken dish, which was served with a salad, bread, crackers, and a tart. After meal service, flight attendants came around offering tea, coffee, and after dinner liquors. I ordered a tea and went straight to bed, since it was an overnight flight.
About two hours prior to landing, flight attendants came around for breakfast service. Breakfast consisted of a warmed apple pastry, fruit, yogurt and granola. We then landed in London soon after without any holding pattern.
Overall, Virgin Atlantic offers fantastic service and a different experience than many airlines. The Premium Economy cabin offers a mix of business and economy class service. Also for those who are Delta SkyMiles members, you will get credit for flying Virgin (as long as the flight is in cooperation with Delta, and those who choose Premium Economy will get bonus miles. The only downside for this flight was the fact that the aircraft is old and showing it’s age.
I would recommend those who want a business class experience but at a lower price point to fly Virgin’s Premium Economy cabin.
Have you flown Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy before? Feel free to share your thoughts below!