Points Miles & Martinis contributor Nicky shares his thoughts on his flight from New York (JFK) to London-Heathrow in the Virgin Atlantic Premium cabin. This trip took place the end of 2019, as we’ve suspended our recent travel due to COVID-19.
Last year, Virgin Atlantic debuted updated products for their new flagship aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000. Premium, the premium economy cabin, received improvements for passenger comfort and entertainment to differentiate from the regular economy experience.
Virgin Atlantic is located at Terminal 4 at JFK. As a Premium passenger, you have a dedicated check-in desk to by-pass the long economy lines. In addition, Premium passengers get extra baggage allowance which tagged priority with the Upper Class passengers. The check-in experience was very smooth, no wait at all.
I spent some of my time before boarding at the Wingtips Lounge (courtesy of Priority Pass membership). Boarding for my flight – VS 154 was on time and priority boarding was called, which included Upper Class, Premium, Flying Club Gold and Delta Diamond members. Once onboard, I was greeted by a flight attendant who welcomed passengers warmly.
The flight I was on was operated with the first Airbus A350-1000 Virgin received – Red Velvet. I could smell that the plane was brand new. The Premium cabin is right after the boarding door, and is only 7 rows with 8 seats across.
Similar to the Delta Premium Select seat, Premium on Virgin provides a wider seat, extra legroom, and larger IFE screen than economy. However compared to the other Premium Economy seats, it is a bit smaller and more dense (other aircrafts have a 2-3-2 layout).
At the seat was a bottle of water, an eco-friendly sustainable amenity kit (consisting of an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste), headphones, a blanket, and a pillow. As this was a brand new aircraft, the IFE screen was bright, clear, and very responsive. There were also more entertainment options than before.
Unlike other aircrafts, there was no remote however it was fine since the touchscreen was sufficient enough. There was a capability to pair a smartphone and the screen but it did not work for me.
A big highlight for the new plane is the larger overhead bins and the moodlighing – which remained purple throughout the flight when it was on. Wi-Fi was available for purchase but was not working on my flight.
Prior to leaving the gate, a flight attendant came around offering a welcome drink, either prosecco, orange juice, or water.
Once in the air, a flight attendant for the cabin started meal service. Unlike previous flights, menus were not handed out and flight attendants stated what was offered. What distinguishes Premium from regular economy is that meals are served on china and glass and are larger in portions.
There were three options – one beef, one chicken, and a vegetarian pasta. I went with the chicken dish, which was in a Hawaiian style BBQ sauce with mashed potatoes and corn. It was served with a salad, roll, cheese and crackers, and a tart for dessert.
The meal was pretty good but a bit heavy on the sauce. After meal service, flight attendants came around offering tea, coffee, and after dinner liquors. I ordered a tea and went straight to sleep.
Prior to landing, flight attendants came around for breakfast service. Unlike previous flights, there were two options for breakfast – a sausage roll or bagel sandwich with a fried egg and bacon. Both were served with muesli and a beet shot. I went with the bagel, which was good and more substantial than previous Premium flights.
Virgin Atlantic is the most quirky and excellent option when flying transatlantic. Service is fantastic and fun yet professional. Premium is a great option for an elevated economy yet business class like experience.
I had nothing but good thing to say about this flight and would recommend Premium as the best option for premium economy on flights to/from London.
If you’re looking to redeem your airline miles or credit card points for Virgin Atlantic Premium, consider using the Juicy Miles award booking service, who can help you redeem for the lowest amount of miles.
Have you flown Virgin Atlantic Premium class to/from London before? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.