For the return flight on our impromptu trip to London, I booked us in Premium class on Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Orlando. It’s wonderful being able to fly non-stop from London to your home airport, even if it means flying with a bunch of kids who are so excited to be going to Disney World.
Unlike the redeye we took on an A330 from New York to London, this flight was on a 747. There’s still something about flying on one of these planes that makes air travel feel special. What wasn’t special was the inability to pick seats on our flight. Knowing that I forgot to assign us seats on our flight to London, I tried to pick seats on the Virgin Atlantic website as soon as possible, but it said none were available.
I sent a tweet to Virgin Atlantic to see what was wrong.
What a proper British way to tell me, too bad, so sad.
Virgin Atlantic 15
Flight Time 9hr38min
There are Premium seats on both the upper and lower deck of the 747. The upper deck has 2-2 seating while the lower deck has a 2-4-2 seating arrangement. We were placed in seats D and E of the middle section of the lower deck. When boarding was finished, it turned out that there was no one else seated in the other middle seat so Sharon and the man seated in the other aisle seat shared the space as storage. I did have Sharon put my computer bag under the empty seat so I had a bit of extra legroom.
The Premium seat on the 747 was very similar to the seat we had on the A330. There was a decent recline and both planes offered the VERA entertainment system.
You could use the touchscreen to control the system or there is a handheld device. The Virgin Atlantic 747 has WiFi and Premium seats supposedly have AC power so I was looking to get some work done on the flight.
Unfortunately, when I plugged in my laptop, nothing happened. I alerted the flight crew who said they would reset the plug. That turned the light on the plug on but still no power to the computer. My MacBook will only run for 60-90 min on WiFi on battery so there was no sense paying for access when my computer would be dead 2 hours into the flight.
You didn’t have to twist my arm to get me not to work on the flight so I decided to give the VERA entertainment system a thorough workout. I felt it was appropriate to watch Bohemian Rhapsody, which I’d highly recommend.
The only negative about the inflight entertainment is that there are a series of commercials that play before every selection so I know more about Fever Tree drink mixers that I’d ever needed to know.
While I found the seats on Virgin Atlantic Premium cabin to be uncomfortable to sleep in, they were very comfortable for reclining and watching a movie.
It wasn’t long before the meal service started.
The meal was served on a single tray so I’m not sure if this is Sharon’s chicken dish or my beef lasagne (Note from Sharon: It was my chicken dish. I know because I can see your leg on the left, dear.).
Sharon’s commented about how someone on the flight had a severe nut allergy but somehow everyone was served a pecan pudding.
After finishing lunch/dinner (Linner? Everything is confusing when you depart after lunch and land at dinnertime but you’ve flown for 8+ hours), I cranked up VERA again and checked out Ralph Breaks the Internet, which is worth it for this scene alone.
Then it was time for tea. This is one of the things that sets Virgin Atlantic apart; while in the air, they provide a service that’s true to their heritage (Note from Sharon: Also my picture – you can see my shoe LOLOL).
Now, it’s not the same as the tea service we received at our hotel but we were on a plane flying over the Atlantic Ocean and we were drinking tea, eating scones with clotted cream and preserves, and had a selection of a beef or cheese sandwich.
Before we knew it, we were on approach to Orlando. While I didn’t think much of the Premium service from New York to London, I’m sold on the flight from London to Orlando. The Premium seats aren’t great to sleep in but they are very comfortable to lie back and enjoy a movie (or three). I do wish I would have been able to plug in my laptop and get some work done over the WiFi. I could have pushed the matter about the broken power plug a bit more with the crew but my lazy side won and I was more than happy to kick back and catch up on some movies I’d been meaning to watch.
This whole experiment started with me wondering if Sharon and I still need to book tickets in business class. We’re still learning the best way for us to travel while maximizing our points redemptions. On this trip, we tried to book tickets in Premium on Virgin Atlantic instead of Upper Class. What we found out is that we don’t sleep well on a TATL flight to Europe, no matter the type of seat so we could save points and just book that leg in coach. While on the way home, a seat with decent recline (and legroom) is just right for us. We do realize, that not everyone will agree with us and that’s OK because Your Mileage May Vary.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary