14th August 2017 at 19:46 #822855
Yep folks, after years of flying BA (the last 4 trips being on Club World), I finally flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from SEA to LHR aboard their 789. A VS-virgin I no longer am!
Compared to BA Club World, all I can say is “wow, what a difference”.
Where VS wins:
* Almost everywhere! Fancy new aeroplanes meant stronger and sturdier seats, television screen, table, everything.
* Intelligently designed seats with more storage space: footwell for the shoes (I remove my shoes as soon as I board a plane) or the side strap for the bottle of water unlike BA’s CW where I have to shove everything inside the little drawer or hold on to the bottle of water.
* Classy – be it the toiletries kit, the night dress (BA doesn’t even bother giving one), the crockery and cutlery, crisps in a nice bowl vs BA that just hands over a packet of Kenyan cashews, wooden’ish plate for bread versus nothing in BA, salt and pepper shakers versus the Mcdonalds type sachets (BA), etc. even the tissues are bright red and look classier.
* More 1:1 attention to customers: whether it’s the whole ticking your breakfast options on the card, or prompt proactive refills of your glass, etc.
* The washroom – it’s massive! Or as my American teenage friends would say “that’s sick, dude”! Very spacious, I like how they have a separate seating area next to the loo. It felt proper premium
* Overall look and feel – whether it’s the cabin interiors, the psychadelic stuff that plays on the TV screen by the bar, the bar itself, even the trays and trolleys, everything just has that “high end” touch to it.
Where BA wins:
* The bed! yes, I know, those of us with a window seat have to crawl over our neighbour’s legs to get to the washroom and all, but I somehow like that bed and the sense of privacy and I felt I could breathe. With the VS layout and bed, when seated I felt a lack of privacy – I could easily see what my neighbours are upto, what they’re watching, etc. as I’m sure they could, mine. When sleeping, it felt claustrophobic (I now know why that bed is jokingly called the coffin).
* The snack bar: whilst VS’s is fancy, i don’t really care for marmite flavoured popcorn in the middle of the night. I just want good ol’ Cadbury. BA has some good choices… and on some flights they have ice cream too!
* The cabin crew: This might not be a popular opinion on this site, but I love BA’s cabin crew. They’ve always been extremely sweet and friendly with me, chitchat when I want to, and leave me be when needed. With VS, this whole “oh we’re friendly and casual and want to connect with the customer” came across at times as being fake, forced and quite overbearing. Not their fault, it was just quite annoying!
Overall, I’d happily use VS once again (infact, I am – in Oct, when I fly back to Israel). Great overall product. But I also don’t want to poo-poo BA. It does have its strengths as well. And frankly, I’d any day land in T5 than in T3!14th August 2017 at 22:21 #822862
Try a VS flight to a popular holiday destination and the rear seats in Upper Class have to suffer loud noise from the bar area, caused by the economy staff travellers enjoying copious quantities of free booze. I’ve heard enough to put me off VS.14th August 2017 at 22:54 #822864
I did two flights with VS to CPT, must have been just before they dropped the route, perhaps 6 years ago.
I was massively underwhelmed. At the time, even BA were better.
VS is all about slick marketing and what a nice fellow Sir Richard is. The reality diverges significantly from the hype.15th August 2017 at 01:42 #822866
I used to have Gold status with VS for many years when they first came out, loved the lounges and the funkiness of the airline, I also once received a personalised letter from Branson when something went wrong on a flight and he promised me his undivided attention if ever I needed him…
What you dont know is that if things go wrong they are horrendous and consequently have never flown them again…
50 hours delayed on their inaugural flight to JNB as the plane went technical and they had no replacement and at the time SAA flew Boeing and VS Airbus
9 hour delay in Heathrow because they couldn’t get a plane from LGW to LHR ( in that time I could have walked the plane) and the general disregard annoyed me.
I wrote I complained and asked for Branson’s undivided attention, didnt get it and have never set foot on a plane again, at the time I was user chooser for 15 people, they also never flew them again….
As Capetonianm states slick marketing and Sir Richard who????15th August 2017 at 08:29 #822889
As Capetonianm states slick marketing and Sir Richard who????
AKA “Old Beardie” 😉15th August 2017 at 09:40 #822897
My wife and I flew with Virgin from Manchester to Boston last month in J. We bought our tickets in one of their £999 sales and we enjoyed it. The service was very good and very friendly (very northern), food & entertainment was very good and we enjoyed the bar. Being an A330, the seating was a bit cramped but not as bad as I had been led to believe. The worst part was trying to sleep on the return but I am a terrible sleeper on planes in any case and it was far more comfortable for sitting than AA’s 777-300 that everyone raved about last year and in reality is the worst seat I have ever had the misfortune to travel in.
In general, the experience was up with the standards I had in the late 90’s when I was a regular on the LON-NYC run and I would definitely fly with them again.15th August 2017 at 10:14 #822907
I’d always choose Virgin Upper Class over BA Club World. Fast track, lounge, service, food, drinks and even the bed all better than BA. You may disagree about the bed, but what I like is the way it folds over and a perfect-fit clean mattress cover is put on top – plus the sleeper suit. The only plus points for CW:
You are travelling as a couple and want to sit side by side in the middle seats.
You earn Avios that can then be used for European flights with only a small service charge.18th August 2017 at 15:45 #823456
I once asked for a cup on tea after dinner on a VS flight back from US and was told they do not serve tea as they want everyone to sleep! However the were quite happy to serve me a Rum and Coke (full fat!)18th August 2017 at 22:26 #823489
I am still a Virgin as not based in the UK (so no feeder’s flight). But I enjoyed Markiv’s report. And, as him, I like the BA legacy staff. And BA’s bed. One day though, I hope to be able to try Virgin…
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