Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Premium EconomyBack to Forum
Anonymous5 Jul 2013
Yes the premium economy seat is comfortable but if like myself you are unfortunate enough to be seated on the 3 seater aisle next to the bathrooms don’t bank on sleeping. Having been advised by our travel agent that she had requested and had confirmed the 2 seater aisle at the front of p.e. 6 months prior to travelling,
I was shocked that on both trips we had three seaters with one journey both times next to the toilet and twice being separated from my husband by a stranger travelling in the middle seat. Virgin staff seem confused as to whether pre-booking a seat can be done as check-in staff at Sydney and Heathrow told me you can’t pre-book as did the crew on the return flight. However, the supervisor at Hong Kong airport said it was possible if it was requested but they had no request showing prior booking. On checking with our travel agent she was shocked to hear this as she had selected our seats from the map shown online and had received the message request confirmed.
In my opinion the 23rd row in which we were seated does not belong in premium economy in any way, shape or form, it is like travelling in a lavatory line, with constant use from not only p.e. passengers but economy passengers and staff using the facility as well, apparently p.e. passengers are not afforded the same exclusivity as first class passengers. Twice a member of staff exited the facility without closing the door which then had to be closed by my husband. I would dearly love Richard Branson to travel longhaul on this row and tell me it’s premium.
I had friends travel on an A380 with other airlines for this journey and they were able to pre-select better seats than I was for almost half the cost. Why is this facility not available with Virgin P.E.? Online check-in for seats makes it a lottery, especially when I tried to do this for the return journey but received the message that my booking could not be found.
A minor matter for me was the food, on the return journey home we could not be given our selected meal as by the time the trolley reached the back of p.e. they had run out of it, which staff blamed on a catering problem in Hong Kong. I found the food on both journeys to be very average anyway. Entertainment on the return journey was also interrupted for 20 mins. for the whole flight because of a technical problem, there was also a problem with the air conditioning before takeoff on the return flight.
At the end of the journey staff presented us with a complimentary bottle of wine and an express pass through customs, which after all we had paid for and not received to me seemed insulting. After speaking with friends who travelled in 2 seater rows with ample legroom on A380’s this will definitely be the last time Virgin Premium? Economy get my money.5 Jul 2013
Not bizarre to me at all. You pay substantially more in p.e. for your seat than economy passengers do. Each section is curtained off from the other. Why do you think it is okay for economy passengers and staff to use premium economy and not for premium economy to use first class? Snobbery at it’s best, I think. I would have no issue with economy passengers using p.e. toilets by the way if the toilets weren’t directly across from the seat.7 Jul 2013
If you think Premium Economy passengers get anything like the treatment received by First Class passengers paying 3x as much as you, you are seriously deluded I’m afraid.
Did you speak to the Cabin Services Manager about economy passengers using the toilet? What did they say?7 Jul 2013
I am neither delusional nor arrogant enough to presume Premium Economy passengers would get the same level of services as first class. However, just as Upper Class passengers with Virgin are entitled to what they pay for, so too are Premium Economy passengers. Yes, the staff were aware of our grievances and I make the point again our seats were not as comfortable as the other seats in Premium Economy purely because of their positioning which made sleep on a long haul flight impossible for me.7 Jul 2013
So when you raised it with the CSM what did they say?
BTW, exclusive use of the lavatory is not a listed benefit of Premium Economy.8 Jul 2013
I’m afraid I’m with Tracey111 here re the loos. On our last, and I mean last ever VS flight in “new” PE, we had the same issues – uncomfortable seats, no meal choice (but in our case that was for the whole PE cabin) and the loos? Well we had the last row in PE and it was not a pleasant flight. No full recline, noisy and of course disruptive night.
The loos are, or certainly were on our flight, labelled on the door as “Premium Economy”, but of course the CC did not enforce this. ( I wouldn’t have an issue with “staff” using the loos.)
I would not expect to use the Upper Class facilities if I had not paid for them, and so why should Y pax use PE facilities if they haven’t paid for them?8 Jul 2013
Simon, the cabin crew did apologise to us. However, the issue of economy using P.E. toilets would not bother me in the slightest, if, as I said before, the toilets were not directly across the aisle from my seat. I feel we would have actually had a more comfortable flight in the first row of economy than the back row of P.E., believe me it is not a pleasant journey. Honestly, I have no problem with the seat and legroom afforded in P.E., it is just this one row that in my opinion Virgin need to address. I believe that it is more than likely a known issue for them because when I asked the check-in staff at Heathrow if we could have a 2 seater row, she explained that they were all fully booked. She checked our seats and she said, “Oh, you have row 23”. By her reaction alone I knew that we once again had the same row as the toilet. I am disappointed in this experience because I have reached a stage in my life where we are planning increased travel and I was hoping for the beginning of a positive experience and one that would be utilised by us again in the future. However, as I have explained previously I had friends on this journey that had a much more comfortable journey on another airlines A380 in economy than we did in P.E. and for about half the cost of what we paid for our travel.8 Jul 2013
With regards to seating, Virgin only allow advance seating 90 days in advance. So Whilst they can be requested and it looks like you have your desired seats, they will them come back as unconfirmed on an agents system. They can’t be booked online either at this stage. So if you use them again you will have to wait for the 90 day point – or ask your agent to diarise this for you.
Even if you are inside the 90 day window the airline still reserve the right to move your seat numbers – they are not guaranteed.
I hope that explains the seat move for you.8 Jul 2013
I can appreciate it was very frustrating and annoying. I would definitely take it up with the airline as you have several grounds for complaint (food, toilets etc), however I would avoid getting into debate over Upper Class as it isn’t really relevant.8 Jul 2013
Thanks Tim. I have emailed Virgin with my thoughts on the flight and someone has been in touch explaining that I could have booked my seats in 90 days in advance, he was surprised that the staff members I spoke to were not aware of this. I will refer this to our travel agent as she booked our seats back in January off the map online, she requested the front row in a 2 seater aisle, the message came back request confirmed so she thought we had the seats locked in. I’m fairly new to long haul flights so I need to make myself familiar now with advance bookings with airlines because we particularly wanted the extra legroom and a 2 seater aisle as I am 5’11 and my husband 6’5, for some reason I retain fluid badly in my legs on long haul flights so the more leg room I have, the better and I will be looking to lock in the seats as soon as possible.
And thankyou Simon, I really didn’t intend to get into a debate with Upper Class v P.E (perhaps my comment was a bit caustic but I confess to writing it when I was still a bit jetlagged and disappointed).I don’t resent the services offered to Upper Class, but do think Virgin need to look at making P.E. toilets exclusive to P.E. passengers.
Anyway, I am new to writing on forums such as this one, I hope my review may be of benefit to future travellers.9 Jul 2013