Virgin Atlantic replaced its ageing A340-600 with the brand new B787-9 on the Hong Kong-London route in July this year.
I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 2100 for my 2345 flight. I checked-in at the premium economy counter, there was no queue so the process was fast.
Premium economy passengers can select their seat up to 336 days before the flight. I had pre-selected aisle seat 24H, however due to two passengers requesting to sit together, I was pleasantly surprised to find staff had moved me to the front-row aisle seat 21H.
I passed security and immigration, and was airside in about 15 minutes.
Boarding for flight VS207 began at 2310, but I didn’t leave the lounge until the final call at 2325. It took about 10 minutes to reach gate 43 and there was no queue as I was one of the last to board. After I settled down, I was offered a welcome drink.
There are 35 premium economy seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, located in front of economy class.
The leather seat is comfortable and spacious, with decent sized armrests meaning you won’t easily bump your neighbour.
The touchscreen entertainment system is stored between seats, and offers more than 100 movies, TV programmes and music options. There is a USB port located under the screen, where you can charge your smartphone or iPad. A touch-sensitive remote control is also attached.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE
Row 21 offers more legroom as it is at the front, however front row aisle seats may be bothersome as they are close to the galley and washrooms. I would recommend window seats (A,K) on the front row: no need to cross over your neighbour to visit the washroom thanks to the extra legroom, and more privacy.
The doors closed immediately after I boarded and the flight pushed back at 2340 for a midnight take-off. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, a cabin crew member addressed me by my surname and offered me a footrest cushion.
The ambient lighting changed from purple to orange as dinner was served. The starter, a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, was fresh and the vegetables were crunchy. Main course options included braised pork, fusilli pasta in tomato sauce, and braised chicken – I chose the latter. The chicken breast was enhanced with a ginger and onion sauce and accompanied by steamed rice, broccoli and fried ginger. I thought the chicken was perfectly seasoned and the rice was moist and soft. There was a choice of one red and one white wine – I tried the Spanish sauvignon blanc and it was a good pairing with the chicken. Dessert was a strawberry mousse cheesecake – pleasant, but not particularly surprising.
The lights were dimmed at around 0200. I reclined my seat fully – a fairly comfortable eight inches, requested an extra blanket to keep me warm, and enjoyed about five hours of uninterrupted sleep.
After I woke up, I went to the galley to pick some nibbles from the “Wander Wall” – a feature available to premium passengers, where you can choose snacks such as chocolate, popcorn, crisps and a selection of soft drinks.
Lights came on again around eight hours later, at 0215 local time for breakfast. There were three choices: two Western options and one Asian. I opted for the latter, which consisted of braised chicken with mixed vegetables in a light soy sauce with egg noodles and choi sum. The noodles were tasty, but a bit dry.
Descent was announced at 0340 and we landed on time at 0425 at T3.
The seat was comfortable, and the crew was friendly. I particularly enjoyed the freedom of choosing snacks placed on the “Wander Wall”. Some additional storage space would have been nice.
- JOURNEY TIME 12 hours 25 minutes
- AIRCRAFT TYPE B787-9
- CONFIGURATION 2-3-2
- SEAT PITCH 38in/97cm
- SEAT WIDTH 21in/53cm
- SEAT RECLINE 8in/20cm
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return premium economy flight from Hong Kong to London in January start at HK$16,893 (US$2,179) including taxes, fees, charges and carrier imposed surcharges.
- CONTACT virgin-atlantic.com