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Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy London to New York Trip Report – Boeing 787-9

30th April 2016
Virgin Atlantic Flight 1
Depart : London (LHR)
Arrive : New York (Newark) (EWR)
Departure time : 5:30pm (Actual 5:57pm)
Arrival Time : 8:15pm (Actual 8:09pm)
Boeing 787-9
Registration : G-VOWS
Delivered : 24th December 2015 (0.5 Years old)

Seat : 25A
Flight Time 7h 11m
Meal Service : Dinner

 After having flown British Airways Premium Economy a few years ago, and with the announcement of American Airlines Premium Economy service, I had wanted to quickly fit in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy service to be able to compare it.

I arrived at Heathrow airport with a good amount of time to spare, at this very moment in time Virgin Atlantic’s check in counters are being updated and they are mostly closed and they direct you to check in at one of the kiosks available, which is perfectly fine with me, but just note that Virgin does offer a premium economy only check in line at the airport.

Virgin Atlantic uses terminal 3 at London Heathrow airport

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After checking in using one of the kiosk’s my boarding pass was printed out and I went upstairs and quickly cleared the security line, it took about ten minutes in total to get through which is pretty good

After you clear security you then have to make your way through the duty-free maze before you can reach the bars or restaurants.

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I decided to give the swissport lounge a try today as I had a few free credits use up

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 To my delight the lounge was fairly empty and it was a good place to relax for a few hours as Premium economy service does not come with any lounge access at all

I grabbed a few snacks and a Tiger beer to relax with

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The time passes quickly and before I knew it, boarding had been called for my flight, the gate was pretty far away from the lounges and it took around 15 minutes to make the walk, I was a bit late and was able to skip the line using the premium economy line to bypass the wait in the economy line to get on the plane, this was a pretty nice touch at the gate.

I then got stuck on the jet bridge behind everyone else, but then found myself at my seat for the next seven hours

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I found the seat to be very comfortable and had a nice pitch. I had picked the last row in premium economy for a reason, it allowed you to recline your seat all the way, but there is just a bulkhead behind you, so this does mean you are not reclining fully into someone else’s space, so there is no need to feel bad.

I was then given my choice of what I would like to drink before take off, I went with the champagne

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The seat area itself is nice and updated on the 787’s. You get a much clearer TV with better features,

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The classic footrest,

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Finally a USB charger point for your devices,

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The seat also comes with some complimentary headphones, though they are not amazing

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and a nice thick blanket

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And the great window dimming features of the 787’s.

We taxied out almost on time and take off was pretty smooth and before we knew it we had reached our cruising altitude.

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Before I knew it drinks service had started

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I had a nice conversation going with my seat mate, and we had been discussing Whiskey, so when we were offered a drink we decided to head down the Whiskey route, sadly the Whiskey selection was rather limited and we ended up with Dewar’s , I’m more of a bourbon man myself so I needed some water to cut the taste a bit.

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I then checked out the premium economy menu

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Just after the one hour mark, the dinner service began

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The tray table is located in the arm rest in Premium Economy

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The food in premium economy is plated much better and you find yourself eating out of porcelain rather than plastic and you can also drink using real glassware and metal silverware which makes a nice touch

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Today I had decided to try the Chicken Tagine, while it might not be much to look at, the food tasted fantastic and I ate everything on my plate

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After dinner, the crew came around again offering drinks, I decided to try some wine

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I then took a wander around the plane and checked out the Premium Economy wonder wall, essentially a place where you can pick up snacks and drinks during the flight if you are Hungary, Virgin really sell this as a feature of premium economy, but it’s a bit disappointing really.

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I then returned to my seat and relaxed

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I have always been impressed with the content Virgin Atlantic provide, there were plenty of modern movies, TV shows, games and even more to keep everyone entertained for hours

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My seat mate’s entertainment was playing up and kept cutting out on him, but thankfully Virgin do secretly have tablets they pass out to people have problems.

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I listened to some music for a while and relaxed with another Whiskey

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After a few hours I chatted to the crew in the galley,

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and they then gave everyone on the plane an Ice Cream

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The rest of the Atlantic crossing was very comfortable and relaxing and a very smooth flight with hardly any turbulent weather at all

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Notice how the mood lighting has changed

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With just over one hour before landing the crew started serving Virgin Atlantic’s afternoon tea, this was a slightly scaled back version compared to what I had in Upper Class a few months ago, the main differences being the presentation.

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It was delicious and I really enjoyed my sandwiches

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We then hit a bit of chop coming into the New York area, but nothing major

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Landing was really smooth and our taxi to the gate fairly quick

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 So I guess the big question people ask me, Is Premium Economy worth it ?

I would have to say YES, especially when your flight time is between 7 – 12 hours this could make a world of difference in your comfort. The service is a bit more dedicated than economy, the food presented better, but the main thing for me is the seat itself. The pitch and recline are a lot better giving you more space to move around, and also the fact that if you are travelling with just one other person, the 2 – 3 – 2 configuration makes it great if you take the Window and Aisle seat combination, meaning you have no one else to step over to get out.

Cost is always a factor here, and if you can get this for say an extra 200 pounds each way then its a good deal, anymore than that and it might not be worth the extra.

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