I would never class myself as a regular air traveller and I suppose that this review might be abit tough on Virgin, but to be honest, competition is hot out there. Virgin I have always felt to be abit of a class above the likes of British Airways. I think it''s how they present and advertise themselves. Come across as classy and cater for those in economy almost like your in upper class. The route is London to Dubai. Virgin, BA and Emirates all offer direct daily flights. All similar priced, although some months your find it chops and changes with who are the lowest. In June however it was Virgin that were cheapest, and I picked them for that. Flight was approximately 350UKP per person. You can check in at Heathrow using just your passport via there machines. No need for a person. Fairly convenient to use, although you then need to drop your baggage off at a desk with a staff member, which almost makes you wonder about checking in at a computer, when you still need their staff. I''ll try to keep this as brief as possible. Plane on the way out had come to the end of its life, not my words, the air hostess. Why did she say that? Because she was passing cups of water to those using the toilets at the back as the flush was not working. Inflight entertainment is basic. I am used to Emirates and over 1000 programmes, but this felt years behind. Screen quality poor and when someone moved the seat in front of you, your screen was nearly impossible to see, food, again seemed lacking and it was. A bread roll, desert, salad and a main course. All of small portions. Other airlines will throw in cheese and biscuits and a chocolate and portions are a lot bigger. You eat this all with a plastic knife and fork. No water with the dinner, that is served afterwards! On the way back, again, although different plane, an A340, it felt old and out of date. Same dire entertainment system. Food marks on the window aswell as deep condensation so I was unable to see out of the window. Food was slightly better in that we got a ice cream mars bar on top of the regular food. Also a packet of love hearts towards the end of the flight. However, say at the back meant that they ran out of main dishes and had to resort to vegetarian ones. Drinks. A cheap and cost cutting way is to serve you drinks from a main bottle. I like to have a whiskey but will ask for it and then drink it maybe an hour or so later. Virgin pour it from a main bottle, so your have to drink it there and then. Only beer and soft drinks are canned, the rest from a large bottle. Oh and coffee is served by handing you a cup and then just dropping random sugar sachets and milk sachets onto your fold down table. Not professional. Staff don''t appear as well turned out as in the adverts either. Top buttons undone and a variety of different makeup, including some very orange cabin crew. To sum up, entertainment and food is poor, drinks are not individual. Planes feel old and not looked after. On the positives, they were the cheapest at the time and departure and landings were on time. Would I fly with them again? No not really. With route to Dubai being competitive, I expected quality from Virgin but they cannot live upto the name. I will look to fly with BA or Emirates next time. If going to America, will look at AA or United.
Earlier this year we embarked on a much anticipated and very expensive family trip to Disneyland, Orlando as a group of 11 passengers. We selected Virgin Atlantic as our choice of airline early on in the planning process believing them to be the best airline for long-haul destinations in terms of quality, comfort and exemplary service. Our booking with Virgin, including all additional services totalled over £10,000. We approached our departure date with excitement and high expectations unfortunately the level of service began to deteriorate from the moment we arrived at the airport;
As a group we waited to be called forward to check-in. The assistant requested that we all approach the desk which I am sure you can appreciate was quite a task for 10 adults, a child, luggage and hand luggage-but we obliged. Politely speaking the assistant was not too impressed at having to process a large group. 'Miserable, rude and dismissive' are not the usual words that I would want to associate with Virgin Atlantic staff but it was certainly applicable in this instance. Her attitude did not improve as she processed our booking, in fact her exact words at one point were 'I don't know why you are all standing there, you need to just go away', we refrained from replying that we had been standing there as initially requested by her. At this point we were happy to move out of the way as the service we were being subjected to was nothing short of embarrassing. Observing this level of service was painful to watch and my advice to Virgin would be that if your staff are not trained or happy to deal with large groups then do not accept large bookings in the first place.
We were determined to not let it impact our spirits and proceeded through security to board the plane. As we boarded it became apparent that the crew had run out of the activity packs for children. I know that for the adults in the group this may seem insignificant, but to a 4 year old who could clearly see other children with their own packs it was a little harder to explain. I myself struggle with how this might occur because surely an airline would know how many children will be a flight? Anyhow we soon appeased him with the in-flight entertainment screens.
During the flight they ran out of several other essentials including wine, pepsi, beer, orange juice (crisis diverted by watering down what was left-tasting rancid!) I would rather pay for refreshments and at least be assured that they are available and of a decent standard.
When meal time approached I could see that the cabin crew were attending to the children first. We waited patiently for our son's meal which never appeared. Eventually I got hold of a member of the crew who seem more interested in actually inferring that I was to blame for not ordering a meal than actually getting my son some food. At this point I couldn't have cared less who's fault it was I just wanted my child to eat. There were no more children's meals on board so he was offered an option from the adult menu. Just to clarify though I had in fact requested a child's meal. We faced the same difficulty with the afternoon snack although on this occasion I faced a bit of a battle. The afternoon snack consisted of a sandwich and a cupcake-perfect for little appetites. I purposefully chose not to make an additional request for Toby's (my son) snack knowing what had occurred earlier and instead chose to request an additional snack when it came time for the crew to distribute mine. The guy spotted Toby so automatically just placed one snack in front of me, I asked for another and tried to quickly explain why Toby hadn't already had his. The guy looked at me like I had 2 heads and was trying to be gluttonous, conspiring for 2 cupcakes and swiftly moved on! I got quite exasperated and said 'It doesn't matter' thinking I would just give him mine, fortunately one of the female stewards quickly recollected what had happened and brought one over. I later discovered from another passenger that they had run out of those too which perhaps explains why the steward was so protective of them! By this point I just wanted to get off the plane and hopefully never have to board a Virgin flight again.
Obviously not all flights go according to plan but what is crucial is the way in which representatives handle these situations. From the interactions that our group had with the crew there were very few positive comments and unfortunately the disappointment in the flight consumed most of our conversation upon disembarking. Not the start we had planned for our holiday.
We were not looking forward to our return flight home but we were very pleased with the check-in process at Orlando International. After the horrendous experience in Manchester the guy was a breath of fresh air. His mannerisms could not have been more different, asking about our trip and having a joke with the group about the potential weight of our luggage. He was courteous and polite and wished us a pleasant journey home-exactly what we would have expected from a service orientated airline! What a different experience we would have had if he had set the standard.
The issue with my sons meal had not been corrected on the journey home, a pro-active member of staff could easily have resolved this following our outbound flight but by now we had realised that this would have been expecting too much!
On the outbound flight a member of our group had purchased several items of Duty Free. We expected to collect these on our return flight. Unfortunately this did not happen-the products weren't loaded onto the flight at all. To give the hostess her due she was very apologetic and tried her best to help where possible. She offered alternatives and explained that we would need to call upon our return to the UK to arrange the required refund. This situation took a few phone calls and a whole lot of hassle to resolve and we eventually found out that there had been an issue with the card machine and the person's card had been swiped several times causes a security block to be placed on the card-this again clearly comes down to incompetent staff.
As a group of 14 we previously travelled to Europe with budget airline Jet2 and can honestly say that the service we received with them far out shadows that with Virgin, which actually astonishes me. The flights we booked were by no means the cheapest and this experience has left 11 passengers vowing never to use the airline again! We wrote an official letter of complaint on our return only to wait 3 weeks for a response that basically said 'we couldn't care less what you think'. This was an insult and I would urge anyone to consider alternatives before booking with with this poor excuse for an airline.
I have always raved about Virgin since I first started flying 20 years ago. Their inflight entertainment was always the best, and the friendliness of the staff too.
But this summer, what a let down.
The check-in girl at Heathrow was depressing, with no smiles, and no smiles from anyone apart from if they really had to.
The main problem was the average film entertainment. NO just in the cinema releases, but more akin to what I expect Virginmedia cable to provide. DVD rental releases more like.
Then the meals were another issue. drinks used to come around more frequently, but this time, once possibly twice in over 7 hours. NO cans anymore, but glasses filled to the brim with ice, so you didn't get anything to drink and if no ice, it was luke warm.
No hot towels.
And the food, breakfast was no existent for an overnight flight.
Too depressing and cross to write this, but needless to say, I will try competitor airlines now.
My most recent flight with virgin Atlantic to New York was one of unexpected comfort.
I arrived at the airport where there was minimal queuing and the virgin staff were only too willing to help with the self check-in. My baggage was just slightly over the weight limit which, unlike many of virgin's budget counterparts, didn't seem to be too much of a problem.
After boarding an almost empty plane, I found my seat- the window seat, the two to the right of me were empty so I was able to enjoy the luxury of two extra seats on my over night flight.
The in flight entertainment was excellent, there were games and I enjoyed 3 brand new blockbusters in the duration of my journey but almost wanted to stay longer in order to see the rest of the films I hadn't yet viewed. Each seat had its own personal entertainment system so there was no cricking your neck to look up at a shared screen and the ability to pause and rewind meant there was no rushed trips to the toilets to avoid missing parts.
The facilities were excellent, my seat had ample leg room and reclined sufficiently. There were multiple restrooms so queuing wasn't necessary. There were also sanitary products in the bathroom which was a nice touch.
The food was impressive, we were handed a menu and had a starter, main course and dessert which varies from flight to flight. Each course was not only edible, but enjoyable, particularly the GU chocolate mousse for dessert. We were given pretzels and icelollys at intervals during the flight. We also had scones with clotted cream, which was a particular favorite of mine.
The staff were helpful and polite, they were only too willing to fetch you drinks and refreshments when you desire, they were all well presented and professional.
Stupidly, I managed to leave a bag of shopping I had purchased at the airport, on the plane, I managed to get this posted to me without too much hassle and was very grateful.
The return flight cost me £500 in total, which I thought slightly overpriced.
Overall I think Virgin provided fantastic service and would definitely fly with them again.
I would love to visit as much of this planet as I can before I get old. So far though it's not going to plan! Back in 2008 though I did get to visit a fair bit of America and I flew Virgin.
Having never flown long haul before, I think its fair to say that I didn't have any expectations. I paid around £400 (everything included) for my ticket from Heathrow to LA, which seemed very competitive with other large airlines. Having spoken to a friend who is a pilot, he recommended either Virgin or BA. As the Virgin flight was the cheapest, I booked online which was very simple to do and received an email with all of the booking information.
The day before I flew out, I checked in online and picked my seat. I hit the jackpot there, a window seat on the aisle with just another seat next to me which turned out to be empty for the entire 12 hour flight. There website also tells you what the in-flight entertainment will be.
When I arrived at Heathrow, checking my luggage in was very straightforward and I found the staff to be very friendly and helpful on the desk. The flight boarded promptly - I don't recall their being much queueing other than to go through the security point.
The plane itself was modern, the seat was comfortable and I found I had sufficient leg room in economy - I'm 5'8 and was able to stretch my legs out. As I mentioned - the seat next to me was vacant for the entire flight which also helped with space - but even without that I am sure I would have been comfortable.
The flight left promptly, food was served which was hot and did the job (as good as any airline food can be!), the staff were always available and very helpful, the toilets were clean and the in-flight entertainment was also up to scratch.
Landing at LAX, it did take a while to get off the plane, however, I think that was more to do with the staff at LAX taking their time rather than a problem with Virgin. Once off the flight and through customs - my bags were waiting for me in perfect condition.
I changed my return flight coming back, this cost £100 which was payable at the airport. When I arrived at LAX for my new flight, the Virgin staff had no knowledge of my change of flight. That wasn't a problem though and they booked me onto the flight there and then. Had the flight have been fully booked - I don't know if I would have got the same service and I probably would have been livid with Virgin but it all worked out so I have no issue over it!
The return flight was exactly the same and when we finally get out of this recession and we all go back to having a disposable income again - I will have no hesitation in flying Virgin again.
I don't have a problem with virgin atlantic, but when I recently flew with them to Dubai we had a few problems. It all went well apart from when we went to check in, for some reason I was booked in twice, once as my full name and the other my nickname, they didn't realise this until after they had labelled my bag with my nickname and sent it on it's way. Then as my passport says my full name they wouldn't allow the bag to travel under my nickname or abbreviation. When we got to the gate I wasn't allowed on the plane until I had identifed my bag! so we had to wait for 30mins whilst they got my bag off the plane for me to say "yes thats my bag" and then they put it back on the plane! Seems like a waste of time to me but i'm sure it was security reasons.
The flight itself was very pleasant, economy is economy at the end of the day! The staff were helpful and polite, had a good range of films to watch and drinks when we wanted them! we were provided with a blanket and "goody bag" with pens, tooth brush,mini tooth paste and eye mask +magazine for the flight.
This was the worst experience with virgin. Outbound our gate was changed with no reason given. When we were finally allowed to board it became clear we were not using an airbridge. we had to walk down loads of steps against gale force winds to board a bus to the plane. The plane was very old and dirty with bits falling off the chairs. There were no entertainment guides in our row and we had to ask other passengers to borrow theirs as the cabin crew were not interested. There were no childrens backpacks available for my daughter as they had run out before we were allowed to board there was no childs meal avaiable even though this had been requested months in advance. Prior to landing we were offered either cheese and pickle sandwich or a curry wrap I have never seen such a poor offering and there were huge amounts being binned. On return we had booked premium economy - not worth the money. Brand new plane but WC not working. No overhead storage for middle seats and no ventilation. Very hot cabin and once again no childs meal. Despite emailing Virgin with comments no response 2 months later. New entertainment system very good
I flew from Kotoka International Accra Ghana to Heathrow Airport, London United Kingdom with Virgin Atlantic. Some of the check-in staff in Ghana were asking for bribe. Couldn't find one of my luggages (a 'Ghana must go' bag full of material pieces for a whole class of children's school project and gift for family and friends) on my arrival. I was taken to lost property but didnt find it. I was asked to come back in three days time with the hope that some one might mistakingly take it and return it. I was there with ten others at the appointed time but was told to telephone for someone to escort me. From 9am till 5pm nobody was answering the phone and I have to reluctantly abandon my search. I am still waiting for Virgin Atlantic to get back to me. Improve your customer care and you will go far. Thank you.
(A Flying Club Member's memoir)
In June 1984, an aircraft of the newly formed, Virgin Atlantic Airways, made its first transatlantic crossing. It faced stiff opposition from a number of sources, none more than British Airways.
However, with the persistence of its founder, Richard Branson, the airline prospered and grew, gaining a reputation for innovation and style.
My wife and I were avid supporters of that courageous man, applauding his tenacity in facing the likes of Lord King and 'winning' the battle, if not the war.
In the following year, we also made our first transatlantic crossing, with...guess who? Yes, Virgin Atlantic.
With the passing of each year since those 'heady days' our loyalty to Sir Richard (as he is now) was constant with only one exception. That was when all seats were booked for a certain date for our planned travel and so, as our one and only deviation from 'Virgin' we flew with that other brave entrepreneur, Freddie Laker, when, for the second time, he tried to 'take-on' British Airways but, regrettably, lost.
So, with 58 (yes fifty-eight) transatlantic flights with 'Virgin' and one with ''Laker', behind us, that time span brought us to the year 2010. Some of those 'Virgin' flights had been in its Upper Class and Premium Class cabins.
Our daughter was to be married on a Florida beach in December 2010 and what parent would want to miss that event?
Of course, as per normal, we booked our flights with 'Virgin' nine months before the event and prepared.
Snow began to fall on the day we were scheduled to fly out from Gatwick (1st December). At 0530 hours on that morning, we checked with 'Virgin' website, which informed us that our flight was as scheduled. Armed with that information, we instructed the car driver, to begin the journey from mid Essex to Gatwick Airport.
Having reached a point nearer to the Airport, I made a telephone call (open mobile speaker system) to 'Virgin'. Three people listened to a 'Virgin' representative say, quite clearly, "You must continue to the airport and check-in. Your flight has been slightly delayed for take off at 14.00 hours, so you have plenty of time."
Our driver proceeded as instructed. We arrived at the airport at approx 11.00 hours but on stopping at 'Departures' we were told by a policeman on duty, that the airport had closed. He permitted my wife (partly disabled) to remain in the car with the driver, whilst I entered the terminal to ascertain the actual position.
All Virgin Atlantic check-in desks were abandoned. No staff available to question. The only 'Virgin' personnel visible were two Virgin Holiday Representatives, the senior of whom, told me that our flight had been cancelled.
I explained about my wife and asked what arrangements 'Virgin' had made to accommodate such as we. I was told, quite firmly, that 'Virgin' had no responsibility to cater for our needs, as it was the fault of the snow. I then pressed her to offer us hotel accommodation until the next available flight to Orlando. That request was refused point blank. She went on to tell me "just go home there's nothing we can do."
I had no option but to return to the car and instruct the driver to return us to our home.
With each passing day, I made contact with 'Virgin' (somehow) and eventually, was re-scheduled to fly on the morning of December 4th.
On that day, having rebooked our driver, we arrived at Gatwick in plenty of time to check-in. At that point, we were told that the flight would not depart as scheduled, but at a later time of 1600 hours.
We waited. When the time came to make our way to the departure gate, we were told that the flight was further delayed for two more hours. It eventually took off at 1900 hours.
Now, on that day, Saturday 4th December, low and behold, rain began to fall. Not light showers but heavy, constant downpours from around midday to our take-off time of 1900 hours.
The flight, of course, arrived many hours late at Orlando. On collecting our luggage from the carousel, and when lifting it to a trolley, we saw water running out of the zipped areas. Nothing could be done at that time as our driver was awaiting to drive us south a hundred plus miles to our son's home.
Immediately on arrival, we opened our suitcases to find that every item was wet. Paperback books had swollen to twice their thickness and wedding clothes soaked and crumpled. There was no alternative but to begin (at after midnight) a 'washing machine' routine followed by a tiring 'pressing' session.
The next day, 'Virgin' were informed of the baggage situation but it wasn't until some two weeks later, that we received a response. That response beggared belief!
"It is our laid down procedure, that passenger's baggage is kept under cover at all times between check-in and loading."
My response was to state that in this instance, 'Virgin's' procedures had totally failed, unless of course, the aircraft's cargo hold had changed into a lake whilst crossing the Atlantic?
Irrespective of the amount of correspondence between 'Virgin' and ourselves over this appalling situation, none has proved positive.
1. No offer of compensation for the wasted 150 mile car journeys on December 1st.
2. No apology for the order given by 'Virgin' to proceed to Gatwick on 1st December.
3. No offer of compensation for the 'Virgin' negligence in allowing our luggage to become soaked in rainwater.
So, there we are, folks. This is how Virgin Atlantic Airways treats its most loyal clients, clients who have spent many thousands of pounds on flights with that airline. Clients who have always encouraged friends and family to 'fly Virgin'.
Not any more.
We recently flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Virgin, overall I was left with a favourable opinion of them.
The price that we paid was fair and reasonable and certainly more competitive than BA. The etickets were issued promptly and instructions on how to check in on line were clear and easy to follow.
The website is great, really easy to use and allows you to select a number of preferences, including meal seats as well print your boarding card.
The bag drop at Gatwick was quick and took less than 2 minutes, boarding was efficient and effective, every Virgin staff member I dealt with was polite and friendly.
On board the service was of a good standard, food nice, amenity packs thoughtful.
But the whole thing is let down by the age of the aircraft, the interior was tatty the in-flight entertainment was clunky and froze a lot. It was such a shame as the staff made great efforts to please, but really were fighting against the equipment.
Overall however I would be pleased to fly with them again (esp. back to Barbados)
Where do I start...
1.) I was hung up on several times by the phone reps. One had screaming kids in the background, another was at a wild party with loud music. Neither could hear me, and I was obviously distracting them from their lives by calling - in turn I was hung up on, several times. I wouldn't have had to call if their website was working.
2.) My flight was canceled due to poor maintenace and I had to squish into a plane 3 hours later, causing my boyfriend to make 2 trips to the airport and wasting money on gas and parking. Virgin offers a pamphlet that says the company will pay for your food and drink if having to wait over 2 hours due to cancelation - they refused and declined everything put in writing in their company pamphlet.
3.) I was double charged for my additional luggage. I sent customer service an email (since that is THE ONLY way to complain), and they never replied. So, I went back to the airport to complain about the double charge and the desk person spent 1 hour on the phone with the phone reps - faxing them my bank statements and previous complaint letter. Two days later I got an apology email - and still had not gotten my money back. It has been 3 and a half months and I still have not heard from anyone. I have sent several emails and even wrote a letter addressed to the president and vice president of the company - made it so they had to sign for the letter. That was one month ago, still nothing. I had to dispute the transaction with my bank to get my money back, but that does not make up for the time and money I have wasted trying to contact this company.
Absolute WORST experience I have ever had with any company. I have been in over 300 airplanes and never had such a horrible experience. It was my first and last flight with Virgin.
As for seating - I was on the aisle seat and the people on the inner seats had to literally jump over me to get out (and I am very petite).
Entertainment - They played a movie with a plane crash in the main scene.
Drinks - They give you a little mini cup for your drink, which is gone in one gulp. They do not give you the whole can of soda, so you have to ask several times for a refill.
I started flying with Virgin last year, and now have taken several flights with them. Initially what attracted me to them, was their non stop, professional PR campaign and their distinctive red coats and beautiful images and life style.
Booking the flight:
It is very simple to book the flight, as it automatically provides you a calendar after you've picked your selected dates, which help you as the customer to find cheaper options if your dates aren't set. The calendar is very easy to navigate and the prices are all on show, so you don't need to click on several different options.
Once you've decided on the flight, the price, time and extra details appear below the calendar which provides the total cost per person including VAT. If you're happy you press select and you're on your way to booking your flights.
Very easy and simple and it really doesn't take very long if you know your dates.
Once flight is booked:
Once you've booked your flights, an email will be sent to you with relevant information. You can at this stage add in your frequent flyer number if you've forgotten to do so it makes it easy by siging onto your booking. You can also chose your seats at this point. However please take note the seats you've picked aren't guaranteed until check in. So you have to make sure you're one of the first few people to check in. I would highly recommend once you booked your flight to log onto their system and provisionally book your seats as if it's a popular route then there is a chance of separate seats.
Check in is like any other normal airline and is open 24 hours before departure, where you can confirm your seat and meals and of course print your boarding pass to make it easy.
At the aiport:
Once you arrive at the airport, it's fairly easy to find the Virgin check in desks, as they have big red signs. This doesn't mean that you can go straight through, as I feel on the most popular routes there is always a que to check in if you haven't done so online. I think it's a fairly quick moving pace however if you're paying a fair bit of money I think you can expect a bit more.
On the plane:
The plane is very clean and the air stewards are friendly and always willing to help. The seats are what you would expect from an aircraft. Don't think because you're paying a bit more you'll get more leg room, this is not the case. However you do get very comfy pillows with a blanket and all the extras in a little bag (socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, key ring). There is a small screen in front of all seats, where you can watch the in-flight entertainment channels. There are some very good and recent movies for you to choose from and that's exactly what you need on a long flight.
The food is good, and of course you have option of a free soft drinks as often as you like.
Overall I like Virgin and I do realize with the current economic climate all airlines have had a re look at what they are offering customers. I think it's still worth paying a bit more to fly with Virgin. I like their Brand, and customer focus and to date have had no bad experiences with them.
For many years I have flown BA. Mainly because I collect BA Airmiles, but also because it is a prefered airline for the companies I work with.
Summer 2010, I flew long haul with Virgin Upper Class to India, a trip that I have done a number of times with other airlines. Had a brilliant experience with Virgin and would now go out of my way to fly with them again.
Firstly, there is a chaffeur service each end of the flight on both the out and inbound journeys. I was picked up in a brand new Volvo which was a brilliant change to having to get trains and tubes to Heathrow!
When at Heathrow, I was taken through an Upper Class building which means you dont have to even go into the main terminal! Fantastic! Even the security checkin is separate!
The Heathrow lounge is great - had a free haircut, read some papers and some food - very relaxing experience.
The flight was good - nice interior, and even a bar for UC customers on the plan was great. The lie flat beds are comfortable - even for a 6'2 big guy like myself!
Food was well thought out high quality - tasty and the portions were not too huge. Wine was good - not as good as BA generally serve in my opinion.
In summary, the service on the flight and at the terminals exceeded my expectations. Well worth flying with them.
In the past I have always tried to fly Virgin as I felt the little extra you pay for a Virgin flight is worth the comfort, entertainment and food that they offer. I recently booked a cruise through Virgin Holidays and was very disappointed with the experience. The plane was old and crowded, the food was awful, the staff weren't very forthcoming with the drinks... and the entertainment was boring and limited to a loop system.
On the return flight (this was a night flight) food was minimal and we were only offered one drink in the morning with breakfast... a week on and my suitcase is still missing - I've called them twice and am still none the wiser as to when I can hope to see it again.
It seems to me that Virgin is just not what it used to be. I wouldn't bother booking with them again.
Whilst I would NEVER recommend Virgin Holidays (see my review), Virgin Atlantic is quite a different cattle of fish!........
I recently flew Premium economy from Gatwick to Vagas and was in the "bubble" of the plane. The reason I booked this particular grade was not because of the additional service extras but because it guaranteed us two seats together without a third person as the seat configuration was 3-4-3 in standard class. I paid about £400 extra for the service and it was WORTH EVERY PENNY, yes the champagne is really sparkling white wine, and no the food isn't much better but the space..... PLENTY of room, even a baggage locker next to your seat. Express check in is outstanding no queues, quick boarding and just hassle free - I will never travel standard class again. The service in the cabin was also absolutely outstanding!
On the way back we travelled standard class as the seat configuration was 2-4-2 (from LAX) this time we got to the airport early where we paid a very nominal fee to upgrade to extra leg room. I could stretch my legs out full - brilliant!
Now the best bit about the whole experience you can get a virgin red loyalty card, which not only gives you air miles for travelling but also miles for shopping online - via their website! If you do this (different retailers give you different miles quantities) miles soon mount up. I've got 17,000 already since October - you only need 24,000 for a return flight to New York! I have just applied for their credit card to get miles for my everyday spend. I don't think I will need to pay for an upgrade again and only for doing my normal shopping!
I'll never fly with anybody else if Virgin do the route.