Virgin and British Airways

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Florida Guide > Travelling

Virgin and British Airways

Having flown numerous times in economy class, we had decided to treat ourselves to an upgrade and fly Premium Economy using Virgin. Like most people I know, I am not a particularly good flyer but the prospect of flying in the ' bubble' was enough to make me positively relish the nine and a half hour trip.

Virgin Airlines didn' t disappoint. From the moment we boarded and were shown to the short flight of stairs leading to the ' bubble' , it was a wonderful experience. There are only about fifty seats in total, two either side of the central aisle, and all are very large and comfortable. As well as the hand luggage storage at head height, there is another one at seat level next to the window, which saves having to climb out of your seat every time you want something from a bag or jacket pocket. Not important, I grant you, but it adds another little touch of comfort and quality to the journey.

Before we had time to settle into our seats, we were served a glass of champagne by the smiling stewardess who welcomed us on board. I' m not sure if our pleasantly enjoyable meals were different from the other travellers but we were supplied with proper knives and forks and of course, unlimited wine. As I drive the rental from the airport to our home, I had to forego this pleasure but was informed that it was perfectly palatable.

Our return journey, which was during the night, was made bearable due to the seats being pushed back far enough to make sleeping possible. This was also assisted by a liberal helping of complimentary brandy and Baileys mixed, served by the stewardess. Spoil yourself sometime and try it. Fantastic.

By booking our flights during the sales, we didn' t have to pay an inordinate amount for the tickets, and although obviously more expensive, we really felt it was worth the money and added immensely to the enjoyment of our holiday.

This year, we tried the British Airways World Traveller Plus, which is the equivalent to Virgin' s Premium Economy and, although the seats were large enough and comfortable, there were eight in a row instead of the four we experienced in the Virgin jumbo. We were curtained off from Club Class in front of us and curtained off from economy just behind us, so there was no room at all to take a break from sitting and stand up or walk around. There was no greetings with a glass of champagne, the meals were typical of a flight and it was back to plastic knives and forks. The stewards and stewardesses were polite, friendly and professional and a credit to the airline but the flight for me was no better than I had experienced before I started to upgrade. A slightly bigger seat and a little more leg room seemed to be the only difference. We unfortunately just didn' t get the same ' Premium' feeling we got with Virgin. Some people love Virgin, some people love British Airways. At the moment we are firmly in the Virgin camp.

However, I still have my return flight to look forward to so, come on BA, make it the best yet. Time will tell.

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