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Florida Guide > Planning your Trip

Virgin Atlantic

Making a choice of what airline to fly with can be almost as important to some as booking their holiday villas. Virgin Atlantic has been operating routes into Florida for many years and offer great availability throughout the year with their services into Orlando and Miami.

Virgin Atlantic is one of the biggest scheduled carriers operating into Florida, with daily flights throughout the year into Orlando International Airport and Miami International airports from London and Manchester. Virgin Operate Boeing 747 aircraft on the Orlando route (Gatwick and Manchester) and A380 Aircraft on the Miami route out of Heathrow. Virgin offer 3 different class levels (Upper, Premium Economy and Economy). We have travelled both Premium Economy and Economy on the Orlando route and Premium Economy on the Miami route. It is safe to say Virgin offer a very good service and their Upper Class service is one of the best in the business. Kids are well catered for in all classes getting a welcome pack and activity books.

Starting with the negative – Over the past few Years their Premium Economy Service on the Gatwick and Manchester to Orlando routes has become a little tired. Although Virgin are near to completing the re-fit of their 747 aircraft these are the oldest in the fleet and as such lag behind their newer aircraft operating on the Miami route. We have flown both routes and have to say the Miami route is the far nicer experience, newer seats, larger seat pitch, better service and also better in flight entertainment systems. Once upgraded no doubt the Premium service on the Orlando route should catch up. The next issue is the price. Prices for Premium and Economy seating have crept up over the last few years and as such it is a lot cheaper nowadays to travel via Charter Airline. So much so we were quoted £200 per person less to fly via Thomas Cook (in their premier service seats). Depending if price is a key factor, for many this can be very important.

Now to the positive – Upper Class is out of this world. Just looking at the cabin you know you are going to arrive in style and relaxed. Yes you pay for it, but if you have the money, this service is the only way to travel to Florida. Service on all of the Orlando flights is as per all Virgin services and very good throughout. Extras such as drinks are free throughout the flight (unlike Charter airlines). This includes things such like ice creams and better in flight meals. In general the in flight entertainment on the Virgin flights, certainly beats others like Thomson and Thomas Cook, offering more choice, especially for the children. They even have a game console built into them! As with all Virgin products they do really try that extra mile to make you feel special, this in my view is why so many people look to Virgin when they book their flights.

Should you book with Virgin or go with a cheaper option? This is a million dollar question really and as such it is down to personal preference. If you are after saving money and do not want to pay the prices you will with Virgin during peak periods, Charter Airlines and indirect flights make sense. Some are now also offering better seats and pitch in economy cabins. If service and being made to feel special are top of your list, then you will probably go with Virgin. This report has compared Virgin Atlantic against Charter airlines, however there is another option in flying with British Airways, and after previous experience, they are now trying to beat Virgin at their own game. No longer is Virgin the default choice for many with similar cost and service now being offered by others. That said if you are after the feel good factor, there is no denying Virgin are in pole position.

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