going > virgin atlantic economy

This last trip to Europe was my first flight on Virgin Atlantic. I usually try to take United and accrue miles but I’m slowly abandoning that mess since United continues to disappoint.


The good stuff on Virgin Atlantic:

  • Named planes! Lady Penelope, pictured above, took us to London. Our plane back to San Francisco was named Tinkerbell. I think it’s a nice touch!
  • Generally pleasant, smiling flight crew.
  • From SFO to LHR we were served: drink + pretzels, full meal, after meal chocolate, hot snack, sandwich wrap  + chips. So much more compared to United.
  • You also get a little comfort pack: socks, toothbrush, eyemask.
  • Individual entertainment systems at each seat.
  • Business class had a bar area. I took economy so didn’t get to try this out but it looks nice!

The less good stuff:

  • Flights to Heathrow still use an older fleet. These are expected to be refreshed in late 2015.
  • Extra charge to select seats at ticket purchase. This is extra lame. It’s free only 24 hours before the flight.
  • The website is terrible. It was actually down for over 24 hours before my flight resulting in some anxiety about what seats we’d eventually get. I ended up getting to the airport early to try and get some decent seats.


I had heard not great things about the food but found it to be the usual airplane fare. Here’s the meal from LHR to SFO – veggie bolognese (fine), orzo salad (nicely lemon-y), cheese and crackers (like), bread roll (meh), and Gu pudding (too sweet) for dessert. They must have some standing Gu relationship because we had different varieties of it to and from London.

Overall, I’d definitely consider taking Virgin Atlantic again. After the planes get refreshed later this year it should be an even better experience.


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