Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review – London to Hong Kong
I have been to Hong Kong on 3 previous occasions. In 2002 I went with British Airways in Economy class. On the next occasion in 2010 I flew Qantas but went in Premium Economy. In 2011 I flew with Cathay Pacific Premium Economy. This year I flew with Virgin Atlantic from London to Hong Kong in Premium Economy on flight VS206 and return on VS207 I had never flown with Virgin Atlantic before. Another first was flying on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Check-in and Pre-Flight
Because you have a Premium Economy ticket you do get to check in ahead of the Economy section. On arrival at your seat, you find an amenity kit. This kit includes socks, sleep mask, toothbrush, toothpaste and earplugs. A neck pillow and blanket are also provided for your comfort. The kit is very useful on the long flight and you will appreciate the toothbrush around 7 hours into the flight (nice touch).
As part of the VIP Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy service, you are also treated to sparkling wine or orange juice before takeoff.
Your seat on board Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy
The seats in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy are that bit wider than standard economy plus they recline further. They are very comfortable and combined with the quality leg rest, you can get into a decent resting position.
I managed to get about 4 hours sleep on the flight which is good for me as I usually end up watching movies on board. The neck pillows were a little soft so I had to double it over and use as a normal pillow.
The In-flight Experience & Comfort
Take off in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was powerful and smooth. The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine delivers 80,000lbs of force to take you elegantly into the skies.
During the flight the Virgin on-board entertainment system, “VERA”, has much to offer. It has movies, box sets, music, games and done extra features. The movies were all recent releases including IT, Despicable Me3, Baby Driver and Atomic Blonde. Music included albums from the greats such as Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Bob Dylan and many more. One notable omission was that Queen was not included much to my disappointment. However, it was nice to see Joe Bonamassa included in the listings. The box sets were varied including Big Bang Theory, Veep and Game of Thrones – but only a limited number of episodes are included. On the games, these are good but basic. Kids will enjoy the soccer and breakout games.
Other functions of the VERA entertainment system include a flight tracker showing current position, speed and altitude. You can also chat with other seats and use USB keys for media playing.
During the flight, I found it very comfortable to watch the VERA screen. You can tilt it to suit your needs and adjust brightness and volume easily.
The Food in Premium Economy
The dinner I had was a chicken dish with rice. It was very tasty but a little spicy to be served at almost 11:30 pm (about 2h 30 into the flight) for my body clock.
As a Premium Economy flyer, your meals are served in proper bowls with a napkin and a choice of any beverages you wish. You can also avail of snacks from the galley, we were told to help our selves. The only comment I would have is that the snacks are all crisps and munchie style. On Cathay, there were noodle pots, a 5-star version of Pot Noodle, and they were a delicious alternative to crisps or biscuits. Qantas also offered ice creams (small choc-ices) as part of their galley snack offering which I also thought was nice.
Breakfast next morning was served at around 5:30 am GMT with about 2 hours to landing. It was waffles with blueberry and vanilla cream. The waffles were very well cooked and tasted great with the blueberry compote. However, since I don’t like custard or cream I had to leave the half which had been coated in the vanilla cream sauce. The alternate was congee, a Chinese porridge – not an option for me.
Overall the food was very tasty and was served well but certain elements didn’t pass the premium test. On the return leg, there was a pudding described as light and fluffy – it was tough and difficult to cut so not as described on the menu. For me, it would be great to have a third option.
The Premium Economy Service
From start to finish the service was excellent. We were well looked after at all times. The staff are friendly and had time for you. On disembarkation, we were thanked by about 4 staff leaving the Dreamliner.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The Dreamliner is a beautiful aircraft. Previous to this flight I had flown in all the Airbus and Boeing aircraft with the exception of the Dreamliner – so it was nice to cross it off my list. As you enter the Dreamliner the mood lighting is very cool and gives a very sophisticated look to the mood and ambience inside the 787.
The flight was smooth with only a little light turbulence. One feature I was impressed with was the lack of window blinds. Instead, the Dreamliner can tint the window so that no light gets in. This stops the annoying instances of people opening a window blind on a night flight as morning approaches. The tinted windows really worked and although it was 3 pm outside (7 am GMT for our body clocks) the inside was still very dark.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review – Overall
I really enjoyed the return flight from London to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic. I would have no hesitation on flying with Virgin again as there were no major faults or issues. However, for the extra money paid for Premium Economy, it didn’t wow me as much as Cathay or Qantas previously; The biggest difference being the food.
I have outlined my scores below taking into consideration the commentary above.
In-flight Experience: 8/10
If you have any questions on my Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy review and experience just drop a comment below.
The review is my own opinion of recent flights on 28th December 2017 and 5th January with Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. No promotion, payment or upgrade was received in return for this blog post. This content is my own thoughts on this flight based on the events, service and food on my flight.