This is my review of Virgin Atlantic premium economy 787 from my recent flight from Dubai to London. This was my first time in a Virgin Atlantic premium economy product, so I thought I would give you a review of the flight and features. A lot was left to be desired, but I will touch on this later.
I have flown on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, which is their business class; however, while writing this review, I realised I don’t have one of their Upper class. I have included photos and a comparison at the bottom for you.
I like flying premium economy cabins, and I have been on British Airways and American Airlines premium economy from Dublin to Philadelphia, so I have some experience with various products in premium economy.
I booked this trip on Virgin Points during the school holidays in the UK. I flew via various budget airlines but decided this was a good way to try Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy seat and review it since they were offering 25% off point redemptions.
I flew solo with my four-year-old daughter, so I definitely appreciate more space.
The taxes I find steep. I paid 26,000 Virgin points miles for both of us and £380 in taxes from Dubai to London.
Review Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy 787 Seat
I changed to the bulkhead seat at the last minute due to more space at the front. Travelling with a fidgeting 4-year-old turned out to be a good idea because she enjoyed more space to play.
The Premium economy seat on Virgin Atlantic is all leather and has plenty of space even though it hosts the screens as well. Considering that the 787 is an old plane, there is no footrest like on the British Airways Premium Economy or the American Airlines product.
They have those buff footrests they bring you after take off for you to use as a footrest. Our crew on this flight was very slow (more on that below), but they brought my footrest after around 4 hours. So I used it for only half the flight from Dubai to London.
I actually wasn’t aware they had these as an option. I just thought the bulkhead didn’t have a footrest since it was my first time on Virgin’s Premium economy product.
My seat has a few issues like it wouldn’t recline. Eventually, after 3 hours, staff came to try and fix it, and they did for the most part.
Even though I couldn’t recline, it was OK for me to read my book and relax.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Amenity Kit
Once you get on the aircraft, you have a pillow, blanket and an amenity kit waiting for you. Our Premium economy amenity was a recycled bag (which I liked), and it contained a toothbrush, eyemask, a pen and earplugs.
Basic, but actually, I thought it was better than the Saudi amenity kit in business class, which I feel was on par in terms of quality. Saudi Airlines should definitely work on their amenity kits.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Food
This was a mess because we actually had a totally different menu waiting for us on this flight. Apparently, there was a mistake.
However, the food was decent. I did enjoy it, but my daughter didn’t like any of it. We had a choice of chicken, pasta with mushrooms and fish. For an appetizer, we had an Arabic mezze.
If I had to compare to British Airways Premium Economy, I would say they were on par. My only comment will be about the bread they served, which was very hard, and I felt it should have been warmed up or just replaced.
Before landing, we were also offered an afternoon tea option of scone, jam and sandwich. This was definitely better, I felt, than the main meal and the scone was warm and fresh.
Throughout the flight, you have the option to visit the galley for drinks and snacks. They had a variety of options, from crisps to nuts and olives. I saw some sweet bars, but I think the crew kept those for the kids.
Overall, the food was of good quality. I would probably rate it 8/10.
Virgin Atlantic Customer Service
I am big on customer service no matter where you are. Some of my best memories are made by staff and not the actual hard product.
For example, I would not be as unhappy with the memory of my seat not reclining if the staff left a better impression. I felt like they just wanted to get home like the rest of us and would just do the bare minimum.
Even with regard to the footrest, which came 4 hours later when I could have maybe slept better if I had it. I just felt the service was forced, and combined with the overall mistakes and issues of menus, my daughter’s screen not working for a while and needing reset and the whole vibe. I felt like a lot was left to be desired from this flight.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Perks
As a Premium economy traveller, you receive two bags of 23kg each person, which is a great amount, plus a dedicated check-in counter.
When I travel with extra bags or when I lived in Doha, I used to travel in premium economy just for the extra baggage I could bring from the UK.
I didn’t check in my bags but visited the counter in Dubai so I could change my seat.
Here is what else you receive when travelling in premium economy on Virgin Atlantic
- Extra large seats
- Extra legroom
- 2 x 23kg checked bags
- A glass of bubbly when you board
- Pre-order from our delicious premium menu
- Premium check-in
- Priority boarding
You don’t receive lounge access when travelling on Premium Economy with Virgin Atlantic, but I had access through my American Express Platinum card. I visited the Skyteam Lounge in Terminal 1 in Dubai.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy VS Upper Class
I feel this is a valid question for those who are looking to book either premium economy vs upper class on points. Personally, for a flight of 7 hours, even with a child, I am happy with the extra space in economy since the miles are half of that in Upper class.
Of course, in the Upper class, you receive a bed and, hopefully, better food; you also have access to the bar where you can walk and relax for a while. If you find yourself a great deal in premium economy flights cash, then I would definitely suggest upgrading your miles to business class.
Personally, the 787 Upper class is awkward since the rows look into each other, and there is not much privacy unless you find a spot in A row. So, as a Muslim woman, I feel premium economy is a better choice than staring at a stranger for several hours.
However, if, like me, you earn your credit card miles through spending, I would instead make them stretch longer, so I am happy with premium economy. This is 25% fewer miles, so I consider it a great deal.
Overall, I have to say the flight was decent, and I would fly with Virgin again in the future. I do collect their miles, and for the amount of 26,000 points for two, even with the steep taxes, it was a comfortable flight.
Points transfer straight away from Amex UK to Virgin, so if they have an offer and you have the points, then it is a good option.
If you find yourself a good cash deal on a route you are looking for, then it is definitely worth booking since the extra space does make a difference.
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