The Office, London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom
www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/e… - +44 844 811 0000
Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow Airport Reviews
A big airline, but not great Dec 12, 2014
Trying to decide which airline to pick for our flights to the States, we took many factors in consideration. The most important ones – destination in US, price quoted, airline reputation and departure airport. After looking at KLM and Delta options, we found a good deal on a flight to Los Angeles with Virgin Atlantic. Although the flight was from London Heathrow, which meant arriving to London by Eurostar a day before and staying at one of the airport’s hotels, the price was still competitive compering to its rivals.
Ticket booking online was very easy and straightforward with all the time and price options displayed and transparent. For an 11-hour direct flight from London Heathrow to Los Angeles in economy class Virgin Atlantic charged right under £500. Quite unbeatable price even if you add extra £35 per person per flight for extra leg room. Make sure though that you book your tickets at least 6-12 months in advance to secure the best price deal. We booked 10 months in advance.
Flight details (actual):
London Heathrow (LHR) Fri, 12 Dec 2014, 10:55 – Los Angeles (LAX) Fri, 12 Dec 2014, 14:25
Los Angeles (LAX) Sat, 10 Jan 2015, 17:15 – London Heathrow (LHR) Sun, 11 Jan 2015, 12:00
During the booking process you also have a chance to make choice of your meal. Convenient especially if you have any dietary requirements.
Since the booking was made so far in advance, it was not a surprise that a couple of months later there was a slight time change to the flights’ times – the flights were moved about an half an hour earlier. Being given so much advance notice, that caused us no problems whatsoever.
Paying for extra leg room was done within one short phone call to customer service department. This also can be done online, but since we wanted the seats to be together, we decided to call.
The check-in process at Heathrow was very pleasant and easy. There were scales provided so you can check your luggage allowance before you reach the check-in.
Boarding went very smoothly with Business Class boarding first, than Premium Economy and passengers with extra leg room seats taking places on board, and finally the rest of the Economy Class boarding the plane.
The plane interior for Economy Class did not look as nice as it is always presented in all the videos and pictures. It didn’t look shabby or run down, but not as good as expected.
Paying extra £35 for seat upgrade to extra leg room paid off since there was definitely more room for your legs and you sat in a row of 2 seats only instead of 4. That by itself makes the journey more comfortable.
The main meal was served about 3 hours in and it consisted of a starter, choice of 3 main courses and a desert. There was also afternoon tea served later in the day with some sandwiches, a snack bar and tea or coffee (your choice). All soft and alcoholic drinks during the flight were included.
To be absolutely honest, the food served on-board is of an average standard. The portions are medium sized and the food has some flavour, but it is in no way great or exceptional. It might be a good idea to pay a little extra fee and have a better selection of your food. At least for such a long journey.
In-flight entertainment is provided with a fairly good selection of the latest block-busters. Each customer is provided with a little in-flight set including headphones, socks and a sleep blinder. The quality of all is fair but nothing special to hold on to later.
In-flight service was nice, but by no means exceptional. The staff was pleasant and attentive enough although, there was a long period of time when no staff was seen to help. I would say that all earns rather a low score for customer service.
The real disappointment occurred on the way back. We had a request for special needs assistance due to health issues, and Virgin Atlantic did nothing to find a reasonable solution for us except of suggesting paying over £1000 upgrade to Premium Economy. It was not a pleasant situation and we ended up at our normal seats and with no assistance throughout the flight. The disappointment on our part was enormous.
To conclude, although Virgin Atlantic offers competitive Economy Class fares, you might want to re-think what your gains are in terms of general comfort and customer service for a long-haul flight. You might just be better off paying a little more for better service conditions.
Next time, I will consider flying with other well established airline companies before coming back to Virgin Atlantic.
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