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Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:36 am


So I've flown Virgin Atlantic many times from LAX to LHR. The only airline I've ever flown to Europe. I always found VS to be very professional, polished with excellent service. Then Virgin America came along and I've flown them domestically. And while they too are professional and sure know how to entertain, I've found they aren't exactly polished (not rude, they are very pleasant) but just kind of green with their crews and gate agents. I've noticed few biz travelers on my VX flights and the whole atmosphere strikes me as gimmicky and targeted to those on more younger level.

SO...that said I started wondering about Virgin Atlantic and what its reputation in London is. Is it seen as a premier carrier out of LHR? Or is it seen as an "alternative" to BA if the price is better? Does VS have solid biz contracts with the more elite corporations based in London that have Int'l travel? Or is VS seen as a more leisure carrier with the suites having preference for BA. If anyone in London could chime in I'd be curious to know. Thanks!
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:47 am

VS are gimmicky especially with their safety video!

VS from LHR are an alternative to BA running on business routes to USA, Asia, Australia, Africa and Middle East and the LHR aircraft have a premium heavy cabin split.

VS from LGW however run the leisure orientated flights to the Caribbean and Florida and Vegas

Overall I like VS but their economy legroom is not good, especially on their 744s
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:24 pm

I flew VS to Havana two weeks ago (return last week) from LGW upstairs in Premium Economy.

I would not choose to fly them again, nor would I recommend them, because:

* No AVOD (loop-based only - how 1990's of them!)
* Tired, dirty cabins (the outward journey was on the newly painted Ruby Tuesday, G-VXLG. The repaint did not encompass a cabin refit). The amount rubbish under the seat in front of me and in the seat pocket indicated very sluttish practices of their cleaning crew
* Cramped seating, even in W
* Absolutely abysmal catering - breakfast, after a 7 hour overnight flight, consisted was a stale muffin and tea/coffee - not even any juice or fruit salad was offered. Remember this was a supposedly premium cabin! Oddly some friends in Economy were given a wrap as well as the muffin. There were shortages and the food given in W bore no resemblance to what the printed menu indicated we would be getting

Good bits? The crew were friendly, especially the flight crew. Ground staff at LGW were good too. Pity the hard product was just woeful though and well below par (I usually fly BA, QF or Emirates). Could this be because of the leisure-oriented flights from LGW? I mean, are VS better ex-LHR?
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:56 pm

Quoting vhtje (Reply 2):
* No AVOD (loop-based only - how 1990's of them!)

I thought VS's IFE was voted among the best in the world (of course not as good as EK's ICE) and on Skytrax, their IFE is rated as 5-Stars. Plus VS's IFE placed at 3rd on the World Airline Awards behind EK and SQ.

Maybe you had an older plane not fit with AVOD? Are all of VS's plane updated with AVOD?
It's a cultural thing.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:11 pm

I'd say in the eyes of the general population Virgin are seen as an alternative to BA and a carrier of similar status. Their reputation is of a decent carrier with a more fun way of doing things and a contrast to BA's "stuffy" attitude. All bad stereotypes IMO!

AFAIK VS does have a decent amount of contracts with big companies, they'd struggle to survive otherwise. You also find that it is popular in the entertainment world on the LAX route because a lot of entertainment contracts (plus SAG members and the like) dictate highest class of travel available, on VS that's business class, on other carriers (BA, United, AA) that'd mean F.

Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 3):
Maybe you had an older plane not fit with AVOD? Are all of VS's plane updated with AVOD?

VS neglect their ex-LGW fleet and they do have pretty shoddy 747s out there.

My brother flew them LGW-MCO-LGW a couple of months back and said that between his fiancee and himself they didn't have a completely functioning IFE system (audio, remote and PTV) on either flight! They were very disappointed having flown BA on the route several times in recent years and switched over because of strike concerns at time of booking.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's Reputation In London

Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:03 am

I remember a time when VS was the trailblazer of IFE...everyone wanted to fly with them because they offered a product that no one else was offering. It was a time when most airlines still forced you to watch whatever movie was being projected to the front of the cabin and no one had iPhones/iPods/iPads/PC's to keep them entertained as an alternative. People talked of being entertained by impromptu jam sessions by well known "pop star" passengers, and it seemed that Branson's airline was the way to go if you wanted an alternative transatlantic flight. But it seems to me that a lot of airlines learned from their example...and then proceeded to surpass them.

The last time I flew with VS I was sorely disappointed. The food was mediocre, as was the service. On my reasonably empty flight EWR-LHR, the cabin crew pretty much disappeared after they'd served dinner (I won't go too much into how they'd run out of my choice of meal even though I was seated fairly near the front of a flight that had, and I quote, "over 200 empty seats".). Breakfast consisted of a muffin that would have been thrown out days before by the likes of Pret a Manger, along with a fruit salad containing fruit that would have been better used as a facial scrub.

The only good thing was that we had a very short flying time of 5 hours and 20 minutes that night, although LHR procedures dictated that we waited about 40 minutes for an available gate when we landed. Not VS's fault, I know, but would have been a lot more bearable had the flight been half decent.
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