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Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

Florida
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Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

My family (4 adults) will be traveling the Orlando - Gatwick route in June 2014. I would appreciate opinions on which airline offers the best flight experience, British Airways WTP or Virgin Atlantic PE. Price would normally help me make the decision but currently they are within pennies of each other. Thank you for your help!

Market Bosworth...
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11. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

When was the flight?

London
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12. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

Last week in Feb

Market Bosworth...
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13. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

Makes sense less than 90 days she would be able to

London
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14. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

I flew Virgin Premium Economy from Cape Town to London this Saturday night, 5 April 2014. It was really disappointing. I normally fly British Airways but as I needed to get to London very quickly, only managed to get a Virgin Up, BA Down PE combination from Opodo.

Must say, I was very excited to be going Virgin PE as I'd heard so much about it - never been particularly impressed with the BA PE as they use the really old Business Class seats that hurt my bum. I even went onto the Virgin site to see that I was going to be able to watch the Hunger Games first sequel. I was also looking forward to the extra legroom and super service.

Imagine my unhappiness when I sat in my seat and found that not only was the legroom a lot less than the extra 7" that BA give you, but I couldn't even put my legs out straight! There seemed to be a liferaft or something under the seat in front. When you're 6'4" like me, the ability to stretch out straight is really, really important.

Then, they battled to switch on the entertainment. Now, fair enough, this often happens with BA, but at least when they get it going, you get a 21st Century selection and can switch on to a film anytime you like. Unfortunately this wasn't the case with this flight. For a start, the Hunger Games wasn't even in the list, and when I eventually tried to watch a film during the night (when I'd given up trying to sleep with the lack of legspace) the one I'd selected from their pathetically sparse booklet wasn't even available. I checked and only about 50% of the listed films was on the entertainment channel. To make matters even worse, when I tried to watch one, it was already half way through! Apparently they didn't have 'individual' ones like BA does and so you had to either wait until the movie started again on its loop, or give up, which is what I did. And having heard the dire warning that they wouldn't give you any more alcohol to dull the pain, I tried to sleep listening to my own Ipod, which actually wasn't too bad. And to make matters even worse, the quality of the screen instructions for the Virgin heap of junk was abysmal and so last-century that even my technological wizard grandson would have been hard pressed to understand it.

The whole set up seemed to be ancient, and one of the stewardesses - actually the ONLY steward or stewardess I could find during the night - told me it was an old plane. Basically her story was that it was

'holiday time' and so they had to stretch resources.

On disembarkation I couldn't get the number of the plane but luckily saw it was called 'African Queen'. Now I'm old enough to remember a film with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn that was called the same: the vessel in question was an old steamboat, and that's the way I feel about Virgin's vessel, old and stuffed.

I checked online and found that this Airbus A330-300 airplane (registration number G-VELD) is over 16 years old and obviously in need of an urgent refit, or retirement.

I certainly won't ever be going back on Virgin unless I really have no choice, and even then I'd think twice. Twelve hours of expensive pain, in my humble opinion, is just not worth it. I'll go BA anytime from now and be damned happy!

London
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15. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

Just to get the number right, the plane was obviously an Airbus A340-300 (not an A330-300 as I said previously)

Maybe of more interest, I did a check on seatguru and found that there are lots of other people that aren't very happy with Mr Branson and his ancient planes! I certainly won't be flying Virgin in a hurry that's for sure, The only trouble is that BA are eventually going to phase out their wonderful 747s and - if Jo'burg is any example - replace them with Airbus A380s which don't impress me at all. Oh well

London
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16. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

VS currently have a number of A380s and 787s on order - I believe that they are due to come into service in the second half of 2014, at which point the 340s will most likely be retired.

I guess they just don't want to commit the cash to refurbing something that will be taken out of service in 6 months time.

It will take a long time for BA to phase out their 747 fleet (they have a hell of a lot of them!), and it looks like they intend to replace with a combination of 380s, 350s and 787s.

What is it that you find so ghastly about the BA 380?

Cala d'Or, Spain
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17. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

Agree, what's is there not to like about BA PE on the A380.

London
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18. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

That's interesting to hear - mind you, I think they have a total cheek in charging high fares for old rubbish. I thought only second rate airlines like Iberia and SAA did that!

I hope you're right about BA's 747s, and that they keep them on the Cape Town route for as long as they can.

I'm afraid - and it's not just my nightmare flight last Saturday night on Virgin that makes me like this - that I cannot stand Airbuses and will avoid them whenever I can. They are just cheap-and-cheerful metal cans with no redeeming features as far as I'm concerned. And when I look at the seatguru map of the BA ones I don't see much solace for me in regard to legroom, especially in my usual Cattle Class mode, because as a 6'4' guy there don't seem to be many potential legroom seats. But then maybe I'm biased....

Edited: 2:35 pm, April 09, 2014
London
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19. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

That's interesting to hear - mind you, I think they have a total cheek in charging high fares for old rubbish. I thought only second rate airlines like Iberia and SAA did that!

I hope you're right about BA's 747s, and that they keep them on the Cape Town route for as long as they can.

I'm afraid - and it's not just my nightmare flight last Saturday night on Virgin that makes me like this - that I cannot stand Airbuses and will avoid them whenever I can. They are just cheap-and-cheerful metal cans with no redeeming features as far as I'm concerned. And when I look at the seatguru map of the BA ones I don't see much solace for me in regard to legroom, especially in my usual Cattle Class mode, because as a 6'4' guy there don't seem to be many potential legroom seats. But then maybe I'm biased....

Edited: 2:35 pm, April 09, 2014
20. Re: Virgin Atlantic PE vs British Airways WTP

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