On Friday 6th I was lucky enough to go to San Francisco for a United family day thanks to ThePointsGuy! As this was a last minute trip, I booked an economy ticket with Virgin Atlantic as it was the most efficient way of getting there and it gave me a stopover in LA, too. I knew it was going to be a very long flight so had prepared for it beforehand in Terminal 3s No.1 Lounge. You can read all about it in my upcoming lounge review. The original flight time was meant to be 10hours and 20minutes however it turned out to be 11hours 30minutes. The aircraft operating my flight was a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner going by the name of “Pearly Queen”. She was delivered to Virgin in March 2017 and is the newest of Virgin’s 787s.
We boarded on time from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 and were greeted by a warm welcome and the classic purple glow that Virgin’s B787s use. My seat, 51k, had perfect window alignment, 31″ of pitch and 17.5″ of width. This legroom was sufficient for the long flight but nothing to brag about. Being at the back of the first economy cabin made it feel more spacious than it was as I had nobody behind me. The mesh material and large areas of brown exposed plastic on the seat made it feel very cheap, in my opinion. The cabin is laid out in a three class configuration. The setup holds Virgin’s Business Class product, ‘Upper Class’ in rows 1-11 in a 1-1-1 configuration, their premium product in rows 21-25 in a 2-3-2 configuration and finally economy in rows 45-68 in a 3-3-3 configuration. The aircraft has six toilets and three galleys.
The IFE was very responsive and the matte screens allowed only the person sitting directly infront of the screen to see what was being played. The variety of movies was sufficient however choice of TV series were very limited. Each TV episode was met by a small 2 minute advert and the movies a 6 minute advert. The headphones provided were comfortable as they were on ear headphones however they crackled when the volume was maxed out, which was needed most of the time.
The meal service began shortly after take-off about. The meal itself was fine for me however they provided butter but no bread which I thought was very strange as nothing else with the meal could have been supplemented by butter. The choice of meal was beef or chicken. I went for beef and was impressed.
Whilst crossing Greenland we experienced some moderate turbulence. The 787 handles turbulence very well but to the inexperienced flyer, the flex on the wing would have been a daunting sight. It was an impressive sight to behold. During the flight we received a few snacks at set intervals, these included a pastie, an ice-cream and pretzels. The flight attendants were, however, rarely in the cabin during the flight, so you couldn’t easily ask for something to eat. Unlike Norwegian’s 787s, Virgin have no option to purchase from your seat which disappointed me. I found myself getting very hungry during the cruise.
Even though it was a daytime flight there were no announcements from the flight-deck nor the cabin crew. Only a acknowledgement of our descent into LA. Landing into Los Angeles was buttery smooth and we parked at Terminal 2 with no trouble. Walking through security was a breeze and before I knew it I was outside the airport.
I always love flying on Boeing 787s and this flight didn’t change my opinion of them. The quieter engines, larger windows and modern feel are all factors that make me so inclined to choose it on a long-haul flight. Based on this I would choose Virgin Atlantic again. I was, however, disappointed with the service offered. The crew were rarely in the cabin during the flight which meant I was left hungry for most of the cruise.