Monday, July 03, 2006

A not so frequent virgin

We'll here I am in sunny Australia on a cold and windy Monday night!!!!! It's mid winter and the temperature hit 23 degree's today. That's not too shabby. However, I'm not in Sydney but Perth, Western Australia. My travel plans were changed at the last minute (Wednesday night to be exact). That's not too much of a problem but when they tell you at the last minute and you can't get a direct flight it can be a pain in the backside. I had to fly to Sydney then change planes and fly back across the country to Perth. What should have been an 18 hour direct flight turned into a 29 hour ordeal!!!!!

I flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for the first time. I thought it would make a change from BA. You get a free transfer to the airport, private check-in (they drive right up to the check in and take your bags from the car) and more frequent flier points. There is also the added attraction of the upper class suite. However, they weren't off to a great start when the limo arrived half an hour late and the flight was delayed by 40 minutes. Still once we were underway they made up the time.

Virgin prides itself on being 'trendy' and different from it's competitors. Arriving in the Upper Class cabin I could see that they had made an effort. The cubicle-like partitions divide the cabin into individual suites, the seats themselves face
inward in herringbone pattern. Stools in every suite allow for colleagues to join your for a drink or dinner. So it would be nice if I was traveling with Abster. The seats don't recline into a flat bed like BA. You have to stand up and press a button to make the seat come forward and down onto the stool. You are then left with a completely flat bed. It's a pain to have to get up and convert it but you end up with a much more comfortable bed. They were different and the suites were wider and longer. When you are my size you need all the space you can get. We did however get issued with sleep suits (not quite in the 'romper' fashion!) but it meant that my clothes weren't crushed for the entire flight and I managed to disembark looking quite 'crease free' and smelling a little less like I'd slept in my clothes - as I hadn't!

The In Flight Entertainment (IFE for us frequent fliers) is pretty good. Rather than have a limited number of films and having to wait for them to come on they have introduced a real time system. You can pick the movies you want to watch, pause it, fast forward through the boring bits or stop it and choose another. The selection was pretty poor and they didn't have any classic movies like BA.

They have a small bar at one end of the cabin. Not that big but it's a nice to be able to sit around and chat to other passengers, have a beer or two and eat some snacks. However, I would
suggest you don't sit to close to the bar as it can get a little noisy at times. It's not too bad but I like a bit of peace and quiet when trying to sleep.

All in all I would fly Virgin again but will probably stick to BA. They have a better route network, a good partner program and I've got too many frequent flier miles to bother changing.
That's about it for now. More about my trip later on!!!

No comments: