Flying Virgin Atlantic? 3 simple tips for your journey

If you've flown with Virgin Atlantic recently, you may have reached a similar conclusion to me - despite a flurry of sales in the last six months, business is as slow as a legless donkey. From personal experience over the past fortnight, mid-week flights between Heathrow and New York are barely half-full; on my outbound flight last week, everyone had two or three seats to themselves, with capacity somewhere closer to one third.

Mid-week flights are always less popular, but it's unusual for the passenger manifesto to be so short. So good news if you're flying with Virgin over the coming weeks. Here are some basic points to watch out for:

- if you can, check-in online and reserve your seats as soon as possible. If you're a couple and fancy extra seats, check the back of the plane and book alternative seats, leaving a seat between you. Or, if you want a window, book one seat at the window, then the aisle seat on the row behind. Other passengers will look for their own space closer to the front of the plane, but if the flight is light, it won't be a crush to get off anyway.

- if you want extra legroom, just ask for it. You can't reserve the exit-aisle seats when you check-in online, but Virgin's procedures dictate that all seats on exit rows must have able-bodied adults occupying them. So ask when you check in, and you've a good chance of bagging the extra room. Failing that, keep an eye out when you board and offer to take the seats - if you don't, they'll only ask somebody else.

- watch out for empty baggage bins. Less passengers may mean less of a squeeze to fit your hand luggage in the overhead bins, but it also means that it's likely to take more of a battering. Thanks to my pilot slamming the plane into the tarmac with the grace of a skating horse, I've a crack across the screen of my laptop, because it was only one of three bags in a long bin. Pack your hand luggage in tight with that of other passengers, rather than let it rattle round in isolation.


  • Nobby
    > business is as slow as a legless donkey I once gave a donkey some beer and he was soon running around like crazy.
  • defgimp
    Last time we flew with Virgin (February 2009), they wanted an extra £30 each for the "extra legroom" seats and/or an extra £50 for the exit seats! This was each, and as a family of 4 we decided to decline the offer.
  • Simon
    Last time I flew Virgin Atlantic was to New York back in 2005. Things were OK, except when I boarded I was squeezed into a window seat that was tighter than a nun's chuff, despite being charged thru the nose for extra room. Eventually the special steward moved to me the correct seat, however this was next to a dribbling old man who stank of fags and kept coughing "bits" at me... I complained, got friendly with the hot brunette hostess and as luck would have she was on my return flight back to the UK..... Let's just say my letter of complaint was cancelled as she gave me great "service" on the way back! Happy Days
  • Ben
    'if you can, check in online and reserve your seats as soon as possible' - fucking bollocks, more like. We got a phone a week before we flew out to Florida (we landed back last week) and were told if we wanted to change our seats we could do, and as close to the online window opening (24 hrs) we could get , the better. Our seats going out were near the back, so I wanted to move a bit further up the plane. Taking time out of work, I checked in two minutes after the 24hr window opened, only to find our seats were now at THE VERY LAST ROW OF THE FUCKING PLANE, and there was nothing we could do about - as the bloke said when I rang up to complain. We had to get to the airport early (defying the point of checking in online) to see if we could change seats at the desk, and ended up paying extra to get upgraded to Premium Economy - although admittedly they only charged me two for the price of one (still £150, mind you) On the way back, six of us tried to check in online, but only five of us could do so - my wife had somehow disappeared off the booking. We were all in Premium Economy on the way but wanted to sit upstairs - yet again online check in wouldn't let us do it, so we had to wait to get to the check in desk for the staff to move us. The whole online service was a waste of time and effort and added undue stress - why the system moved our seats to the rear of the plane they still haven't been able to tell us. Basically, get to the airport early and speak to a human being. Be nice to them and they should sort you out.
  • Laura
    Unfortunately virgin have a habit of changing seats that you have booked online as and when they please. We booked our flights for the end of this month really early and chose excellent seats as we had almost the whole plane to choose from (economy seats). However, when I checked our booking a few weeks ago I saw that we ave been moved to seats over the wing. Phoned up but there is 'nothing they can do' and again no explaination!!!
  • Peter
    Hi. I'm going to be flying Virgin Atlantic for the very first time in July 2012. I need some advice for flying with them. I can cope with flying in a less than comfortable environment, but I don't know how different it will be to BA, which I scarcely fly anyways. I'm going to be flying on my own as a 17 year old. Any tips?

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