Advantages Good cabin crew, clean loos, worth the money we paid
Disadvantages Uncomfy Seats, Not a lot of room, awful food
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In my lifetime I have only been abroad three times now, Tenerife which I don’t remember, Lanzarote and now New York. On the trip to Lanzarote, I swear that our plane was the worst plane in the world, it felt dirty, small and the televisions were in the centre of the isle, and were constantly blocked due to the air hostess’ walking in front of it.When we booked our trip to New York however, the girl at Thomas Cook booked us on a trip on Virgin Atlantic Airways, and proceeded to tell us all of the little extras we would be getting on this plane. It calmed my nerves down a little bit, because the journey was around 7 hours there and about 6 hours on the way back, it is a very long journey and I didn’t want an un comfy ride and nothing to really watch on the trip.
To book your trip, you have the option of either doing it through a company like Thomas Cook or doing it yourself through Virgin Atlantic’s website. We chose to do it through Thomas Cook, as my mum was booking the main portion of it and despite the fact she’s done a computer course, trying to work out how to book it on the internet would turn out to be a catastrophe.The representative at Thomas Cook booked our holiday for us, pretty much the same way we would at home, and then helped us with booking our hotel room as well and even offered to book all of the trips we wanted to do as well, but in the end we said we’d rather do them when we got there.
After the little bit of torture, we finally sat down in our seats. My bum groaned when it was met with 4cm worth of cushion over a lot of wood. I knew I wasn’t looking at a very comfy trip from that moment on, however managed to pile my pillow and blanket under my bum to make it even slightly more comfortable.On the way there, me and my sister were sat in the two seats near the window, where as my mum and nan, were sat in the middle on two of four seats. As soon as were in the air, the passenger in front of my sister, immediately reclined her seat as far back as it would go, so she was literally lying in my sister’s lap and the passenger in front of my mum did exactly the same. The girl in front of my sister was very rude throughout the whole trip and kept on attempting to push the seat back even further into the impossible. No asking if she could recline her seat, just kept on doing it.
The seats on the first leg felt quite bit, at one point I easily sat crossed legged on the seat, there was quite a bit of room on the seat. In front of me, there wasn’t much leg room however I found I had enough to stretch my legs ever with my bag and jumper under the seat in front of me.On the second leg on the way back, we spent almost 9 hours on what should have been a 6 hour plane due to Hurricane Bill who was sweeping over the east cost when we were in the airport, so when we actually got in the plane, our plane was in a long queue which went on for almost 2 and ½ hours. This was annoying as we kept on seeing these planes, coming along our left and flying off before us and my bum was already beginning to die.
This plane was very different, when we got on, we were only taken through the premier economy seats and there wasn’t many to find that we were all in a 3. Me and my sister sat next to us, and behind us, my mum and my nan sat. We were all looking at these big men walking on and praying, that we woudln’t have a 20 stone bloke sitting next to us, thank god, we actually had a 19 year old girl sit next to us, and whom was very nice to talk to. My mum and nan had a Spanish woman however who didn’t understand, can you move because we need to go to the toilet?I did find the space on the leg home a lot less than on the way there. I know I was in the middle but even trying to sit crossed legged on the seat ended in disaster. Because of sitting on a plane for 9 hours, my bum was unbelievably dead by the time we got back to Heathrow.
Having slight OCD when it comes to using public bathrooms, the idea of using the loos on a plane scared the hell out of me, especially considering they were uni-sex. In New York, I actually nearly had a panic attack at Battery Park after walking into a toilet and seeing the most disgusting facilities that I’ve ever seen, and unfortunately, I had to use them.With this in mind, the loos on the plane were amazing. Sure after 9 hours, there started to be water on the floor and it did get a bit worrying to use the smaller ones, however they were fine for me to use, and I had no problems what so ever. I am sure however, they can get pretty mingin, so make sure to take your own hand wash or wipes, of course in a clear plastic bag.
I am really going to try and be elegant here considering I have the perfect way to describe the food on the plane, but I think I’ll be screamed at if I use those choice of words. On the first flight, we were giving breakfast, a tortilla wrap of egg and yes you’ve guessed it (not) ham. It was vile, pure vile. Even the tortilla tasted as it was weeks old. Then the lunch came a few hours later, chicken and puke or Beef and puke. What would you choose?Okay I have to say the meal on the way there (chicken and mash) was alright, it tasted a bit funky, but it was edible. The beef on the way there, looking at other people’s meals looked nice to. On the way back however, the choice of beef and vomit was a perfect description, it was the vilest tasting thing I’ve had in my life. Even the roll we had with the meal tasted awful.
The refreshments however were brilliant, well as long as you like water, apple juice, orange juice, fizzy drinks or coffee/tea. They didn’t come around enough on the way back however due to it being kind of middle of the night, but it was still a very good choice.
You then get the choice of about 50 TV shows and a lot of music as well. All in all, you have ENOUGH entertainment on the plane to keep you entertained for 24 hours let alone 7.
During college, I got the opportunity to go on a course for airline training (me and my mate were filming it for our college) so I looked at the cabin crew a bit differently, finally understanding the job they had to do and how hard they have to work, and what they have to learn beforehand. It opened my mind a bit.
You also get headphones as well to watch the entertainment which are completely free, they’re little plastic ones you slip over your head. Easy and cheap but effective. As well as that you get a little bag which features toothbrush, toothpaste, and an eye mask which was a god send when we actually got into New York, we are still using it now at home and I’m sure it’ll come to Uni with me as well.
The Cabin Crew was fantastic, they really helped us with everything we asked for, couldn’t ask for more.When we flew out from JFK, the Pilot dipped down the wings and showed us Manhattan at night. It was stunning, I wish we were allowed camera’s at that point as they would have been the best pictures of the whole lot that I took. When we came into London as well, he told us where all the famous landmarks were, it was a bit weird having a Pilot as a tour guide but great.
It just goes to show that choosing food beforehand might be a better idea; I wish we had now as my stomach was rumbling like mad when we made it back to Heathrow and then we had an hour and a half drive home as well, thank god for getting a taxi.Next time I will probably attempt to go Premier Economy, it was around $200 extra (we asked in JFK) so around about £110, which is a lot, but I think my tushy is worth it and I don’t think my back can cope with another flight like that. Wish we had upgraded on the way home, but we were seriously skint from everything we had done in our time in New York.
All in all, I think everything but the seats and food on Virgin Alantic is brilliant, the food looked awful and tasted even worse and the seats were so uncomfortable, however it was a good flight and for the money we paid, we did get ‘what we paid for’.I would recommend flying with Virigin Alantic, however would recommend booking your food beforehand and if you can afford it, get into premier economy or at least by a decent pillow for the seat. That would be cheaper probably, but I can’t tell you yet if that works or not.
Hope this helps. (C) KIrsty 2009
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