Wednesday 3 November 2010

Virgin Atlantic, London Heathrow to Los Angeles

On the 11-hour daytime flight to Los Angeles, you will probably want to stay awake, so Virgin Atlantic's extensive video-on-demand service is very welcome and very useful. If you are travelling economy, check-in online early to secure a window seat, as the middle seat looks pretty cramped. The food is okay and you won't have to pay for a glass of beer or wine. You may even get an ice cream to accompany the in-flight films. For the night flight back, it is worth paying extra for premium economy, which has many of the trappings of business class. Crucially, the seats are quite spacious and they lean back far enough to let you get some sleep. Moreover, you'll be served enough alcohol to make you sleepy. When you board, you are offered a glass of sparkling wine, followed by two glasses of wine with your meal and then a Baileys or a whisky afterwards.  You also get a menu, with a choice of food. Virgin's chicken and rice, served with a smoked salmon salad and bread roll, is not bad for airline food. For desert, you might get a respectable chocolate profiterole and a lump of cheddar, plus some biscuits. In the morning, as you approach Britain, you are served passable coffee and a bagel by Virgin's still glamorous cabin crew in their starched white shirts and red uniforms. All-in-all, Virgin Atlantic remains one of the world's more civilised airlines. 7/10