Review of Virgin Atlantic flight New Delhi London in Business

Airline Virgin Atlantic
Flight VS301
Class Business
Seat 2A
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 9:20
Take-off 27 May 17, 13:05
Arrival at 27 May 17, 17:55
VS   #19 out of 112 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 31 reviews
Rewardflying
By 1365
Published on 16th July 2017
photo vs301 cover

Welcome back to the trip around the world with no fresh air.

For the background on this trip and how it came about follow this link to Reward Flying

The desire to fly Virgin Atlantic's 787 Upper Class as well as the stubbornness of not wanting to pay Delta's stiff cancellation fee prompted this silly round the world routing I took to return from California. And after this flight, Virgin Atlantic is no longer on my dream list.

Last year when flying Air New Zealand, who use the same business class seat, my flight attendant Paul praised the seats for sleeping and called them "game changers" for his airline. That flight wasn't long enough to get horizontal, this flight was. Paul was right, only for the other team.

This was my first trip to India. And while I never ventured out into the 112 degree heat, I must say all the people I encountered were extremely nice. It began with a young man named Anand who worked for the Holiday Inn where I was staying in Terminal 3. He met me at the gate when I arrived on JL749.

Arriving in India you have 2 choices. A visa to pass immigration or a boarding pass on a departing flight within 24 hours of arrival and you can't leave the airport. Typically if you're in transit you'd already hold the next boarding pass. In my case, due to my bizarre route home, I needed to obtain my Virgin Atlantic boarding pass to clear security and get upstairs to the hotel. However my ticket on Virgin also included a subsequent connecting flight on KLM to Amsterdam. Before my arrival Anand had gone to the Virgin desk to arrange for the boarding pass. He was unsuccessful.

To make a long story short, they were unable to print the KLM boarding pass as it wasn't in the record. After a 90 minute or so wait they hand wrote a boarding pass so I could clear security and promised the issue would be resolved in the morning, as it was. While this was an inconvenience, without Anand and the Virgin Atlantic representative I might be sitting in the transit lobby right now.

I have no idea how it got resolved. I called Delta and they claimed everything was fine (after 30 minute hold). I also tried twitter but it took them 4 hours to respond. Not good. Apparently weather issues in the states.

For those that need to transit New Delhi, the Holiday Inn is not a bad way to go. For 15,000 IHG points (often on sale for $89) or a normal rate of about $110 you get a room and breakfast.



Just be prepared for this room they call the restaurant.



Breakfast was not your typical buffet.



There were a couple of chafing dishes with hot items plus made to order omelets or pancakes where the chef personally delivered the dish as well as asked if you wanted another. When finished the server, another nice fellow named Prince, presented a typical check portfolio. Knowing that breakfast (or whatever you want to call it) was included I was about to protest only to open the portfolio and find a guest survey asking how you liked the service. As I mentioned, everyone was extremely accommodating.

Virgin Atlantic uses the shared Plaza Premium lounge in New Delhi. This is an attractive full service lounge whose only drawback is it's somewhat small. Yet it is well appointed and very comfortable.



There is a shower facility, massage room and VIP room.



Food was plentiful in the back room as well as made to order eggs.


Indira Gandhi International Airport is an older facility. From the time I landed I noticed there weren't many aircraft on the tarmac and as this photo shows, not many folks at check-in on a Saturday morning. I guess because of the heat most flights are overnight.

photo vs301 airport 2photo vs301 airport 1

There are plenty of places to shop for authentic Indian goods.



Boarding was to commence so off to the gate. "Dream Girl" had already arrived.

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After a short wait in the boarding area,

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proceedings to London began on time.

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Entering through door 2 of this Boeing 787-9 aircraft, Virgin flight attendants were armed and ready.

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Thirty-one upper class seats will be occupied on this flight.

photo vs301 cabin 1

This is as peaceful as it will be. Notice the storage area behind the seat for pillow, blanket and mattress pad. Great use of this space.

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The front cabin bulkhead wall, which would be my view today.

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There are no lavs, nor is anyone allowed in front of row one. The lavs are back behind door two. While the lavs were kept tidy throughout the flight, the floor was very sticky.

photo vs301 cabin lav 1photo vs301 cabin lav 2

I dislike these seats, for multiple reasons beyond being stacked like sardines.

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Nice touch, a bottle of water. Now reach for it.

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SeatGuru marks row 7 as missing a window. SeatGuru should mark rows 2-11 red because you are unable to look out the window unless you can turn your head 60 degrees just to use one eye.

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Row one is the only seat you can look out the window.

photo vs301 seat 5

Go ahead, dim the window tint.

photo vs301 seat 4

I'd like to see Virgin Atlantic's internal study of how many people knock their beverage over from this tray.

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And the purpose of this reading light? Because it's not for reading. I know, it's to see where your drink spilled.

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And of course the smallest monitor of any international business class pod I've ever seen.

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And finally a bed that is so hard (even with a mattress pad) it's like trying to sleep on the floor. But at least you can adjust the window tint.

photo vs301 seat sleep 1

Obviously I wasn't overwhelmed by the hard product other than being on a Boeing 787-9 series. Would the soft product overcome my disappointments?

Virgin Atlantic is one of the few airlines that provide sleep suits in business class. There aren't proactively placed at your seat, so I asked and received.

photo vs301 amenity pj1

While I'd read the VS sleep suits were great, what I received was just okay. The top reminded me of a simple plain black long sleeve t-shirt. I guess Japan Airlines Porsche Design pj's have jaded me.

photo vs301 amenity pj2

An amenity kit was waiting at the seat.

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Standard fare, no slippers so I had to put my shoes on each time I visited the lav because of the sticky floors. Maybe I should have tried "thisworks" as I couldn't sleep on the rock.

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And finally less than noise cancelling headphones. Maybe I forgot to flip the switch.

photo vs301 amenity headphone

Well there is always food and beverage to make the memory.

photo vs301 menu1 coverphoto vs301 menu2 intro

Paragraph 4 failed to materialize.

Upon boarding I was offered a glass of champagne.

photo vs301 food3 wine 1photo vs301 menu3 wines

Not a fan I went for a red, the Bodega. This was served with Ruffles potato chips. A first.

photo vs301 food3 wine 2

The good news is you can extend the mini-monitor and use the shelf for your chips and drink, turbulence be damned!

Of course Virgin Atlantic is very popular flying down to Sir Richard's favorite spot the Caribbean. Hence Mojitos are the cocktail of choice.

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This pod has a very generous table. But once extended you are trapped in your seat. Some seats, like the reverse herringbone designs, allow you to slide out with the tray in place. Not so lucky with these.

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Of course if you have the monitor out the back half of the tray is useless and if your phone is charging the cord is in your butter.

And no I did not pilfer these.

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I chose the Mozzarella salad.

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Things look promising.

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It was nicely presented and tasty.

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For the Main I chose the fish, partially because I didn't know what the other dishes were.

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I didn't care for it at all. The herbs were overpowering, you can almost see the flour coating and the fish was slightly undercooked.

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Next up was a cheese plate. I passed.

photo vs301 menu7 cheese

"At the bar", had a small selection of items. Today it wasn't a very popular place to hang out.

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By door 2 in the galley area was a nice display of drinks and snacks, probably for premium economy passengers.

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Time for Pudding.

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An argument could be made that this isn't true New York style cheesecake, but that would be picky. Plus it was very good.

photo vs301 food8 pudding 1

Before arrival I selected the Chicken Burger from the Extra Bites menu.

photo vs301 menu9 extra bitesphoto vs301 food9 xbites 1

It was good, but they need to change the menu from "Extra Bites" to "Extra Bite" as I was still very peckish.

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Pop quiz. Name the 3 items missing from the plate as promised from the menu.

This photo was taken upon arrival. The bag is from the pajamas and the water bottle I brought on the plane, finishing 7 hours earlier.

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I was looking froward to taking some photos of London on approach, oh never mind.

Upon landing the pilot informed the passengers that all British Airways flights had been cancelled. The "fun" was about to begin.

For more information on this flight and how much it cost visit Reward Flying

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See more

Verdict

Virgin Atlantic

4.3/10
Cabin3.5
Cabin crew4.5
Entertainment3.5
meal/catering5.5

Plaza Premium Lounge Management Limited Plaza Premium Lounge (International Departures)

6.5/10
Comfort7.0
meal/catering7.0
Entertainment5.0
Services7.0

New Delhi - DEL

5.3/10
Efficiency5.5
Access5.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness5.0

London - LHR

4.1/10
Efficiency3.5
Access3.5
Services5.0
Cleanliness4.5

Conclusion

This flight is ranked towards the bottom of my business class international flights. Not being able to adjust the window tint without getting out of your seat is silly. Who figured that out? There is nothing I like about this seat. Apparently Virgin Atlantic has these configured differently than Air New Zealand as I didn't encounter theses issues on their 787. And passing by all the windows on this plane it seemed all were the same. Air New Zealand must have them set back more than Virgin.

I originally selected 1A but changed to 2A due to some comment I read about how often your feet get bumped by FA's exiting the galley in 1A/1K. Well getting your feet bumped is not limited to row 1. I can't begin to tell you how many times a flight attendant brushed against my feet when passing by. Get 1A or 1K if you can, enjoy the view, at least more than anyone else.

And throughout this report I never even mentioned the lack of privacy sitting in these seats.

The food was ok. I can see where they have potential, it's just my main wasn't that good.

The flight attendants were nice, but not picking up an empty water bottle and plastic wrap for 7 hours is hard to defend.

It's always important to leave on a positive note, pajamas in business class.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 404308 by
    Razza_Pr 139 Comments

    Greetings, Rewardflying, and thank you for this FR.

    What is it with UK-based airlines and not knowing how to properly configure premium business class? BA offers a 2-4-2 where aisle passengers not only lack privacy but also has to bear overstepping passengers, and VS with their sad 1-1-1 where passengers will have to twist their backs to see out of the window, with some who will also have to look at strangers' faces.

    "The herbs were overpowering, you can almost see the flour coating and the fish was slightly undercooked."
    -A notable British chef might even say that the fish is so undercooked it's still looking for his son in Sydney :p (it looks quite tragic if I dare be so bold)

    "Can you spot the 3 things missing from the menu description?"
    -To be fair it saves passengers from having to remove unwanted parts of the burger.. but yes tongs or anything like that would be appreciated.

    "I can't begin to tell you how many times a flight attendant brushed against my feet when passing by. Get 1A or 1K if you can, enjoy the view."
    -Or lack thereof?

    "Upon landing the pilot informed the passengers that all British Airways flights had been cancelled. The "fun" was about to begin"
    -Did your onwards flight accommodate any of the stranded BA passengers?

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!

      0
  • Comment 404405 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 184 Comments

    Hi Raza_Pr. Hope things are well.

    "What is it with UK-based airlines and not knowing how to properly configure premium business class?
    -So true! Just because they had the original flat bed idea doesn't mean someone else can't improve on it.

    "A notable British chef might even say that the fish is so undercooked it's still looking for his son in Sydney :p (it looks quite tragic if I dare be so bold)"
    -Ha!

    "Did your onwards flight accommodate any of the stranded BA passengers?"
    --Silly me I went to the gate where a previous AMS flight hadn't departed and asked if they had any seats. I was given one of those "are you kidding" looks. So I assume as my flight was full. The person next to me had been booked on KL.

    Thanks for your comments as always.

      0
  • Comment 404457 by
    socalnow 463 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight with us Rewardflying. I get the impression that you were not blown away by the Virgin. ;)

    "While the lavs were kept tidy throughout the flight, the floor was very sticky."
    -Oh dear.

    "Of course if you have the monitor out the back half of the tray is useless and if your phone is charging the cord is in your butter."
    -Yum!

    "And no I did not pilfer these."
    -I don't know if I could be as strong.

    "The herbs were overpowering, you can almost see the flour coating and the fish was slightly undercooked."
    -It's not really visually appealing either...

    ""At the bar", had a small selection of items. Today it wasn't a very popular place to hang out. "
    -That looks like fun. Surprised there weren't more takers on an evening flight.

    "This photo was taken upon arrival. The bag is from the pajamas and the water bottle I brought on the plane, finishing 7 hours earlier."
    -At least the inattentive service matched the sub-par hard and soft products?

    I have to say I am disappointed in Virgin Atlantic. I was keen on trying them. Mainly for the excellent lounges, if I'm honest. I might have to reconsider.

    Thanks again for sharing and happier flying.

    "It was good, but they need to change the menu from "Extra Bites" to "Extra Bite" as I was still very peckish."
    -Golly, that is a sad looking morsel. I'm glad the taste was satisfactory.

      0
  • Comment 404539 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 184 Comments

    "I have to say I am disappointed in Virgin Atlantic. I was keen on trying them. Mainly for the excellent lounges, if I'm honest. I might have to reconsider."
    -Yes the lounges are probably the best draw. I was hoping for the VS arrival lounge in London but it closes at 2 and I arrived later on. Of course you can always fly SQ out of JFK on and use the VS Clubhouse in New York. I'm sure you've thought of that. Frankly after reading your numerous first class reports as you sit in the most prestigious cabins drinking the finest champagnes and wines, I just can't picture you stuffed in one of those sardine seats eating potato chips and sipping a mojito.

    Thanks for your comments Christian.

      0

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