This is a direct flight between London Gatwick and Las Vegas. The departure and arrival times are pretty good for a short trip to Vegas. I flew:
VS043 02 NOV LGW 11:20 LAS 15:05
VS044 06 NOV LAS 16:35 LGW 10:35
Virgin provide fast track security access for Premium Economy travellers – something that BA doesn’t do. Boarding was easy and priority was given to premium cabin travellers.
This was an older aircraft, no on-demand movies, older seats etc. I was seated on the upper deck; the configuration on these older aircraft is actually much better than the new as the whole deck is Premium Economy plus the overhead lockers are bigger. If you are in a window seat then you need to ask the aisle passenger to get out of their seat in order to get up. The best seats are in the exit row with plenty of space in front, but even though I was one of the first to check in online I wasn’t able to get one of these.
Service was the usual Virgin Premium Economy offering; sparkling wine before takeoff, choice of reasonable meals, not exactly over-generous drinks service, after dinner choice of brandy or Baileys. What was missing was the amenity pack; this normally contains toothbrush, toothpaste, pen, ear plugs, eye shades and socks. I asked about this and the steward said that they had been discontinued – I didn’t actually believe this and my suspicions were confirmed when we were given the pack on the return flight. Not sure why he felt the need to provide false information instead of just saying sorry they forgot the packs for this flight.
The downside of being on the upper deck is that takes longer to disembark. There is always a queue to get down the small staircase. There isn’t a system in place to allow premium cabin travellers to disembark first. I think that priority disembark is more important than priority boarding, especially when arriving in the USA where there are always long queues for immigration.
There was no queue at security in Las Vegas. Boarding was easy and priority was given to premium cabin travellers.
This was a newer configuration aircraft, so on-demand movies and newer seats. I was again on the upper deck. The new configuration puts several rows of economy on the upper deck – what a stupid idea that is, especially as economy is nearest the stairs. I don’t think I’ll be using the upper deck on UK to US flights in future. The locker sizes have also been reduced so that are ridiculously small and most people had to pile their bags into the wardrobe at the rear of the cabin. Economy seats in the exit row are almost better than the premium economy seats. So a complete design disaster.
Service was the same as outbound, but with the added benefit of having the ‘discontinued’ amenity packs.
I paid £1000 return, booking well in advance. I think that was reasonable value, but I wouldn’t want to pay much more than that. Virgin really need to re-think the design of the upper deck, but I think it’s too late and the money has been spent on a bad design.