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Premium Economy - Worth the money!
Member Name: cdsmiler81
Advantages: Excellent food & drink, larger seats, friendly staff
Disadvantages: Arm rests don't raise up, and entertainment system on return flight wasn't as reliable.
As myself and my husband were looking at Kenya for our Honeymoon, we had the two main airlines to choose from for our 8 hour plus flight. We chose Virgin because a) the timings suited us better and b) because we researched the seat sizes quite thoroughly! Being a long trip, and it being our honeymoon, we decided to upgrade to Premium Economy.
Check in was fine (the majority of which was done at the self service counter), boarding was fine, and we were soon shown to our pre-booked seats (of which we specifically chose the location of previously online.).
The staff were helpful and friendly throughout and nothing was too much bother. Before the flight even started taxi-ing towards the runway, we were offered a pre-flight drink! (at no extra cost of course!) What a lovely start to the flight, especially with the option of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic option. After discovering we were on our honeymoon, we were brought some complementary chocolates! Yum! A little while into the flight, we were brought a menu (yes, a MENU!) to show us the three options for our dinner. There was a nice selection, and as the trolley came around we could make our choice freely. Not only was there a nice selection of food and a delicious chocolaty pudding on our trays, but we had our food served in PROPER dishes. None of your usual plastic containers! And actual metal cutlery! Yes, you could actually cut your food.
After the meal we were offered a post dinner drink (again, included) of either brandy or baileys. Very unexpected and very welcome. Drinks were available throughout the long flight - you were either offered them or you were free to request them. About an hour and half before the flight ended, hot wraps were also brought around to curb any extra hunger.
The seats were comfortable, especially with the added footrest - it makes a long journey all that more comfortable. However, a few hours into the flight, I actually had economy envy! We had to use the toilets in the economy part of the plane, and as the plane was relatively empty, those passengers in economy were free to spread out (literally) and put the arm rests up between the seats so they could lie out (it was a night flight). Although we could move around the premium economy section freely and move seats if necessary, none of the arm rests moved so we couldn't spread ourselves out quite so much. A real shame - it made the flight more uncomfortable for me. It wouldn't have made that much difference on a shorter flight, but by the 6 hour mark, I could have done with a good stretch out!
The personal entertainment systems with each seat were brilliant on the flight out. There were a variety of different genres and music to watch and listen to, many films and programs also on a start-when-you-want-them-to type system. Brilliant! However, on our return flight, we obviously had an older plane as there was less choice (music, TV and film wise) and you had to fit in with the pre-defined scheduling. Also, our personal screens were quite bad quality - a bit fuzzy. It didn't seem to be particularly confined to our seats either.
Overall, an excellent airline and wouldn't hesitate to travel with them again. Hopefully all their entertainment systems will be upgraded in the near future - as they seem to alwys be working on improving and upgrading their planes on a regular basis. A company that makes the effort to do this is great in my eyes.
Summary: Excellent airline, would highly recommend. They seem to be upgrading their planes continuously.