Virgin Atlantic B787-9 premium economy
CHECK-IN I arrived at JFK T4 at 1630 for my 1900 flight. Virgin’s check-in is at row 3. There were two premium economy desks, and security took about 20 minutes.
BOARDING At 1820 I headed for Gate A5. A queue had formed in the priority lane, which premium economy flyers could use. Boarding started five minutes later and I was in my seat (25C) by 1835. I was offered a glass of prosecco or juice and a newspaper. A bottle of water and an amenity kit (socks, eye mask, ear plugs, pen, toothbrush/paste) were waiting for me.
THE SEAT The B787 has five premium economy rows (21-25) configured 2-3-2. In front of the cabin are washrooms, a galley and the “Wander Wall”, stocked with some snacks later on for premium economy passengers. The leather seat was comfy and had noticeably more room than in economy – it was 21 inches wide with a pitch of 38 inches and an eightinch recline. It had an adjustable headrest, a pull-down footrest, and wider armrests than in economy. The tray table came out of the middle armrest, which had a built-in space for a drink. The magazine rack was roomier than in economy. Headphones were the same. The IFE screen was larger, at 11 inches. There was also a handset with a screen, in-seat power and a USB port.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? It is free to pre-select your seat from the time of booking. Row 21 has more legroom, being behind the bulkhead, although you cannot pre-select a seat here as they are allocated to those with children or mobility issues. It is also closest to the washrooms and galley. The back row (25) is nearest the bassinets at the front of economy, although I wasn’t disturbed at all on this night flight.
THE FLIGHT We pushed back at 1905 but didn’t take off until 1940 because of an aircraft queue. A menu was provided, and juice or water was offered half an hour into the flight, followed by refresher towels. The meal was served at 2020. There was a choice of beef daube (tender beef in a rich sauce with egg noodles, tenderstem broccoli and carrots), chicken achiote (grilled Mexican-spice chicken with tomato rice) or vegetable moussaka (nice, if nothing special). A salad with balsamic vinaigrette, a coconut and macadamia tart (tasty), a roll and butter, and cheese and cream crackers were also provided, all served together on a tray with proper cutlery, china, glasses and mini salt and pepper shakers. The mini bottles of wine were the same as those in economy on the outbound flight. Various spirits and Heineken or Tiger beer were also available, while mini bottles of champagne could be purchased (£14 for one, £24 for two). Cognac, tea, coffee and hot chocolate were offered after the meal, along with bottled water for the flight. Staff were friendly and helpful. The meal was cleared quickly to allow people to sleep. I reclined, watched a film and rested, appreciating the extra room and comfort of the seat in comparison with my economy flight. An hour and a half before landing, fresh fruit, yoghurt, granola and a hot apple Danish were served.
ARRIVAL We landed early at 0650 and were bussed to the terminal. Immigration was well organised and my bag was quickly on the carousel. Michelle Harbi