THE FLIGHT

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - News -

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

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

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