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Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy: Luxury or Hype? Find Out Here

Virgin Atlantic is definitely one of my preferred airlines. However, I often find its prices higher than that of competitors. Their premium economy is usually quite reasonably priced relative to their economy seats. However, business class on Virgin Atlantic is usually at a much higher premium than on similar airlines.

I flew on Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy on the a330 pre-Covid and that review is listed in this article. I flew Premium Economy on Virgin most recently post covid on the Boeing 787-9 so I will begin with that flight after covering a few basics on checking fares and check-in for Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy at Heathrow.


Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review – Making the Booking

Virgin Atlantic always seems to be an amazing deal or really expensive. Luckily, in this case, it was the amazing deal option. I was looking for a return flight to new york from London for Thanksgiving.

I always start my search for flights with Skyscanner and then move on to Expedia. This usually gives me a good idea of the best options.

⇒ Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to as many destinations as some other airlines, but there are a few that I have visited and written about. These include London, San Francisco, New York, Glasgow and Hong Kong.

virgin atlantic premium economy a340 safety brochure

Then I like to head on to the airline’s own websites. They normally guarantee the best price.

The other thing I like is it is normally easier to compare if there are savings or opportunities to be had by taking an earlier or later flight. Plus I found it helpful to have prices for Virgin Atlantic Economy cabin, Premium Economy class Virgin Atlantic and Virgin premium class next to each other for comparison.

Virgin Atlantic also has three different options for economy bookings so it may be worth checking these out depending on your needs.

premium economy virgin atlantic snacks
On board posh snacks!

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy – Airport and Checking In

Premium Economy Virgin Atlantic flies out of Heathrow Terminal 3. Flying in the Virgin Premium Economy cabin also gets you your own check-in area separate from economy passengers which is separate even from business class.

So that is a nice experience for premium economy passengers. I didn’t get priority boarding on the way to New York but I did on the way back so perhaps I should have asked.

virgin atlantic premium economy a330 in flight toiletries bag
The red in-flight amenities bag

I was hoping for lounge access on my premium economy Virgin Atlantic flight. The website says that there can be lounge access depending on how busy it is. Or I was taking the frequent flyer points on my singapore Airlines scheme.

Apparently, if I were gold I would have had access but alas I am silver. Darn! Or there is a USD$60 charge to use the lounge which I chose not to take as even I can’t drink that much champagne.

Virgin check in terminal 3
Virgin check in terminal 3

Anyway, there are a lot of options for food and shopping etc at London Heathrow Terminal 3 so the lounge is nice to have.

At the gate, Premium Economy also gets priority boarding, which is always nice.

All of this remained the same post Covid.

You might enjoy reading my Japan Airlines Premium Economy Review.

The snack tray in virgin atlantic premium economy
The snack tray

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Boeing 787-9

This 787 was a Dreamliner which is a noticeable improvement over pre-Dreamliner planes. The feel is much more premium, particularly with the windows which automatically adjust to the time.

The seats

I was extremely pleased with the seats on the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 in Premium Economy. I had pre-booked my aisle seat for my day flight from London to Seattle. There are 5 rows of seats in premium economy and the configuration is 2 x 3 x 2.

virgin premium economy seat
virgin premium economy seat

Seat width is 21 inches which is only 1 inch slimmer than business and a whopping 4 inches wider than economy. The seat felt very wide and comfortable. The seat pitch is up to 38 inches and 4 inches more than economy.

The big difference between premium economy and business class is of course the recline. Seats in premium economy recline up to 8 inches which are 3 inches more than economy. However, this is a far cry from the flat back of business class but that is the cost difference.

virgin premium economy seat configuration
virgin premium economy seat configuration

I loved the pillow offered in premium economy. This is the first time that I have seen a pillow on an airline that is cut to fit around the passenger’s neck – much more comfortable than a standard pillow.


Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy has a good sized entertainment screen and high end headphones. There was a good selection of movies and tv but not as good as I have seen on other airlines like American. However, it was more than sufficient.

virgin premium economy screen
virgin premium economy screen

Interestingly, the front row of premium economy was virtually empty. When I asked why I was told that none of the entertainment systems were working. I was planning on working on the trip so I moved to the free two seats in front of me which had bulkhead leg room and only returned to my seat to watch a movie. It is always worth asking what the issue is with an empty seat and seeing if it is actually a problem to you.

There is in-seat power as well as USB chargers. As usual, you will need to do a major contortion with a torch actually to get access to the power point but it is there.

virgin premium economy entertainment
virgin premium economy entertainment

I bought wifi on the flight but had major problems. I was planning on using the wifi for about 6 hours of the flight and was only able to get access for about two hours. It appeared that most other people on the flight could access the wifi so this may have been a problem with my laptop.

Food and Service

The staff on Virgin were extremely friendly and fun as always. Prosecco was offered on take off which doesn’t happen on most other airlines in premium economy. The staff was also very helpful with trying to help me to sort out my wifi.

virgin premium economy menu

I must admit I went to pret before I boarded and bought some extra food. I always seem to end up hungry on longer flights post covid. But it turned out there was no need – Virgin supplied a lot of food!

I received an email before my flight that allowed me to pre-order my first meal. I chose the shepherd’s pie which was very tasty and came with a nice salad and a chocolate dessert.

virgin premium economy dinner
virgin premium economy dinner

About halfway through the flight, we were all offered a hot cheese-toasted sandwich which was a nice surprise. Throughout the flight, Virgin has the Wander Wall for premium economy. This is an area in the galley that is set up like a stall and passengers can help themselves to snacks and drinks.

The snacks are terrific on Virgin. Instead of standard packets of crisps or kit kats they offer cute little brands like Popchips and I had some great cheese popcorn.

virgin premium economy afternoon tea
virgin premium economy afternoon tea

Approx 90 minutes before landing Virgin serves delicious afternoon tea. Afternoon tea consisted of two small sandwiches with two small cakes (carrot cake and lemon meringue). Once the trays are down a staff member then brings out scones for everyone. The trays come with jam and clotted cream.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy 787 – The Verdict

I was extremely impressed with the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy 787 experience. This was the best premium economy experience I have had. It genuinely felt premium and the experience was excellent. British Airways have improved its premium economy, but Virgin’s is still better. And it is definitely worth the extra cost relative to economy, particularly on a long flight.

A key thing to note is that Virgin Atlantic is now 49% owned by Delta. I didn’t realize that my return flight was on Delta rather than Virgin. Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is MUCH better than on Delta – there will be a review of Delta Premium Economy to come.

Inside Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy A330

The Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy seating plan on the a330 is 2 x 3 x 2. Each seat is 21 inches wide and has a 38-inch recline. There is also a pull-out footrest – or if you are in the front row the attendant brings a footrest all of your own.

The Virgin Atlantic premium economy seats feel properly premium. The premium economy seats on Virgin Atlantic are padded and very comfortable. Interestingly the Upper-Class seats are only 1 inch wider.

The real difference between premium economy seats Virgin Atlantic and upper class, of course, comes on overnight flights where Premium Virgin Atlantic seats turn into beds.

If you are travelling during the day and won’t be sleeping I do think it is quite difficult to justify needing Upper Class over Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic.

seat back pocket and brochures and foot rest

On the ground, the attendant serves Prosecco or soft drinks. What I do love about Virgin Atlantic is the relaxed and engaging customer service.

We ended up stuck on the ground at Newark on the way out for quite some time. The team continued to serve drinks and turned the in-flight entertainment on to keep us occupied.

I have never known of another airline to do this. Such a simple thing but such a nice human touch.

seat operator for virgin atlantic premium economy
Seat shifter

Virgin Atlantic Premium economy does have its own bathroom – and they have Noble Isle toiletries which are quite nice. The flight does have full Wifi but of course, this requires credit card payment.

virgin atlantic premium economy seats in teh a340
a340 seats

All of the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy seating options have a powerpoint and USB port. It is tucked right down between the two seats so you’ll need to put the torch on your phone on to find it.

foot rest in premium economy on virgin atlantic
Foot Rest

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Menu

I hadn’t been able to find out much about the food in the premium economy Virgin Atlantic review reading. Luckily, there was a nice choice of wine – a Spanish Sauvignon and a Spanish red plus the prosecco.

virgin atlantic premium economy meal tray
The Meal Tray

The starter on Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy a330 was an orange and walnut salad followed by a choice of 3 mains – Linguine pasta with meatballs, Coq au Vin and Wild Mushroom Risotto.

Dessert was a blueberry and cinnamon streusel and cheese and crackers. I chose the Coq au Vin and it was pretty good.

premium economy virgin atlantic sandwiches and afternoon tea
Afternoon tea on Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy

On the way to Newark airport, we also had afternoon tea later in the flight. This was chicken sandwiches, some rather nice scones and some cakes.

On the way back to London Heathrow was quite a nice breakfast before landing. The Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy service is excellent as you will read in most Virgin Atlantic premium economy reviews.

Drinks service was super fast – almost as fast as what I would expect in business class.

Coq au vin main meal on virgin atlantic
The Coq Au Vin

Alas, there is no access to the fantastic Virgin Atlantic Upper-Class bar – sad face. But there is a fantastic what they call Wonder Wall area which has excellent premium snacks and drinks on offer throughout the entire flight.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy a330 Entertainment and Amenities

As you would expect the Virgin Atlantic premium economy in-flight entertainment is excellent. There are 139 movies to choose from and some excellent recent TV programmes.

Best of all Virgin Atlantic premium economy offers full seasons of tv shows vs just one or two episodes.

in seat entertainment system on premium economy seats on virgin atlantic
The Entertainment System

The Virgin Atlantic premium economy headphones are ok but better if you bring your own if you have a good pair. The amenities kit on Virgin Atlantic is simple but cute.

I liked the red pouch – very re-usable. There are then nicely purple branded eye masks, socks, earplugs, toothbrushes, pen etc.

virgin atlantic premium economy seat with blanket and pillow

Is Premium Economy worth it on Virgin Atlantic?

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy gets 5 stars in this review Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. Virgin Atlantic felt genuinely premium at every point – from check in to the entire in-flight experience.

The Virgin Premium Economy seats plan and seats create a feeling of space and comfort. The footrest was a nice touch.

The experience definitely justifies the price and I will be happily flying Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy again.

headphones and change for good envelope

How does Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy compare with British Airways Premium Economy?

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy is much better than the British Airways alternative. The entire Virgin Atlantic experience genuinely feels premium – from check-in to boarding to most importantly the in-flight experience.

With British Airways premium economy I still felt like I was in economy just with more leg room. I would absolutely pay at least 20 or 30% more to fly premium economy with Virgin Atlantic rather than British Airways.

Check out my article on British Airways Business Class.

Have you flown with Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy? I would love to hear about your experience!

Frequently Asked Questions about Flying Virgin Premium Economy

How good is Premium Economy on Virgin?

virgin premium economy seat

I have flown premium economy on many airlines and in my view Virgin has one of the best Premium Economy propositions.

Which premium economy is better British Airways or Virgin Atlantic?

virgin premium economy seat configuration

Having flown both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic premium economy both pre and post-pandemic I definitely think Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy is better than British Airways Premium Economy. Read this article and my article on u003Ca href=u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u00224904u0022u003EBritish Airways Premium Economyu003C/au003E to find out why.

Does Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Have Lounge Access?

virgin premium economy dinner

Premium Economy customers on Virgin Atlantic do not have access to the Clubhouse lounge. However, all Virgin customers can purchase entry to the No 1 lounge (Heathrow, Gatwick, u003Ca class=u0022wpil_keyword_linku0022 href=u0022 title=u0022Edinburghu0022 data-wpil-keyword-link=u0022linkedu0022u003EEdinburghu003C/au003E and Birmingham Airports). When I last updated this article entry was £28.

Do you get fast track with Virgin Premium Economy?

Virgin check in terminal 3

No. You do get priority check in and priority boarding but no fast track with Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy.

Who Paid for What for this Post

I covered the cost of my flights on Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. This Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy review post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and end up making a purchase on that website I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.


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Looking at flying premium economy London-New York? Here is my Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review - does it justify the price and how does it compare to BA? It's all here! #virginatlantic #virginatlanticpremiumeconomy

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