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Jennizor

Flying with Virgin

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Today we received details of our flight to the Caribbean in February. Instead of Thomas Cook we are now flying with Virgin. We have never flown with them before so it would be great to hear about others’ experiences with them. 

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Hi, we are in the same boat, well plane, flying in January have heard good and not so good reports so i guess i'll have to wait and see unless someone else replies to you.  i have also emailed PandO and Virgin asking about selecting seats but no reply as of yet.

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24 minutes ago, Jennizor said:

Today we received details of our flight to the Caribbean in February. Instead of Thomas Cook we are now flying with Virgin. We have never flown with them before so it would be great to hear about others’ experiences with them. 

I flew to India with them, not cruise related but it was great. 

Excellent staff and service and very comfortable plane. 

Have a great time, 

Andy 

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I am now flying with Virgin, I've flown a few times with Virgin and never had any issues, I am very pleased.

I am flying in 7 weeks, I have just rang P&O asking about seat reservations as the flight details are now listed in my cruise personaliser, I was told I will receive an email in due course with flight a booking reference, I can then reserve the seats online via the Virgin site - I was also told the aircraft had been chartered, I was wondering if the passengers from the TC flight would be split up and put on different flights.

Virgin do not usually charge to reserve seats, I am hoping this is the case.

I am also pleased my return flight is late (20:05) as I will get plenty of time in Barbados on the final day.

 

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41 minutes ago, Rob1966 said:

I am now flying with Virgin, I've flown a few times with Virgin and never had any issues, I am very pleased.

I am flying in 7 weeks, I have just rang P&O asking about seat reservations as the flight details are now listed in my cruise personaliser, I was told I will receive an email in due course with flight a booking reference, I can then reserve the seats online via the Virgin site - I was also told the aircraft had been chartered, I was wondering if the passengers from the TC flight would be split up and put on different flights.

Virgin do not usually charge to reserve seats, I am hoping this is the case.

I am also pleased my return flight is late (20:05) as I will get plenty of time in Barbados on the final day.

 

With regard to Virgin charging to select seats in advance, it depends on which fare has been purchased. If it is Economy 'Light' then seat selection is only free when online check in is available which is 24 hours prior to departure. Otherwise the cost for Economy 'Light' preselection in excess of 24 hours prior to departure is £30 each way for standard seats or £35 each way for standard seats on the upper deck of some 747 aircraft. Extra legroom seats are not available to Economy 'Light' fares.

 

If the fare is Economy 'Classic' then Standard seats can be selected for free more than 24 hours to departure, and £35 each way for standard seats on the upper deck. Exit row seats are available for a fee of £59 - £89 each way depending on the route. Exit rows with reduced leg room are available to Economy 'Classic' fares for £49 each way.

 

See this link for full details and see the 'Choosing your seats in advance' section

 

https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/prepare-to-fly/extras-and-upgrades.html

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jennizor said:

Today we received details of our flight to the Caribbean in February. Instead of Thomas Cook we are now flying with Virgin. We have never flown with them before so it would be great to hear about others’ experiences with them. 

Virgin Atlantic is our airline of choice. Admittedly we fly Premium Economy when we can, but always find the staff excellent and helpful.

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Flew to Miami with Virgin in July, excellent food and the staff were great. Flew back with Westjet and it was appalling. Bear in mind its going to be chartered so the menu and seat reservations are up to P&O not Virgin.

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4 minutes ago, CCFC said:

Flew to Miami with Virgin in July, excellent food and the staff were great. Flew back with Westjet and it was appalling. Bear in mind its going to be chartered so the menu and seat reservations are up to P&O not Virgin.

That's if it is fully chartered. Those flying to Barbados for next years Britannia TA in March have been told that the flight is not a charter and so they will have to collect their bags when they arrive in Barbados and clear customs.

 

The P&O rep I spoke to last week at a presentation in Salford advised that they are still not sure if full charters with Virgin are possible for all TC replacement flights. Some in the near future are full charters, but as my example above for those travelling to Barbados in March, these aren't.

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Personally I prefer VS over BA any day, and VS PE is much better than BA.

To be fair, the densified BA 777s have a much improved IFE system, and you can pre-select your outbound main course from the Club menu.

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For us, BA always has the edge over Virgin, although we haven't flown in their Upper Class Suite, so we're not really comparing like for like. Their configuration is suited for the solo traveller and I really do not fancy passengers standing round the bar, being noisy especially on a night flight. Incidentally, on our next BA flight, it's not possible to pre-select meals on the outbound flight - don't know why, but it's not important as we are congregating for a family pre-Christmas lunch before the flight. Can't manage two 3-course meals in one day!

 

When it comes to Barbados cruise flights, I would always prefer Thomson PE over Virgin PE. Value for money is off the chart; Thomson have always been brilliant in service and choice of meal and beverages are both good. Horses for courses I guess, as we all measure service in different ways. 

 

 

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Since most of the Virgin flights will be charter then P&O will determine everything, quality of meals, who gets free drinks and who pays, and how much you pay for premium cabin and seat booking fees.  So comparing the standard with Virgin scheduled flights seems a bit pointless.

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We are flying out on Saturday to Barbados with Virgin as "Scheduled Economy" (to quote my e-ticket).  I have been on the Virgin site and booked Economy Classic seats which were free, but there was not a lot of choice as we booked late.  Having never flown with Virgin before I was interested to read other people's opinions.

 

Edited by purplesea

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10 hours ago, terrierjohn said:

Since most of the Virgin flights will be charter then P&O will determine everything, quality of meals, who gets free drinks and who pays, and how much you pay for premium cabin and seat booking fees.  So comparing the standard with Virgin scheduled flights seems a bit pointless.

I disagree because as I mentioned earlier not all the flights for P&O with Virgin will be full charters, and that's according to a P&O rep. So it's important for some who are not on a exclusive Virgin P&O charter to understand the difference and therefore, the seating policy and in those cases the fact that bags may have to be collected upon arrival and will not be automatically transferred to ship which is what many are used to with full P&O charters. 

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3 hours ago, peteukmcr said:

I disagree because as I mentioned earlier not all the flights for P&O with Virgin will be full charters, and that's according to a P&O rep. So it's important for some who are not on a exclusive Virgin P&O charter to understand the difference and therefore, the seating policy and in those cases the fact that bags may have to be collected upon arrival and will not be automatically transferred to ship which is what many are used to with full P&O charters. 

I think that it is almost impossible for P&O to have a dedicated VS charter flight. VS simply do not have enough spare frames to offer charters. Therefore Pete is absolutely correct to let everyone know about about VS inflight services. 

 

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7 hours ago, peteukmcr said:

I disagree because as I mentioned earlier not all the flights for P&O with Virgin will be full charters, and that's according to a P&O rep. So it's important for some who are not on a exclusive Virgin P&O charter to understand the difference and therefore, the seating policy and in those cases the fact that bags may have to be collected upon arrival and will not be automatically transferred to ship which is what many are used to with full P&O charters. 

We have booked the TA on Britannia on 28 March 20 direct with P&O, premium economy cabin on TC as is a special occasion. 
Have  been told now Flight with Virgin which as has been said is a scheduled flight, been told by P&O that if booked premium that remains the same but if you go to book this flight Independently  via Virgins website there’s not many premium cabin seats left and the reason we paid extra originally was to be able to be in premium and sit together!!

Not looking too optimistic really especially if you also have to sort your own luggage out as well, I wonder what the options of Getting your deposit back is on this considering we had Paid upfront for the air preferences?

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2 hours ago, leesam said:

We have booked the TA on Britannia on 28 March 20 direct with P&O, premium economy cabin on TC as is a special occasion. 
Have  been told now Flight with Virgin which as has been said is a scheduled flight, been told by P&O that if booked premium that remains the same but if you go to book this flight Independently  via Virgins website there’s not many premium cabin seats left and the reason we paid extra originally was to be able to be in premium and sit together!!

Not looking too optimistic really especially if you also have to sort your own luggage out as well, I wonder what the options of Getting your deposit back is on this considering we had Paid upfront for the air preferences?

I would like to think that the reason only a few Premium seats showing is that they have been pre allocated and that yours are included in those. 

 

As for getting your deposit back (I assume for the whole cruise) you’d have to talk to P&O but the change of carrier wouldn’t appear to be a reason as things with airlines do happen and P&O may not see this as a reason to cancel. 

 

As for collecting your baggage, unfortunately that again is something out of P&Os control if the flight isn’t a full charter. Not too much of an issue surely? Imagine if P&O had cancelled your holiday because they couldn’t get an alternative flight for you in light of the collapse of Thomas Cook, that wasn’t within their control and they have worked really hard to find alternatives. 

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1 hour ago, peteukmcr said:

I would like to think that the reason only a few Premium seats showing is that they have been pre allocated and that yours are included in those. 

 

As for getting your deposit back (I assume for the whole cruise) you’d have to talk to P&O but the change of carrier wouldn’t appear to be a reason as things with airlines do happen and P&O may not see this as a reason to cancel. 

 

As for collecting your baggage, unfortunately that again is something out of P&Os control if the flight isn’t a full charter. Not too much of an issue surely? Imagine if P&O had cancelled your holiday because they couldn’t get an alternative flight for you in light of the collapse of Thomas Cook, that wasn’t within their control and they have worked really hard to find alternatives. 

I really do hope you are right regarding the reservation of premium economy seats, i suppose only P&O are the ones to let me know.

Do you have any experience of time scales of the online booking of seats for the Virgin schedule flights arranged by P&O prior to your holiday?

 

I know the luggage collection Scenario is not the end of the world, i'm not having a go at P&O i'm just trying to get as close to what i paid for.

 

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As this is a scheduled flight, could not P&O give you your PNR number ? You could then log on to the Virgin "manage my booking" page, and choose, or see, your seats. 

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I think you only get a PNR  number if the flight is paid for.Cruiselines like to hang on for payment quite often.

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2 hours ago, leesam said:

I really do hope you are right regarding the reservation of premium economy seats, i suppose only P&O are the ones to let me know.

Do you have any experience of time scales of the online booking of seats for the Virgin schedule flights arranged by P&O prior to your holiday?

 

I know the luggage collection Scenario is not the end of the world, i'm not having a go at P&O i'm just trying to get as close to what i paid for.

 

Unfortunately I do not have experience with flights arranged by P&O and an airline so I cannot give any advice on time scales.

I can see from the booking system we use for flights (I am a business travel agent, not leisure so no benefits with cruises unfortunately!) that there are at least 15 Premium seats available at the moment (there maybe more as airlines often don't show all those available as they have been pre-allocated for groups such as P&O).

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Thanks for all the helpful and interesting replies. As we are only due to land at 17.35, if we have to collect our own luggage, we are unlikely to be on board Britannia in time for the muster. I expect there will be a separate one set up for us stragglers the following day. Not a huge problem as we will be at sea.

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22 hours ago, Jennizor said:

Thanks for all the helpful and interesting replies. As we are only due to land at 17.35, if we have to collect our own luggage, we are unlikely to be on board Britannia in time for the muster. I expect there will be a separate one set up for us stragglers the following day. Not a huge problem as we will be at sea.

I will let you know how we get on as we fly out on Saturday and due to land at 17.35 as well.

Edited by purplesea

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Thanks for your response. Have a great cruise, lucky you to be getting away from this awful weather. 16 weeks away for us.

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On ‎11‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 11:17 PM, wowzz said:

I think that it is almost impossible for P&O to have a dedicated VS charter flight. VS simply do not have enough spare frames to offer charters. Therefore Pete is absolutely correct to let everyone know about about VS inflight services. 

 

That's not strictly true. Virgin do a number of charters especially to and from American. I believe the most recent was a NFL charter to London. Virgin have a large enough route network that they can juggle passengers where they have multiple flights to the same destination on any day. It worth noting that at Virgin are masters at adding extra peak season flights to Orlando when necessary. Last year, Virgin ran a short winter season of Barbados flights from Heathrow as capacity was available. (I believe that these were flights that had originally been chartered by P&O for Adonia passengers).

 

Additionally, Virgin are currently taking delivery of their A350s and I read elsewhere that they are not retiring planes as quickly as planned to give them capacity. They have been down 787s recently due to engine issues. They hired in 4 A330-200s which are now staying. This has increased capacity also.  

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58 minutes ago, molecrochip said:

That's not strictly true. Virgin do a number of charters especially to and from American. I believe the most recent was a NFL charter to London. Virgin have a large enough route network that they can juggle passengers where they have multiple flights to the same destination on any day. It worth noting that at Virgin are masters at adding extra peak season flights to Orlando when necessary. Last year, Virgin ran a short winter season of Barbados flights from Heathrow as capacity was available. (I believe that these were flights that had originally been chartered by P&O for Adonia passengers).

 

Additionally, Virgin are currently taking delivery of their A350s and I read elsewhere that they are not retiring planes as quickly as planned to give them capacity. They have been down 787s recently due to engine issues. They hired in 4 A330-200s which are now staying. This has increased capacity also.  

I stand corrected  regarding airframes. However, how do VS suddenly acquire the necessary (and expensive) slots to  run these winter only charters? I know VS used Virgin Red in order to keep their LHR slots,  but will Delta be happy for VS to use these expensive slots for less profitable charter flights.   

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