Virgin Boeing 747 in the air
Photo: WIkipedia

They say that getting there is half the fun, and that is usually the case when you’re flying to Florida with a respected, scheduled airline.

In most instances, the term ‘economy’ can be a little misleading. The level of service and the quality of in-flight entertainment is higher than ever on some transatlantic carriers, making the journey to the Sunshine State an integral part of the holiday.

However, with so many options available, choosing the best airline for your economy buck is not always a straightforward option. Whether you are looking for a package deal or a flight-only ticket, Virgin Atlantic offers a market-leading economy service that is as reliable as it is enjoyable.

What you get

Virgin Atlantic operates a fleet of Airbus A340s, Boeing 747s and – from 2014 – a fleet of 15 revolutionary Boeing Dreamliners. Their economy seats offer a contoured seat with an average seat pitch of 31″. Virgin has always been at the forefront of in-flight entertainment technology, and their state-of-the-art V-Port/JAM system is still hard to beat – featuring an impressive 300 hours or so of on-demand TV and movies. However, what sets Virgin Atlantic apart from charter carriers such as Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook is their complimentary drinks service, which applies to everyone in economy.

Flying with Virgin offers travellers the chance to experience an award-winning in-flight service. Immaculately presented flight attendants wear the iconic red uniforms with pride, and they are quick to greet you with a warm smile as you board. Having flown with several transatlantic carriers, I can honestly say that nothing beats the sense of excitement that circulates the cabin of a Virgin Atlantic cabin as you board.The Virgin experience.

Virgin economy cabin
Virgin economy cabin

Every seat has its own seat-back TV screen with either the V-Port entertainment system or the newer JAM system. Virgin’s JAM system is the very latest in in-flight technology – offering touch-screen controls and the ability to connect your own MP3 player to it. Oh, and a USB port allows you to charge your phone!

The food is passable…

As soon as the seat-belt signs are switched off, the legendary Virgin flight attendants start to work their magic. The Economy meal service begins with a drinks run, and passengers have the option of a welcome cocktail served with a selection of bar snacks – usually pretzels.

The food on Virgin Atlantic flights is admittedly a little hit-and-miss, but isn’t that always the case on planes? There is usually a choice of three main meals; consisting of a red meat dish, a chicken or fish dish and a vegetarian option. The usual accompaniments of salad, bread roll, cheese and dessert are served on most flights, and a further light snack is served around 2 hours before landing.

One of the things I love most about flying to Florida with Virgin is the ability to ask for complimentary drinks throughout the flight. Unless you’re on a night flight, the flight attendants walk through the cabin with drinks regularly. And even if you are on a night flight, you can always get up and ask for a drink at any point.

I have three kids, and flying with them can be a real chore when the inevitable question ‘are we there yet’ starts to to get asked. However, as our flight attendant told us: ‘boredom is banned’ on Virgin flights. The kids were each given an activity pack containing a book, pencils and various other items of paraphernalia. The flight attendant also kindly demonstrated the kids’ TV channels for my little angels – leaving me free to work on my mid-flight hangover.

I flew to Orlando International Airport with Virgin Atlantic a few years ago, and the flight out was almost as memorable as many of the days we spent in Florida’s theme parks. From the movie-time ice cream to the complimentary flight bag with toiletries, socks and eye mask, there was certainly nothing economical about flying Economy Class with Virgin Atlantic.