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View Full Version : First Choice versus Virgin


eeyorefanuk
09-06-2009, 04:40 PM
Flying with either of the above, the seats in economy are about the same size.

To fly with virgin, it would cost another 1,000 plus.

Has anyone flown with both of these airlines, and if so, with the price difference, do you think it is worth going with Virgin. I gather with Virgin your drinks are free, but with First Choice they are not.

DizneyDaze
09-06-2009, 05:02 PM
We have flown with them both but only in premium so my comparison is based on this. There are a few differences:
1) First Choice flies into Sanford and Virgin into Orlando. Personally we found Sanford to be a more user friendly airport however it is about 40 mins travelling time further than MCO.
2) Travel allowance with First Choice you only get 1 x 23kg (think it is 20kg in economy) compared to 2 x 23kg allowance with Virgin.
3) As I said not sure about economy but in premium your drinks are free - we found no difference with service at all.
4) Virgin offer the early morning bag drop/check in at Downtown Disney - there is no option for anything like this with First Choice. This is a really nice feature from Virgin and frees you up all day and means you have no checking in at the airport you just go straight to departures for the security checks and your in.

I think it is down to personal preference, however if Virgin pricing is 1000 more I would certainly think very hard about it as this is a lot of money that you could be spending on the nicer things when you are there!!

eeyorefanuk
09-06-2009, 05:04 PM
We have flown with them both but only in premium so my comparison is based on this. There are a few differences:
1) First Choice flies into Sanford and Virgin into Orlando. Personally we found Sanford to be a more user friendly airport however it is about 40 mins travelling time further than MCO.
2) Travel allowance with First Choice you only get 1 x 23kg (think it is 20kg in economy) compared to 2 x 23kg allowance with Virgin.
3) As I said not sure about economy but in premium your drinks are free - we found no difference with service at all.
4) Virgin offer the early morning bag drop/check in at Downtown Disney - there is no option for anything like this with First Choice. This is a really nice feature from Virgin and frees you up all day and means you have no checking in at the airport you just go straight to departures for the security checks and your in.

I think it is down to personal preference, however if Virgin pricing is 1000 more I would certainly think very hard about it as this is a lot of money that you could be spending on the nicer things when you are there!!

I am sure someone has put on here that virgin now only allow one 23kg, but do not quote me on this !

Yes I thought that 1,000 alot of money, but I know virgin is very very popular and just wondered if flying with them is anything spectacular :goodvibes:goodvibes

gemmybear83
09-06-2009, 05:28 PM
I would prefer to fly First Choice, new interiors with more update in flight entertainment, more leg room that virgin and a smaller plane so less of a queue at immigration etc. If we could get a could get a good price for First Choice I would prefer to fly with them than Virgin, who for the LGW/Man routes are very overated (even though I am flying Virgin in 3 weeks as they were the cheapest price!).

matty624
09-06-2009, 05:39 PM
I am sure someone has put on here that virgin now only allow one 23kg, but do not quote me on this !

Sorry, couldn't help myself!!! :goodvibes
The luggage allowance on Virgin flights changes from the 23rd September, but to Florida, its still 2 pieces at 23kgs each piece, travelling economy, I'm very happy to say!

scarletlancer
09-06-2009, 05:53 PM
I am sure someone has put on here that virgin now only allow one 23kg, but do not quote me on this !

Yes I thought that 1,000 alot of money, but I know virgin is very very popular and just wondered if flying with them is anything spectacular :goodvibes:goodvibes

We flew with Virgin a couple of weeks ago and I would certainly not call the experience spectacular. It was OK at best. We flew through the night on the way home and landed at LGW at about 7.30am and we didn't even get breakfast, still what can you expect for the best part of two grand:sad2:

orangetiggs
09-06-2009, 07:02 PM
most flights fly through the night going back to the UK, we flew virgin last week and fly home with them on friday

This is the only airline I will fly with out of choice (used to work for them so may be biased)

grannyed
09-07-2009, 12:50 AM
If we could we would fly First Choice. but Virgin seem to be much more flexible.

We are hoping to go for four weeks and it seems that First Choce do not allow bookings for that duration wheras Virgin do.....

also Virgin fly evey day from Manchester and First Choice don't.....

we are flexible for the day we fly .. but really want to go for four weeks since we can't go evey year and probably won't be able to go again for 3 or 4 years.

eeyorefanuk
09-07-2009, 01:51 AM
I would prefer to fly First Choice, new interiors with more update in flight entertainment, more leg room that virgin and a smaller plane so less of a queue at immigration etc. If we could get a could get a good price for First Choice I would prefer to fly with them than Virgin, who for the LGW/Man routes are very overated (even though I am flying Virgin in 3 weeks as they were the cheapest price!).

Oh that is another thing I forgot .... smaller plane ... is it much smaller than Virgin?

Also with Virgin I have been told on here you cannot pre pay to book your seat, but with FC you can (have severe fear of flying).

We are going back and forth between the two and cannot decide.

For us to catch FC plane is only two hours drive, but Gatwick 4/5 hours.

But with FC might have to refuel/pick people up on way out at manchester. Between us we have asked four separate people via travel agent and first choice, and they all say difference (obi kindly checked no flight on same day at manchester but still chance of refuel I suppose).

We know FC is sanford but disney say you can pay for transfer to disney. (how far away is it?)

Then issue of smaller plane.

Now someone has kindly confirmed you do get 23kg x 2 luggage (which I thought had been stopped).

We were originally going for 14 days but then other day decided 18 (so had to be virgin) but now saying shall we just go for it and go 21 days ! (FC)

Any other thoughts appreciated.

JohnnySharp2
09-07-2009, 02:45 AM
Oh that is another thing I forgot .... smaller plane ... is it much smaller than Virgin?



Yes, Virgin use 4 engined 747-400 aircraft, First Choice not 100% sure what they are but are either a smaller boeing or airbus plane.

Personally being a nervous flyer the bigger the better for me, and much prefer flying to MCO though I appreciate Sanford is quieter and perhaps less hassle immigration wise.

If the prices are similar I would go with Virgin.

Hilary
09-07-2009, 03:15 AM
I would prefer to fly First Choice, new interiors with more update in flight entertainment, more leg room that virgin and a smaller plane so less of a queue at immigration etc. If we could get a could get a good price for First Choice I would prefer to fly with them than Virgin ...
ITA :thumbsup2

As well as the comfort of the plane, (as mentioned above) the saving of 2.5 hrs driving in the uk (especially at the end of a long flight home) is a huge plus for us when looking for flights. At the end of the day, though, we choose based on a combination of 'best fit' factors - price, availability, regional airport, etc., etc.

On balance, we're happy to pay MORE to fly with FirstChoice than Virgin - but we can offset that against the need for an overnight hotel the night before. If I could SAVE 1000 by flying First Choice, I'd be doing cartwheels! Our flights with Virgin have been perfectly ok, but certainly not noticeably better than any of the other airlines we've used for a transAtlantic flight, and not an experience worth paying an extra 1000 for! But others clearly do prefer the Virgin experience.

For us, the re-fuelling in Manchester is an annoyance rather than a reson not to choose First Choice. The luggage allowance was a slight concern, but we managed fine! We prefer Sanford for ease of access, and the extra transfer time in Orlando is no more than the extra time it often takes to clear MCO.

eeyorefanuk
09-07-2009, 03:21 AM
Re manchester stop off, I hate flying, but I suppose it is only two take off and two landing on the way out, as it comes direct home.

Re virgin I do like the thought of four engines (yet again nervous flyer) - i wonder how many you get with first choice.

Also as I thought yesterday, if we fly into gatwick, we were going to stay overnight that night and drive back the next day, but we arrive at gatwick early in the morning and then wont be able to book into hotel until at least twelve

kevin harrison
09-07-2009, 05:13 AM
I have done both and would say go with price.

The FC plane is a two engine boeing, can't remember it's number. It is certainly a lot smaller than the 747.

Sanford wasn't bad really, it's a lot smaller, but I found the queuing time similar, I am used to landing at MCO and being out of there quite quickly so didn't enjoy the extra time getting to the hotel.

Hilary
09-08-2009, 03:10 AM
Also as I thought yesterday, if we fly into gatwick, we were going to stay overnight that night and drive back the next day, but we arrive at gatwick early in the morning and then wont be able to book into hotel until at least twelve

When we do fly into Gatwick (although we try hard to avoid it!) we book a day room, grab about 4 or 5 hrs sleep, shower and change, then drive home in the evening. We just don't feel safe driving M25, M4 for 4.5 or 5 hrs after a sleepless night flight, but don't really want to spend an extra night in Gatwick before getting home - so the day room suits us better.

eeyorefanuk
09-08-2009, 05:02 PM
When we do fly into Gatwick (although we try hard to avoid it!) we book a day room, grab about 4 or 5 hrs sleep, shower and change, then drive home in the evening. We just don't feel safe driving M25, M4 for 4.5 or 5 hrs after a sleepless night flight, but don't really want to spend an extra night in Gatwick before getting home - so the day room suits us better.

What is a day room? And who does it? That does sound a good idea to get some sleep as soon as off the plane but not stay the night. :goodvibes

Elise79
09-09-2009, 01:22 AM
A day room is the same as normal hotel room but you have it for a few hours during the day. The Hilton & Sofitel both offer them. Not sure about the Yotel.

gemmybear83
09-09-2009, 02:10 AM
A day room is the same as normal hotel room but you have it for a few hours during the day. The Hilton & Sofitel both offer them. Not sure about the Yotel.

Yotel does by the hour, or its approx 50 for an overnight stay in standard cabin or 80 for a premium one.

Hilary
09-09-2009, 03:15 AM
What is a day room? And who does it? That does sound a good idea to get some sleep as soon as off the plane but not stay the night. :goodvibes

We've been able to book these at a couple of the airport hotels - but I can't remember which ones :rolleyes: - and, more recently, at The Lawn Guest House in Gatwick which we also use the night before flying out, and we leave our car there.

I think you often have to contact the hotels direct to book this, as the option doesn't always appear on booking sites, although I have seen it as an option on Holiday Extras occasionally for a few hotels, but not all. I also remember one of the bigger hotels not letting us book it until we arrived for our night before the flight - I got the impression they would only book the day room in conjunction with a night room booking.

Sorry, that's all a bit vague!

kevin harrison
09-09-2009, 04:56 AM
I thought day rooms were used for something very un-Disney like..

scarletlancer
09-09-2009, 05:21 AM
I thought day rooms were used for something very un-Disney like..

Is that included in the 50? :goodvibes

bazzanoid
09-09-2009, 06:06 AM
Sanford is my airport of choice where i can... but is much further out, approx 45-50 mins instead of 25 mins to disney. Ideal if you're hiring a car (but if you do stick with an on-site rental company for ease) as it's just a short drive, but if you're not the transfer price will go up.

Customs & Immigration is a lot simpler as it's a MUCH quieter airport - to give you some idea we landed at 4pm dead and were at the rental counter collecting keys by 4.20.. and that was back when TCD were flying with their jumbo, so more passengers than FC!! MCO last year, even with the improved luggage claim/carry system, landed at 4.30, got to rental desk at 5.35....

Grumpy John
09-10-2009, 02:02 PM
Virgin everytime for us.

Reason: If you want to be able to fly any day of the week with the choice of 2 flights a day, twilight checkin in the UK and DTD in the US, fly into MCO which is closer to Disney and a far superior airport, free food and drinks on board then obviously you fly Virgin

If you want to be dictated too as to what day you fly, pay for food and drink on board, fly into a far inferior airport IMHO then you fly charter

The choice is now up to you!

bazzanoid
09-11-2009, 03:19 AM
Virgin everytime for us.

Reason: If you want to be able to fly any day of the week with the choice of 2 flights a day, twilight checkin in the UK and DTD in the US, fly into MCO which is closer to Disney and a far superior airport, free food and drinks on board then obviously you fly Virgin

If you want to be dictated too as to what day you fly, pay for food and drink on board, fly into a far inferior airport IMHO then you fly charter

The choice is now up to you!

Totally agree - Sanford is inferior and further out, their shops consist of one duty free place and a burger bar (seriously - maybe a couple of vending machines as well). The only reason i prefer to fly in to sanford is the speed of getting out after a long flight.

But having said that, MCO are taking regular steps toward reducing the time it takes from getting off the plane to being 'free' to leave the airport.

kevin harrison
09-11-2009, 03:28 AM
We never have been delayed at MCO, always out pretty quickly. One gets the bags, one gets the car, line up next to American immigration line, when thats empty you get called through there line. All simple tips to get through quickly.