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Old 02-11-2013, 09:04 AM   #1
I'm a Rive Gauche person
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VS or BA - Pros and Cons please

As title, I'm looking for people views on these 2 companies for a flight in May.

I've never flown Virgin and I haven't flown with British in years but as I will be in the UK it makes more sense to leave from London than come back first to Paris.

Service wise at the airport and on the plane ? Entertainment - any great differences, Food etc etc

The VS plane is a 747-400 and I think I read somewhere that they were been refurbished, does anyone know if this is the case and if so are they all done.

Thank you all in advance
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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Vs are all refurb planes now but it could also be one f the new airbuses

We only fly vs but i used to work for them so am biased. Service has got better imo from a few years back

New entertainment is fab
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #3
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I flew virgin in December 2012, they were aweome- welcome cocktails fast friendly service, decent leg room...and most importantly to me a really good entertainment system and the food was yummy- they give out menus at the start of the flight which was a nice touch. Drinks were offered loads I didn't drink any of the water I bought in the airport.
We flew on the airbus back and that was great too, difference was it was empty so the captain said after take off we could move around: my bf and I had 4 seats to ourselves

BA- not a huge fan, much better than the American Airlines but id always go for virgin- it was £50 more than AA for BA and £50 more than that for virgin, I opted to pay the extra...

Hope that helps
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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We really prefer virgin but tbh I would just go with whoever is cheapest! I can't really put my finger in why we liked virgin more, just did really
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:30 AM   #5
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Thank you all so far

- They are both the same price so it really does come down to service and any little extras they might have.

How is Gatwick as an airport (easier than Heathrow to navigate) and are there any good places to eat/drink something ?
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Carrie_Cat View Post
As title, I'm looking for people views on these 2 companies for a flight in May.

I've never flown Virgin and I haven't flown with British in years but as I will be in the UK it makes more sense to leave from London than come back first to Paris.

Service wise at the airport and on the plane ? Entertainment - any great differences, Food etc etc

The VS plane is a 747-400 and I think I read somewhere that they were been refurbished, does anyone know if this is the case and if so are they all done.

Thank you all in advance
Here is my take on it...

We flew VA in Feb '12 and were going to fly with them again for our July'12 trip. Our experience in Feb (bare in mind that we fly Premium Economy due to disabilities) was so bad that we chose to fly with Air France connecting in Paris rather than fly with Virgin again, even though it was direct!

Let me start with the positives for VA...

Twilight Check In at Gatwick is fantastic. We always go to the airport the night before (to save crazy rushing in the morning of the trip). We arranged for Meet & Greet Parking at the terminal, went straight to twilight check in, checked in, off loaded our cases, and walked over to the hotel.

Downtown Disney Check In is also a big plus. On the day of departure, you can head over there, check in, drop your luggage off and get on with your last day without having to worry about carting your cases around.

The negatives

The service on VA has got consistently worse in my experience. I have flown with VA many times over the years and they always prided themselves on a superior "rock star" service. Sadly, this doesn't exist any more!

2 things that really irked us in February were that we had contacted their special assistance department because our daughter has some disabilities including autism and she really struggles in enclosed and crowded places. They were very helpful and said they would seat us in the first row so that she couldn't see all of the people all of the time. Great, right? It would have been if they didn't sit our daughter there ON HER OWN without either of us when she only 8 years old!

The second HUGE issue for us was the flight attendant. From the moment we got on the plane, she honed to on the family to our left. She showered them with attention to the neglect of everyone else, plying them with drinks and treats from Upper Class and stood talking to them when she wasn't doing anything else. At first we thought she knew them, because she was very friendly with them. We asked 5 times for a drink (with our food) and she didn't even bother to answer us. At the end of the flight, she returned with arms full of drinks and snacks which she gave to the family to our left followed by an appraisal survey sheet for them to fill in about their experience of her service! Yes, she had done all of this to get a good review!

Other minor issues, my tray table was dirty which I bought to the attention of the flight attendant only to be told, "the cleaners are not very good" as she walked away and did nothing about it (fortunately we had baby wipes in our hand luggage). The food was vile but that could be a personal taste thing.
All in all, it wasn't a good experience at all though.


I've flown BA about 5 times, their service has always been very good. For our trip this year, we have booked flights in WT+ on BA. I have never had a bad experience with them but I haven't flown with them to Orlando.

All in all, there are some good perks to flying with VA but their service is poor. My mother who decided to stick with the plan to travel with VA in July swore she'd never fly to Orlando again after her experience with them. Maybe it was bad luck, maybe it was a rogue flight attendant, I don't know, but all I can say is that I have enough airmiles with VA for a free flight for this years trip and I chose to pay £800 each on BA rather than go with them again!

Hope that helps!

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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I'm a BA advocate. Flew virgin last year and whilst the flight was pretty standard as any economy flight is, the attitude of the cabin crew was appalling.

I have a special diet and when they handed out the snacks they had nothing I could eat (not a problem) but the girl followed up her comment with 'if you have special diets you should tell us not just turn up on the flight and expect it'. I HAD told them, they had my nut free gluten free meal just simply didn't have snacks. I didn't do anything other than ask if they had something other than the crackers they gave out as as snack. The crew also looked very untidy (hair not neat, smudged make up and creased uniform). I overheard one girl say that she was so hungover she would have called sick for the flight if it hadn't been a 3 day stopover in Florida!!

I wrote to virgin and got an apology for that episode.

I've flown BA many times and its always been a good standard.

It really comes down to the crew on the day, I'm sure virgin are just as good as BA and I just had a hungover crew member on my flight!!
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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Flew with VS in 2010 to Vegas, in no rush to book with them again. Can't fault the cabin crew but the staff at check in were rude.

I flew with them before the upgrades on the planes. The in flight entertainment was behind what Delta etc had already but this has since changed. My aunt flew with them last year and wasn't impressed, they ran out of meals on a long haul flight which imo should not be happening.

Having said that I have never flown with BA so can't comment although I know many people who have had luggage go missing which has put me off.

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:51 PM   #9
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I think its really hit or miss as to how it goes. We generally do go VA but have been BA also. Last trip in Sept was with VA and the cabin crew were the best we'd ever had on the way out and the worst we'd ever had on the way back!

As economy goes its all very much the same as far as I am concerned and at the end of the day it is only a few hours of my holiday that I am up there and I am not loyal to any of them and will go for the cheapest direct route. I actually like the plane that BA use as it just felt more spacious and the inflight entertainment is just luck of the draw if you fancy what they put when you go (yes I know there are a lot of channels but often we've seen most of the stuff abeit they normally do show current movies but then both VA and BA do that)

Food on both is also adequate...never understand why people say it was great because if I got that served in a restaurant I sure as hell would be sending it back!

Also with VA I can't actually remember the last time we actually took off remotely on time...last september we were 3 hours late! BA took off on time when we used them!

We don't have kids but understand that VA maybe the better option in that case.

To me its just a tin can to get us there and if I don't like the food, IFE, well its only a few hours..and I have learnt to take Ipad and nibbles JUST IN CASE regardless of whom I fly with
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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They are both pretty much the same, but I prefer BA you get a much better hand luggage allowance and I find the customer service much more consistent I also think the terminal BA fly from nicer with better shopping etc.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:12 AM   #11
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Many of BA's 777 fleet have been upgraded to the latest IFE system and have a huge choice of channels. Some have also been refurbished, with all new seating. They will also soon be taking delivery of the first of their new A380 and 787 aircraft but don't know which routes they will be used on yet.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:15 PM   #12
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I have only ever flown VA so far and have had good experiences. We flew Upper Class for our Honeymoon which was amazing, and I cannot fault the service. The second time we flew with them (3 years later) the plane was looking a bit "tired" inside, the seats were slightly worn torn a little bit, still very good service from all crew and a smooth flight. We are flying BA this time and have heard good things, they worked out slightly cheaper than VA so decided to give them a go.

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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I have flown with both. VA are expensive, no two ways about that, but I have never had less than a great experience with them. BA just as expensive and you could not pay me to fly with them again. Once got delayed 35 hours in Orlando. Now that happens, I don't want to fly on a broken plane. However, they boarded us, kept us on there 4 hours on the Tarmac, once back in the airport took 2 hours sorting out where people would sleep, same for people with babies and small children, gave us nothing but a number to call about what would happen next day, no one answered that phone for 5 hours so the hotel room was pointless really as we could not sleep, same chaos for hours back at the airport the next morning. Gave us a number to claim compensation once back home. 32 phone calls and 15 letters later I'm still waiting....... No thank you. Never again. Oh. And they lost one of my suitcases. It arrived 12 days after I did. Damaged.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Worth noting that all the 747-400 aircraft operated by VA have now been refurbished and offer a really good entertainment system and new seats. Not sure what BA aircraft are like currently.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #15
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I would go with BA - for the simple reason we had a 20 hr outbound delay with Virgin, they only had loop IFE and their Dowtown. Disney checkin was off line and we had to. Queue for 2 hours in the listening heat to drop our bags off..

That said - the flight is a means to and end for us we go for the cheapest option - and whilst I hd no in flight entertainment (due to fault) on our indirect Delta flight - I really was not bothered and thoroughly enjoyed my experience with them.

It is refreshing to see the number of honest comments here that openly admit they would opt for the cheapest - despite my experiences I would plump for virgin if they were the cheapest!

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