I thought I had travelled with Virgin Atlantic before, but I think it was only in my dreams. I think the desire was always there, but never had the opportunity.
Anyway, so my first trip was this one, to Bridgetown, Barbados. How was the experience? The way there was alright, nothing special. 7 hours flight, it wasn’t delayed (or not by much), day flight so Laura didn’t sleep, neither did we. The space between the seats is very tight – almost like the space in a budget airlines. The food was average, but they all are. Service was ok, not bad, not great. Overall, the way to Barbados was an ok experience and although they are not my favourite airline, I wouldn’t stop travelling with them if their price was cheaper.
Now… the way back was something I would call “how to ruin your holidays in few hours”. All started at the airport, when we found out that the flight was already delayed, but only for 30 minutes. The, another 15 minutes delay to board for whatever reason I don’t remember. Then we all boarded, were ready to go when the captain told us that there was further delays because of a problem with the engine. Promising, eh? He said he was going to update us in half an hour. The 30 minutes later, the problem was still there, he was coming back in another 30 minutes… and this went on for 3-4 hours. The back of the aircraft was boiling hot (problem with the air con and they couldn’t open the doors – and they wouldn’t let us out of the plane), they wouldn’t serve us food because according to Barbados’ laws no food from other countries could be served in their territory, and the flight was packed with activity kids that were getting annoyed about the whole situation. Some people wanted to leave the plan and get another one, others were just annoyed with the heat, others were making friends.
The crew were really nice and tried their best to keep everybody content and calm. Laura was very hungry, she didn’t want to eat before boarding and we didn’t have any food with us because we were expecting to give her food an hour after boarding. Since they couldn’t give us anything, one of the cabin crew gave us a bag of crisps that he brought as personal snack. Of course we accepted and it was sweet, but it was crisps – salt and vinegar crisps. And this was all she had because by the time the plane took off and dinner was served, Laura was fast asleep.
We also missed breakfast, because apparently we were sleeping and they didn’t want to wake us up – by they did wake me up to give me Laura’s breakfast. I was awake when they passed with the trolley serving drinks and they simply skipped me – ok, they probably thought I was sleeping, but I was there with my hans raised to order drinks. Everything was way too quick, like they were trying to catch up with the delay (makes so difference, people, it is still a 7 hour flight).
I also thought it was very random how inbound and outbound flight service was done. On the way to Barbados, we had a drink and some pretzels during take off, to wait for dinner. Nothing on the way back. On the back, they gave us a flight kit, with socks, toothbrush, mask and ear plugs, but nothing on the way there (I’m guessing it’s because it was a day flight and there was no need to sleep or brush our teeth…).
I appreciate that these things happen but I think that they could have dealt with this in a different way – since the flight was already delayed, they could have checked this fault before instead of letting everybody board the plane. I don’t know what was worst: the expectation of having the flight cancelled after 4 hours locked in the airplane or the feeling of flying with a faulty engine… At least we were going home, but several people lost their connection back home.
I have to say that the overall experience wasn’t that amazing and Virgin Atlantic wouldn’t be my preferred airline for next trips.