Losing My Virginity - To Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy
Since returning from holiday everyone's been asking, "What's with the big grin?" Well if you all must know, I just lost my Virginity, and to be honest, I can't wait to go back for more. I'm no pushover you understand, but after hearing those rumors, I had to find out what all the fuss was about. So one minute I'm innocently working away at my desk, and the next I'm on the phone to my travel agent booking a seat to Hong Kong for a few nights of heady shopping, sightseeing, and degustation. I'm not one to tell, but as soon as I arrived at the Virgin Atlantic counter at Sydney Airport they were already turning on the charm, inviting me to a special priority check-in for Premium Economy passengers, where a very friendly agent quickly checked me through with a big smile, remarking that I still had plenty of time to ogle the duty-free goodies before take off. Rather fresh of her I know, but that's just the start of it. As we boarded the aircraft, one of the attentive crew suggested I slip into something more comfortable - like my seat - while she fixed me a drink.
Looking around with glee I discovered it wasn't just a line; Premium Economy really did only have eyes for me, and twenty-seven others. Not only were the seats wider than regular economy class - think Beyonce dancing next to Kylie - the chair configuration of two, three, two across the aircraft provided just the right amount of personal space. In addition, they've added extra padding, leg rests, and a generous recline. This baby was definitely built for comfort. To put me in the mood before take off, I was offered a selection of drinks, including a glass of champagne.
I hadn't intended on letting my guard down so early, but I'm talking real glasses of French champagne, not just plastic picnic goblets of Spumante. What did they take me for, a Business Class passenger? Slurping noisily on my glass of bubbly, so as to be heard back in economy, I couldn't help but notice a well-stacked set of amenities bursting out of the seatback pocket in front. I have to say I'm a legroom man myself, however, these colourful kits were more than a handful. Each one was stuffed with socks, eyeshades, pens (who can ever find one when they need to fill out those customs forms?), notepads, tissues, and big enough to air your dirty laundry in on the way home. Once in the skies, the crew really started to put on the moves. More drinks, impressive meals (by airline standards anyway, although I did tell them they were the best I'd ever had), refreshing hot towels, and tempting snack delights such as ice cream and chocolate bars. Not long after dinner, the crew quietly dimmed the lights and lowered the shutters. However, this was no time to roll over and go to sleep. The flight was still young, and the fun just beginning. Both Premium Economy and Economy seats are equipped with large seatback video screens.
Being sensitive to our individual needs, Virgin offer 50 movies to choose from. I could play, pause, go faster, take it slow, back a little, and, of course, stop if the film was just not doing it for me. Whenever I felt like a break between the action, a huge selection of TV shows, computer games, and audio channels awaited my every command. After some initial fumbling around, I discovered that each seat has its own phone and email address. Of course, I could have communicated with the outside world, but why bother when the real enjoyment was dialling seat numbers to prank call and heavy breathe other passengers for free until I learnt that my seat number appeared at the receivers end. For those who would rather fly by the motto "all work and no play", Premium Economy also provides in-seat power supply for laptop computers. While gadgets might be a boy's best friends, no airline gets far with me unless they can back it up with a great personality. That's where the experienced and friendly Virgin Atlantic crew really made my first time special, even announcing over the PA system that they would be delighted for me to fly with them again! They haven't called yet, but I'm sure they will. Now you know how I lost my Virginity and still wear the big grin to prove it. But don't take it from me, give your travel agent a call and tell them "I want what he's having".