The plus side of Virgin is that they generally seem to know their Disney. Sometimes in TUI (or other travel agents), some agents do go a bit cross-eyed when I lay down the exact hotel, tickets and tier of dining plan I want as they're trying to remember everything I say.
We tried out the V-Room lounge, which was nice, but I don't think it's worth the extra money. The food and staff were great, but I don't like to stuff my face with food before a flight so the value for it isn't there for me.
Onto the flight itself, for those who regularly travel Virgin probably know (which we didn't) their planes are starting to get a little tired.
There is quite a lot of wear and tear in the cabin and the speaker next to our seats was broken, so we could barely hear the announcements over the speaker system. Although the film selection was pretty good, the in-flight entertainment is so slow and laggy, and the screen quality is lacking. On the way back, we were told the overhead lights were not turning off. The food was no better or worse than other plane food, so not much to say there.
Like most other airlines, Wifi is now onboard for you to enjoy. Although the prices can run pretty high, we didn't try out the service. I think for premium customers it should be included at a minimum.
Virgin Atlantic fly out to Orlando almost every day, and the plane was only about half full, so the flight didn't feel cramped. However, depending on the day, you'll often find the flights completely sold out.
The Lost Bag
Over the many years I have travelled to Disney World, not once have I ever had a bag lost or damaged. The first time flying with Virgin Atlantic, one of our suitcases got lost and damaged.
I couldn't believe it! We paid for premium seats knowing that our luggage would be among the first off the plane but were left waiting until the entire plane was empty as one of our suitcases didn't arrive. The Virgin rep there was very helpful (as most Americans are) and he was convinced he was going to find it. I told him I admire his optimism but I have looked around here 5 times and it's not here. He conceded after the next flight was arriving. He told us where to go to file a claim. He said it would most likely be on the next flight, but they'll help us downstairs. We went to the Virgin desk and told them our bag never arrived and she apologised and sent over a guy to deal with it. He gave us a form which told us to go to buy essentials and then send an email with a copy of the receipt to claim back the money. I didn't know they did that, so that was a nice touch, especially as the suitcase lost was the bag holding all our toiletries. It was a brand new suitcase as well! He gave me some more details and said they'll call when they find it.
So as soon as we got to Cabana Bay, we went straight down to Walmart to pretty much buy all our toiletries again. It was a fun game trying to find American versions of the products we used, that's for sure.
Our Walmart receipt came to nearly $150, and the baggage form said you can claim up to $80. We didn't intentionally buy the most expensive stuff, we needed to replace things like sun cream, shampoo, painkillers, etc, there's no getting around that.
To be perfectly honest, I had no faith that we'd ever see that bag again. But, about 2 days later I got a call saying they found the suitcase and it'll be with me the next day. The next day came and our suitcase was delivered to Cabana Bay! However, one wheel was damaged and there was a small hole on the front side. Apparently the suitcase "never left Gatwick". I know in these situations it's the airport handling the bags, but it is Virgin's responsibility to transport our luggage with us, and I think they did all they could and were happy with the service and outcome of the situation. Virgin covered the full cost of the Walmart bill and the cost of replacing the damaged suitcase.
Even though they lost our bag, the overall price paid and service received I was happy with. Yes, the plane that we went on needs some interior love, but I would use Virgin Atlantic again. Although a lot of their Orlando flights now seem to have much later outbound times, like not landing in Orlando until 8-9 pm. I wouldn't choose Virgin Atlantic if one of those flights was on my desired travel day, and as that's wasting half a holiday day.
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