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Author Topic: How to fly Virgin Atlantic properly  (Read 19112 times)
Marky147
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« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2016, 12:24:23 AM »

There's more chance with LA, as the route uses a different configuration of plane and there are more Upper seats in the cabin.  The flight starts off better too, going via Heathrow you get the drive-thru checkin+private security channel+ str8 into a better clubhouse.  LGW is quite bad comparatively.  Not that its a big issue, but the whole point of being checked in from your car is to get out the car and walk straight into the clubhouse.  At Gatwick, they check you in from your car and then drive you round the front and you go through the scrum at the front of the airport with everyone else.

That said, you still land in LA.  If you really wanted to take a day in LA I guess its ok.  If you are just planning on getting the next available shuttle into LV, then I massively prefer just flying direct to Vegas in the first place.

I guess I've never had too many problems getting what I wanted and so couldn't understand others moaning about availability. But then I definitely am sat there watching the website from even before the seats are released and for some reason it hadn't really dawned on me (until I talked to someone about it) that not everyone does that.  The person in question just pulled up a seat map for the next month and complained there wasn't much there.....

At least they're doing that much Grin
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2016, 06:39:06 PM »

heh, yea they are over-working it.  Should just ask you to keep an eye on undisclosed dates for them instead.
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Marky147
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« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2016, 08:06:39 PM »

heh, yea they are over-working it.  Should just ask you to keep an eye on undisclosed dates for them instead.

Cheesy
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acegooner
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« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2016, 09:30:34 PM »

I am a BA man myself when I finally do get out to vegas will be doing it business or first.

For those that like Virgin and want to travel in style, there is a great website called head for points that has tons of information on how to optimise your collection of virgin miles.

Here is a link:

http://www.headforpoints.com

Tesco also have loads of bonus promotions to help build up miles more quickly, I like the lego ones which I stash away for my nephew /nieces birthdays and Christmas. They are also easily traded on eBay.
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2016, 05:46:26 PM »

Thanks for the link ~ had a brief look round and it seems to concentrate predominately on BA/Avios ~ couldn't find very much at all on Virgin?

The scrapping of Combi-sales recently didn't really make too much difference ~ I never saw a deal that seemed to make much sense, or wasn't beatable by optimising the use of miles in a different manner.

The seat calendar for next August 2017 over the last couple of weeks has shown how quickly things go/change.  Lots of dates starting to disappear.  By contrast, you can see the advent of the new Sept dates getting loaded up.  Daily availability, in the coming week or so there will probably be additional cabin upgrade availability, followed quickly by unavailability as people grab what's there.
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Longines
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« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2016, 06:09:18 PM »

For Virgin- orientated forums check out http://v-flyer.com/ and http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/virgin-atlantic-airways-flying-club-506/  - between those two you'll pretty much cover most of the web's accumulated FC knowledge.
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #51 on: October 10, 2016, 07:43:52 PM »

between those two and the excellent advice on Blonde you'll pretty much cover most of the web's accumulated FC knowledge.

 

In all seriousness, the more info the better.  I've found something that works well for me at least, getting Upper reasonably regularly for ~ economy price ticket.  But very happy to discover or be shown any improvement.
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Longines
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« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2016, 08:08:41 PM »

Heh, goes without saying.

I was at a poker bash over the weekend and between a bunch of us old farts gently maturing blokes we managed to discuss the HMRC route, the wine, the ISA and the relative benefits of Amex charge card offerings. Living life on the edge.
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2021, 06:37:57 PM »

Time for a 9year update!

Virgin now do peak and off-peak tables for spend miles and Vegas is definitely a bit more expensive nowadays.  On the flip-side, my own recent experience is that Flying Club have been pretty helpful with cancelling/rolling over flights due to the pandemic and seat availability has been ample.  Phoning Wales has got much better results for me than using other routes, where I got a few templated answers to unasked questions before giving up and grabbing the phone (1 hour wait)

There is currently a buy miles with up to 60% promo, so let's take another look-see and we might be able to sit in Upper for less than we were nearly going to absent-mindely pay for Economy.  Or not.  I honestly don't know yet, but here is my working:

Assumptions:
1. You have 0 miles.  Obvioously if you already have some, the numbers get better.
2. Once you buy miles, you can readily convert them into a seat on an acceptable date.  I realise this isn't always going to be true, so you might want to check availabilty before laying out for miles.  Or just get the miles anyway.

Off-peak: 30k / 55k / 135k
Peak:  50k / 75k / 155k

Buy 120k miles + 72k bonus miles = 192k miles for £1815.  This is the minimum mile purchase for the 60% tier to kick in.

A quick check on airport tax, econ ~ £272 PE ~ £487 and UC = £660 for the date I sampled.

So, 2 peak PEs?  ^^ £2800 (and you'd have 42k miles left over, so likely your next solo would be free too)

1 x UC off-peak?  £2500 and enough miles left over for a PE solo flight next time.

Not the bargains of old, but then UC was 100k miles and really was a gimme.  Still some decent value to be had here I think, and needless to say, a viable alternative to anyone thinking about paying £2500+ for an Upper ticket.
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StuartHopkin
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« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2021, 08:05:59 PM »

Upper reward seat availability is very scarce at the moment
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #55 on: December 03, 2021, 10:51:30 AM »

When were you looking to go?  I believe it is scarce as many people report, I usually have to take 2nd or 3rd choice of dates but I'm normally booking well into the future (June flight booked UC no issues, 2 seats) I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

What I would recommend, based on my last few experiences, is to phone Cardiff.  It does take an hour or more on hold, but with a handful of dates to hand that I could do, they have usually managed to get something to suit.  They have many times said "we can see the system and it is NOT the same availability as you see on the website."  Seems like it would be a good idea if their website was improved so that it was the same, but hey-ho.  Emails are a waste of time (the Cardiff team don't get those, seems like they are outsourced (and poorly, at that) WA didn't get a response, but phone and credit card in hand has worked, and they were additionally accommodating rolling over flights that were impacted by covid.

I am always gunning for UC because I still believe that to be the pick of the way to use points, but there are good alternatives, including using miles to go economy and upgrade into PE using credit card voucher (dunno if they still do this, I stopped getting emails from them)

Ultimately, it is well worth checking dates and buying your way into UC via miles whenever that is a decent saving over paying the cash fare.
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StuartHopkin
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« Reply #56 on: December 03, 2021, 03:46:00 PM »

Got many miles, and agree UC is always the best way to spend them.

Very interesting about the phone line having different availability to the website.

We've been using seatspy.com which is very accurate in matching the website, and up until now never really had any issues.

Been checking on May 2022 for a while now and there is nothing, might give them a call next week and I will report back.
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #57 on: December 03, 2021, 04:51:59 PM »

Ty, interested to hear if anything opens up.  Obviously the seat map that they see is heavily correlated with the website and I guess will often be in synch, but it only needs to be 1 seat different to get what you need when the website won't.  Pretty good customer service from that team, never had a bad call with anyone, even if not able to get me exactly what I wanted they have been able to give me an accurate steer of what could be done.
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EvilPie
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« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2021, 12:44:05 AM »


I am always gunning for UC because I still believe that to be the pick of the way to use points, but there are good alternatives, including using miles to go economy and upgrade into PE using credit card voucher (dunno if they still do this, I stopped getting emails from them)


This is how Stu and I got our latest UC seats.

With a Virgin Atlantic reward+ card which costs £160 per year you get a free companion seat or cabin upgrade annually as long as you spend £10k.

Thanks to not being able to fly for two years I had two rewards so used one to upgrade myself from PE to UC then another for a UC companion seat which cost 50% points

Overall it was about 130k miles plus the two rewards for 2 x UC return plus taxes of course

You also earn tier points on reward seats now although I'm not sure if they will be of benefit. From what I can see the main applicable benefit for the likes of us is that you can use a companion seat for UC for no points rather than the 50%.

You need to have taken 4 UC flights to get to silver tier though so it takes a lot of trips given that the points reset annually.
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2021, 01:04:08 PM »

Difficult to do it any better than that. 
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