We fly Virgin, but in Premium Economy so cant help with your first question. However in answer to your second - yes we always choose our seats before check in. Have a look at the www.seatguru.com website - some seats are better than others. The plane Virgin use from Gatwick to Mo Bay is the 747 version 2 (the one with most of the Premium seats upstairs in the pod).
Hope this helps.
By the time this is posted we will be on our way to CSA - 8th to 22nd Feb - I can almost feel the sand between my toes!
We've travelled with Virgin Atlantic many times to the caribbean & are travelling with them again back to Jamaica in April.
We always travel economy & you can indeed pre-book your seat. You need your Virgin Atlantic flight locator reference from your Tour Operator which will enable you to log in on the Virgin Atlantic website. We always try to get the very rear of the aircraft as their are approx 5 rows of 2 seats, if we're unlucky as we are this time we sit near to one of the galley areas as they don't seem so crowded.
7 weeks & counting until we return to our beloved Couples Negril...woo-hoo
This is a purely personal opinion and other people may have had better experiances but i will never fly Virgin again after 2 bad experiances.
In fact my husband will not come to Jamaica if he has to fly Virgin so we are booked on BA this year it can't be any worse than Virgin.
Staff were rude you expect to be greeted with a good morning not "oH your going to the rain then".
Food was terrible seat belt sign on most of the way I think just to keep the Jamaicans who were on the flight in their seats. Jamaicans do not travel light and maybe some do not like being told to sit down, but it was not a pleasant flight.The staff were really rude to some people.
On one flight i had no entertainment for the 9 hour flight as in my seat it was not working and again the flight attendants were not very pleasant.
We didn't say anything just got on with it and looked forward to a wonderful holiday in Jamaica.
Having flown Air Jamaica from Heathrow twice they were wonderful, treated every body with respect, great food wonderful staff, we really miss them.
We'll see how it goes with BA this July.
The one one thing it will say is when we were landing at MBJ the first flight we were quite close to touch down when we had to do a "go around" and accelerate up which was very scary for a nervous flyer like me but the Captain came on and said "well we will just throw that away and start again" very reasuring.
Other people will say they are wonderful - Like it said this is just a personal opinion.
Thats strange as we are going with Thomas Cook and have upgraded to the premium cabin - maybe thats because we are flying from Gatwick?? Ive flown with Virgin economy before to St Lucia and they were ok - I think you can pay aroung £30 for an extra legroom seat but they go very quickly.
Hope the flight is ok.
Louisea33 - when are you going? I think they are stopping the premium cabin from April.
tt2505 - we have only recently booked and all of those seats towards the back are unable to be pre booked. I had hoped that these were the seats that are allocated on the day but it would seem not.
Has anyone had any experience of upgrading from economy to premium economy. When is the best time to do this. I'm not sure whether to ring them a couple of weeks before we depart or wait until the day of the flight and see what the price would be then.
We flew from Gatwick to Montego Bay with Virgin on ecomony seats. We pre-booked the seats in rows of 2 at the rear of the plane on check in we were allocated diffent seats, after quering as to why, it turned out these seats were classed as an extra upgrade and were no longer available although I did book them on their online seating booking. So I paid extra to get bulk head seats. Unfortunately they were at a toilet so the queues of people were on your lap at times and the entertainment system did not work for any of seats in the row. The staff were not very helpful and they ran out of refreshments very quickly. Must have been some thirsty people aboard. Upgraded to Premium Ecomony on the way home at a cost and felt I shouldn't have bothered.
We flew ecomony with Thomas Cook the time before in a stanard seat and found the experience much more enjoyable.
Going this May with Thomsons Premium seats from Manchester so looking forward to an enjoyable flight.
At the end of the day we know we are heading to a fantastic holiday at Couples it is only a the carrier who gets you there that can create a problem.
Virgin economy isn't great at the best of times but it seems to be worse going to Jamaica. The planes are not upgraded, hence the constant breakdown of entertainment systems. Don't bother complaining unless you are happy to accept a voucher for £100 to be taken off your next holiday/flight (but only if you book within the following year otherwise the voucher wont be valid!).
Another thing I noticed (we went to CSS in November 2010) on the flights was that the Jamaican travellers love to stand around (as alluded to above), drink and chat. If a particular crowd is having fun in the aisle adjacent to the WC's then more will join. It didn't bother me particularly but it was quite loud at times (fun loud, not aggressive loud) and the amount of drink consumed led to the Captain announcing that all booze had run out. I think this was just a way of them getting their customers to sit down. A bit party pooperish if you ask me.
If you can afford premier economy or upper class then do that. I believe that Kenwood Travel was doing amazing upgrade deals last year (if only I had known!).
I find Virgin OK but a lot don't. I have had problems with them and have learned to accept that the flight is just a means to an end. And how good an end is Couples!!
Poolie, keep checking the Virgin website. We had 2 caribbean holidays a year for the past few years & have mostly been lucky if we've booked way in advance. This trip in April we didn't book until December & of course all the '2 seats' had gone, but I checked yesterday & managed to get them on the outbound flight...woo-hoo!
Just remember you need to check in online to secure the seats. Our last flight was in December from Cuba & we got them then, I've not heard that Virgin are charging extra for them.