Skytrax 2018 Awards Announced – Here We Go Again

I’ve never put too much weight into Skytrax ratings. They’re mainly based on votes from people who have favouritism towards a single airline just because they’ve had a good experience on them before. Most of the people voting have never flown another airline in the same cabin class before.

That being said, it’s always exciting to see the opinions that the general public has towards airlines, which is why I continue to see and report on Skytrax’s rankings, despite the fact that I don’t actually value them at all. Additionally, while the rankings themselves are based on flawed data and results, the rankings actually have quite a large impact on airlines, as Skytrax rankings are quite highly-esteemed.

img_5506Lufthansa being a 5-star airline was probably the industry joke of the year

Today Skytrax released some rewards for this year’s winners in multiple categories. Having flown a number of airlines since this last happened, I’ve been quite…entertained by some of the rankings that Skytrax has released this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the thoughts that I have from Skytrax’s new rankings – for the full list of awards, click here.

Continue reading “Skytrax 2018 Awards Announced – Here We Go Again”

Review: Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin
Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow
Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong


While I’d flown Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy class on the 787 countless times, I’d only flown their economy product once prior to this trip. Since we didn’t have any bags to check and had already checked in online, we got straight off the Heathrow Express and made a beeline towards immigration. My dad headed towards the Upper Class immigration channel (he couldn’t use the Upper Class Wing, since the Wing is used as a drop-off point for car transfers only).

After that and waiting for a while at the VAT refund stand, he guested me into the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which is hands down my favourite airport lounge in the world. While the experience I had was exemplary, I’ll refrain from reviewing it again here, so check out my review from last year to learn more about the lounge.

The gate was scheduled to open at 8:55 PM for our 9:55 PM, though Heathrow’s Terminal 3 has one of those annoying holding pens where boarding doesn’t start for another 30 minutes. I figured I’d just head over around the half-hour mark, and got to gate 17 at around 9:30 PM. At that point everyone in the holding pen had already lined up to board.

From the holding pen I was able to grab pictures of our 787 under the sunset. One of the friendly gate agents approached me so she could look out of the window as well, saying “beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked if she was referring to the sunset or the 787, to which she replied, “both”.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 London Heathrow Airport

There was quite a hold-up at the jetbridge, which I’m not used to, since I usually race to be first onboard for cabin photos.

Continue reading Review: Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong”

Review: Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin
Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow
Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong


We made our way through immigration by 5:20 AM, thanks to the fast track cards we were offered, and the fact that we were one of the first flights through. From there we passed baggage claim (we didn’t check any bags), and walked through Terminal 3’s drab arrivals hall, following the signage to the arrivals lounges.

The Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge is open to arriving Upper Class passengers and Delta Gold Medallion members. Unlike the departures Clubhouse lounge, though, you’re not entitled to a guest here. The lounge is open from 5 AM to 1:30 PM, so it’s mostly for passengers on morning flights who don’t have a hotel to check into yet.

The lounge is located opposite the multi-storey carpark, and requires a walk diagonally across the (small) arrivals hall, and a ride up a lift (the signage is intuitive enough – one of the redeeming qualities of Heathrow’s Terminal 3). The lounge is then located to the right of those lifts.

Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow Entrance

Continue reading Review: Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow”

Review: Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin
Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow
Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong


My dad and I got to the airport at 10:30 PM for our 11:55 PM flight. We’d checked in online and weren’t carrying any hand luggage, though we were sure to quickly drop by the check-in counter, where there was no line, so we could get our lounge passes. While Virgin Atlantic used to operate their own Clubhouse at Hong Kong Airport, that made way for the AmEx Centurion Lounge, and Virgin Atlantic now uses the Plaza Premium West lounge (I tried to get into the East lounge so I could re-review it, though I was redirected).

While the Plaza Premium West lounge has a nice airline-invitation-only area, it was 10:45 PM, so I just decided to get some work done in the gate area. I decided to line up at around 11:10 PM and a few other people followed suit, and boarding began with Upper Class passengers at 11:15 PM. Since airlines almost never begin boarding punctually, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to board at the scheduled boarding time of 11:15 PM.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Hong Kong Airport

I made my way down the jetbridge with my backpack and my carry-on, more than ready for the Upper Class experience.

Continue reading Review: Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London”

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin

Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin
Virgin Atlantic 787 Upper Class Hong Kong to London
Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge London Heathrow
Conrad London St. James Grand Deluxe Room
Virgin Atlantic 787 Economy Class London to Hong Kong


This trip report will be a short one, as it essentially consisted of university hopping around London for a couple of days (in a slightly more luxurious fashion but you’d expect, but…).

(And no, if you’ve stumbled upon this travel blog for the first time, this isn’t a “young traveler gets laid in obscure country” story. I’ll justify the naming of the report in the next installment.)

As longtime readers will know I’m not far away from my university applications, and while I’m still deciding between universities, I’m pretty much dead set on the UK. So this year I decided to make the trip to London to explore a few of these universities, and my dad decided to join me. (For non-longtime readers, my dad loves to fly direct, and both of us had meetings we had to attend on both sides that required us to fly direct, so…).

One of the universities I’m looking at is UCL, which I visited on this trip

Continue reading Introduction: Spending The Night With A Virgin”

What Are Herringbone Seats Like?

The first fully flat bed I’d ever sat in as a child was one of a Cathay Pacific 747. I thought it was really cool how I could change the seat into a bed at the touch of a button, and I loved the sense of privacy that the seat had as a 4”5’ lad. I remember not understanding why my mother hated the seat, since I wasn’t prone to claustrophobia and didn’t have to take care of my sister. But I’m a growing boy, and unfortunately herringbone seats haven’t grown nearly as fast as I have.

On Saturday I had the chance to try a herringbone seat for the first time in seven years when flying Upper Class between Hong Kong and London. In the meantime, as a premium travel analyst, obviously I’ve been on the lookout for different reports on herringbone seats, as well as their correspondent nicknames – coffin class, prison, etc.. Prior to this flight, the herringbone seat was one of two major business class configurations that I’d yet to try, the other being the Apex Suite. I wanted to see if I liked the product, and where it stacked up against the rest of the configurations I’ve flown in the past.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Upper Class Seats

I figured I’d break down some of my thoughts on herringbone seats based on my experience in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class “suite” (if you can even call it that). While my thoughts of the seat are mostly negative (as expected), it did pleasantly surprise me in a couple of ways.

Continue reading “What Are Herringbone Seats Like?”

What Is Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Upper Class Like?

Hello from London! I just had the chance to try Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class product from Hong Kong to London. While I’ve flown the route countless times, this was my first time flying Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. I’ve flown the route in economy before, as well as in premium economy, so I’m more or less familiar with the aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class intrigued me because of how highly esteemed the product is. I visited the airline’s Clubhouse lounge at London Heathrow last year, which was spectacular – it easily bagged the number one spot in my five favourite business class hub lounges. However, I was convinced that the herringbone seat would bring down the comfort factor of the Virgin Atlantic experience, and predicted that it would be an underwhelming experience.

I’m pretty good with predicting how airline experiences will turn out. As a student I plan my travels far in advance, so I have a lot of time to read into the products that I book. However, as usual, there were things about the Upper Class experience that I was pleasantly surprised by, and others that I didn’t quite like. While a full review will come within the next week, I figured I’d write about my first impressions, as I usually do after experiencing a new product.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Upper Class

Continue reading “What Is Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Upper Class Like?”

5 Outstanding Business Class Products I Really Want To Try

A couple of weeks ago I shared the 5 business class products that I’d like to try because I believed they’d underwhelm. Over the years I’ve had the chance to try some amazing business class products, and I’m booked on a couple in the near future that I believe will be equally great. I thought it’d be fun to talk about some airlines that I’d like to try to provide some variety for my reviews (and also point out ways in which the passenger experience could be improved, since I’ve been on my fair share of business class products).

That said, there are some products that I’d really like to try because I believe, from what I’ve heard, that they’re industry leading. Right now, as arrogant as I believe the airline can be, the best business class product I’ve taken is probably Qatar Airways’ (they have a great dine-on-demand menu, the food is good, the seat is excellent, the bedding is good, the CEO is a tourist attraction, and…UGH!). I’m looking forward to trying a few business class products that I’ve read impressive reviews of that I’d like to try in the near future.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Business Class

As I delve deeper into the game of miles and points I’d like to have a few “goal products” that I can try and review, to test if they’re really as good as I’ve heard they are. Most of these are relatively attainable, so hopefully I’ll have the chance to snag some cheap business class fares, or use miles and points to book myself, and my family/friends in these products in the future.

Continue reading “5 Outstanding Business Class Products I Really Want To Try”

Will Virgin Atlantic Change Their Upper Class Seat For Good?

Boeing has been having some tough times with the 787, so some of these planes have been grounded, which has been a nuisance particularly for airlines that operate the 787 on a majority of their longhaul flights. Virgin Atlantic is one of these airlines, and while they still fly their non-grounded 787 to a variety of destinations (including Hong Kong, so I’ll be flying their Upper Class in a couple of weeks), passengers on a few U.S.-based routes have seen their aircraft replaced by A330s that belonged to now-defunct airline Air Berlin. This was announced a few months back, and as of yesterday Daily Mail revealed some sleek new photos of the reupholstered cabin interiors of Virgin Atlantic’s newest A330s.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 Upper Class

Continue reading “Will Virgin Atlantic Change Their Upper Class Seat For Good?”

A Guide To Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Premium Class

Virgin Atlantic has an exclusively longhaul network, and they have more 787s than any other aircraft in their fleet. The airline is known for their excellent branding game – people want to fly them because they’re a “cool”, “hip” brand, despite not having the best onboard product (though their business class lounge at Heathrow is hands down my favourite in the world). I’ve had the chance to fly them quite a few times in premium economy on the 787, which they’ve recently begun marketing as “Premium” class, since they wanted the product to be considered a separate league from economy.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Premium Economy

Virgin Atlantic’s 787 premium economy hard product isn’t industry leading, there are many special touches to the product that allows the experience to differ from other premium economy experiences. This guide to Virgin Atlantic’s 787 premium economy will explain some of these touches, as well as what you should expect from Virgin Atlantic premium economy in general.

Continue reading “A Guide To Virgin Atlantic’s 787 Premium Class”