As I mentioned in part one, originally, I’d booked my return via Seattle as it was cheaper. At the time of booking there were no reward seats available for the return leg, either via Seattle or on the direct flights. Another reason I liked the Seattle routing was that I deemed it more likely to have reward seats available as the flight got closer. LAX is a notoriously difficult route for reward seats, whereas Seattle is a much less busy route. This logic turned out to be wrong because a few weeks before the flight, no less than 8 reward seats opened on the direct flights from LAX to London Heathrow. I cannot tell you how unusual this is. As such, I rang up and paid a fee to move to the direct flight and secure an upgrade for 40,000 points plus £330. A fair price for an overnight 10-hour flight.
It’s all a little funny at LAX right now due to the building work going on ahead of the 2028 Olympics. Last time I was here (merely weeks ago) the check-in and departure were from Tom Bradley international. But now, check-in was back in Terminal 2 (where Virgin used to be). So I had to check-in, and then walk to Tom Bradley. I thought this would be a big hassle but it was fine. You can do the entire walk inside the terminal building. You simply clear security, which was very fast thanks to TSA Pre-Check and then walk through a long corridor up to Tom Bradley.
The lounge situation remains the same as previous trips, Virgin are using the Star Alliance lounge overlooking the central area of the terminal. The lounge is fairly standard, some hot food options like soups, noodles, rice, pasta as well as cold food like sandwiches and some desserts. Plenty of self-service soft drinks but alcohol is served at the bar. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in lounges like this because they’re just not as good as a Clubhouse, so hopefully Terminal 2 reopens and Virgin’s Clubhouse is not far behind!
Boarding & Departure
After some time in the lounge, I headed to gate 130 where G-VBZZ (Queen Bee) was waiting to whisk us home. The gates in Tom Bradley are large, given they’re all designed for wide body aircraft and I got there just as they were finishing the special assistance passengers and went straight onboard with no waiting at all.
I settled into seat 2A. My preference is always the A seats on the Virgin 787 as they’re more private and you’re generally off the plan faster too. I don’t mind the G seats but 1G (one of my favourite seats) lacks overhead bin space due to being located directly below the crew rest) and I had a lot of luggage so decided the A seats were better for this flight.
Virgin Atlantic 787 Seat 2A in bed configuration
One of the big perks of the 787 is that it has one of the best beds in the sky. The seat is dated and not as flashy as newer ones like the BA Club Suite. But it’s a comfortable bed for a night flight.
As I was settling into my seat, the FSM appeared and introduced himself and recognised me as a gold card holder. He asked me if I needed anything, I requested some pyjamas and he happily obliged. They were handed out later anyway but getting them early means I guarantee getting the right size! It’s always nice speaking to the crew, you pick up all sorts of gossip and information. In fact, on this flight I’d flown with 2 of the crew before as well as the First Officer! That’s what happens when you stick to one airline!
As I mentioned in part 1, I was keen to try the new menu on this trip. Outbound and inbound menus are different (although they are shared across routes). I knew what was available as you have the option of pre-ordering 7 days before the flight but I decided to hold fire in case my appetite changed on the day. I was contemplating eating at the bar, but I was tired and wanted to watch a movie as I ate, so decided to stay at my seat this time.
To start, I chose the sliced duck, which was delicious.
Sliced Duck Starter
I chose the BBQ chicken as my main course. This was OK but the BBQ sauce was very strong and a little overwhelming, but I liked it overall because more often than not, the meals can be quite bland.
BBQ Chicken and Mac & Cheese Main Course
I opted for the chocolate mousse cake for dessert…
Chocolate cake dessert
…and then the cheese board, because why not.
After dinner, I made the bed up before changing into my sleep suit (pyjamas). I love the bed on the 787, it’s comfy (for an airline seat) and the bedding is fairly decent quality.
I managed to doze for a few hours before being woken for breakfast. I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again, I am not a huge fan of the breakfast offered by Virgin. I stuck to the basics and had a bacon sandwich, orange juice and a coffee. Breakfast pre-order cards have just returned too. So now you can select your breakfast during the main meal service before going to sleep.
It wasn’t long before we were in London airspace and benefitted from a quick approach over south London, arriving on runway 27L at Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic Breakfast Preorder Card
The new menu is an improvement but overall I still feel that it lacks vs other airlines. Add in the fact the breakfast isn’t great and this menu is now in place for 6 months, it’s just not good enough. I think these decisions need reconsideration. That being said, the starter and main course options were good. I’m looking forward to trying the other options on my upcoming Las Vegas flight.