Virgin Atlantic… the face of ordinary

As a self-confessed brand fanatic, I completely bought into the glamour of the Virgin Atlantic communications. Their ‘flying in the face of ordinary’ campaign had me whole-heartedly believing that they were the best.

Therefore on a recent trip to New York my friend and I thought, why not treat ourselves? We splurged and, truth be told, I was looking forward to the flight. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up on the films I had planned to see but didn’t quite get round to…

Imagine my disappointment then when I sat down and observed what can only be likened to the Gameboy screens of old. Is this what the best in the business provides? A clunky, controller operated monitor broadcasting an unfocused, grainy image? The picture quality was monolithic; even with my screen contrast fully up, the film still looked like it was shot in sepia.

I was not the only one with a problem either. The complaints about the picture quality were so abundant that an announcement was made 30 minutes into the flight requesting everyone to fully lower their window blinds so that ‘everyone could enjoy their films’. (Alas, even this did not help)

And in case you were thinking that the entertainment package was the only issue, here is a rundown of the others we encountered:

  • The air con was broken when we bordered the plane so the temperature in the cabin was approaching a scorching 26⁰C before we’d even taken off
  • … which was 45 minutes later than planned, as they needed to ‘restart the engine’
  • My friend’s chair was stuck in the upright position the entire journey
  • …chairs which were the itchiest seats known to man
  • And when all was said and done, it took an hour to get out of the plane when we landed

Maybe I had unrealistic standards but the whole experience felt sub-par. It had me seeing red but definitely not for the right reasons.  Who knows, perhaps I was just unlucky, but from what I could see, the real Virgin Experience is anything but glamorous.


In complete contrast to their campaigns, my Virgin Atlantic experience was stoically ordinary.

Natalie Aylward