Curb Your Enthusiasm, the show which offers a satirical look at real life comedy genius Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, offers a never ending series of cringe worthy moments. I recently did a post for Virgin Atlantic detailing the benefits of Premium Economy and for my return from Johannesburg we decided it would be good if I put my money where my mouth is. After flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on the way down I spent the day before my return flight in Premium Economy pondering just how cringe worthy my evening aboard the plane would be. It wasn’t at all….

a group of people standing around a counter

Check In

Benefits like dedicated priority check in, expedited security and priority boarding are important parts of the Premium Economy experience and go a long way towards justifying any additional cost. We honestly did not use the Premium Economy check in because our agent from our connecting South African Airways flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg kindly issued boarding passes and checked us in for the Virgin Atlantic flight. 

The Seat

a woman sitting in a chair

Sometimes a picture is just hilarious. This “where did our beds go” caption from Laura cracked me up though that was not the actual case.

rows of seats on an airplane

All travel is a gift and getting there is what matters. With that in mind, despite the above photo we felt very lucky to not be all the way in the back. 

two glasses of liquid on a white surface

And felt a whole lot better about the entire equation when the welcome champagne came. A little secret for you, Laura hates champagne so we order two and I take both. Cheers!

a bottle of water and a purse on a plastic bag

And things started to feel very civilized once the amenity kit, bottle of water and blanket turned up. I actually preferred the design of this Premium Economy amenity kit to that of the newer Upper Class kits.

a woman sitting in a chair looking at a mirror

Laura settling in and beginning to ponder the food.

a person's leg in a pocket with a bottle and magazine

At 6’3” I was legitimately worried about legroom. As you can see from this photo even though we were in the last row of Premium the legroom was suitable. I appreciated the foot rest and that I still had a couple inches to spare. Honestly when it came to stretching out and sleeping I did feel like a giant but for those less tall the pitch and legroom is more than enough to get a snooze in.

a woman sitting in a chair

This photo is of no particular importance but shows off the lovely images we are getting from the camera we purchased on the trip. No more iPhone reviews. Good stuff.

a purple object on a white surface

Wheels up, time to explore. It was nice to find the essentials in the amenity kit and again, trumping the Upper Class amenity kit style we received a purple eye mask. Even better.

The Food

a menu with text on it

The food was somewhat of an improvement over economy but it was the service and presentation from the cabin crew that made the Premium Economy experience feel “premium”. Our crew were attentive, caring and almost always on call. 

a plate of food on a table

The beef malay curry was flavorful and hearty and paired nicely with the wine. My pet peeve when flying is having a finished tray left on my lap when I want to sleep. Because there are less seats in Premium than Upper and far less than Economy our cabin crew were able to quickly clear things away which meant a lot.

The Booze

a menu on a table

As we were departing South Africa it made good sense that there was a South African wine offering. It was more than palatable and I enjoyed the little mini bottles. 

a bottle of wine and a glass

There it is. Lovely grown up grape juice from a leading grape juice region.

a person holding a bottle of alcohol

Speaking of which, I found the after dinner night cap service to be a very welcome surprise. I love the things in life you don’t see coming and I certainly appreciated some Amarula to slip me into a few hours sleep. 

a glass of liquid with ice on a table

And to sleep I go. I really am loving the new quality of images. Hope you are too!

The Experience

a man and woman taking a selfie

Anytime you take off in a metal tube and land at your destination it’s a great flight. Our crew made this flight an exceptional one. Though I was mentally prepared to be very disappointed to return to my normal economy/premium economy I felt very appreciated and really enjoyed the extra amenities that Premium Economy offers. Using miles or at the right price Premium is certainly a nice step up from Economy. Happy times. The only negative was that the photo above was the official end of our honeymoon Oh well, it was marvelous. Cape Town is such a charmer!

As Always, Get In Touch: 

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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