a person pouring liquid into a cup

“I just won’t bother until service is back to normal”.

Flying can be a precious experience, creating some of life’s greatest memories. But without the usual meals, booze and friendly service, many people have opted out, in hopes of better days to come. It appears those days may not be all that far off, at least on Virgin Atlantic flights.

As airlines grappled with varying health and safety policies around the world, food and beverage became a difficult issue in the air during the worst days of covid-19. Some airlines disbanded their on board offerings entirely, arguably in the name of cost cuts as much as health, while others maintained near pre-pandemic levels of service and others pivoted to offer only a meager bare bones service.

a person pouring liquid into a cup

Virgin Atlantic managed to avoid being among the worst, consistently offering hot meals since their flying reboot, but certain extras, like ‘Cake Boy’ Eric Lanlard’s beloved afternoon tea in all cabins were missing, as was Champagne in Upper Class, and the snack wall in Premium. As of September 1st, that’s changing.

Per Virgin Atlantic, the little details in their on board service are making their way back, including…

– An expanded alcohol service to include champagne, miniature liquors and mixers as well as beer and wine in Upper Class and a choice of beer, wine and miniature liquors & mixers in Economy and Premium.

– A second meal service which, on day flights from the UK, includes the delicious Mile High Tea in collaboration with celebrity pâtissier Eric Lanlard in all cabins.

In Upper Class, this is accompanied by a glass of chilled champagne. On night flights, the second service will feature a choice of hot breakfast entrees, accompanied by a seasonal fresh fruit selection and sweet pastry, and in Premium and Economy a breakfast box with yoghurt and fruit, served alongside a warm pastry. The second service is served with a hot beverage of PG Tips tea or Change Please coffee.

– An upgraded hot food service in all cabins with Economy and Premium Economy customers enjoying a “Fly safe, eat well” meal box, which incorporates a choice of three hot meals, cheese and biscuits and a dessert pot. Upper Class customers will receive a choice of three hot meals, dessert, cheese plate, crackers and a ciabatta roll, all delivered to their seat on a tray.

– In Upper Class, we are reintroducing a selection of sweet and savoury snacks to enjoy throughout the flight.  For anyone who’s peckish in Premium we’ll see the return of the much-loved Wander Wall offering a range of delicious snacks. In Economy customers can enjoy an extra snack aspart of the upgraded meal box. A choice of new delicious special meals, including lacto-ovo vegetarian and kosher from 1st September and vegan, halal, low lactose, gluten friendly -amongst others- from 1st October.Virgin Atlantic

a tray of food on a table

This is welcome news for passengers, as many travelers look to sneak away for a late season getaway, or begin to plan future trips as travel safety continues to improve.

With what’s effectively now a full service in all cabins, plus protective measures to keep people flying safe including complimentary masks, gels and wipes for all passengers, Virgin is now among the best airlines in the sky for on board offering during these strange times.

After unlocking £1.2 billion in funds to recapitalize the airline, customer refunds are now being processed, and the airline also introduced complimentary covid-19 cover for all passengers.

a close up of an airplane wing

Virgin Atlantic also announced a more finalized flight plan for near term flying during the covid-19 pandemic, including the re-launch of routes including Tel Aviv, Mumbai and Lagos. Plans for 2020 flying now include…

Hong Kong: started 3x weekly from July 20th.
New York JFK: started daily from July 20th.
Los Angeles: started daily from July 21st.
Barbados: started weekly from August 1st.
Shanghai: started twice weekly from August 4th.
Miami: started 3x weekly from August 18th.
Delhi: starts 3x weekly from September 1st.
Tel Aviv: starts 3x weekly from September 6th.
Lagos: starts 4x weekly from September 10th.
Atlanta: starts 3x weekly from September 15th.
Mumbai: starts 4x weekly from September 16th.

For more details on Virgin Atlantic updates, check out their website.

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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  1. What a contrast with a #BelowAverage cold sandwich, clearly introduced as a cost cutting rather than a Covid measure… but why would we expect anything else from a corporation that saw a global pandemic as a chance to decimate their workforce and deceive / seek additional profit from those with existing bookings.

  2. to: American Airlines

    I see Virgin Atlantic passengers can now get an alcoholic drink in flight. Why can’t AA pax have the opportunity to minimally purchase a drink in flight?

  3. Still waiting for refund for cancelled flight may 25, 2020. Lets see how many months in addition to the 3 months already. Not impressed with service.

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