Virgin Atlantic is known for being stylish from its aircraft to its flight attendant uniforms, but if you’re like us, you’re more concerned with the comfort (and cost) of a flight than you are the looks.
This popular British airline carrier offers three different economy flight classes and two premium ones. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the highest economy option: Economy Delight.
This review will help you decide if the perks of this flight class are worth the higher price tag compared to the next lowest and highest classes. We’ll compare different economy classes and tell you exactly what is included in an Economy Delight ticket.
Virgin Atlantic Flight Classes
Virgin Atlantic offers five flight classes: Economy Light, Economy Classic, Economy Delight, Premium, and Upper Class. Premium can be thought of as Business class and Upper Class can be thought of as First class. Economy Delight seats are denoted with a “V.”
Economy Delight is available on most Virgin Atlantic flights. Virgin Atlantic flies both Boeing and Airbus planes, and the size and location of these seats depend on the type of plane (with minimal variability between planes of the same model). Here are the details of Economy Delight seats on each type of plane:
|Airbus A330-300||Airbus A350-1000||Boeing 787-9|
|Width of seat||Up to 17 inches||17.4 inches||Up to 17 inches|
|Seat recline||6 inches||5 inches||5 inches|
|Seat pitch||Up to 34 inches||Up to 34 inches||Up to 34 inches|
Virgin Atlantic has 36 aircraft in its fleet. The majority of planes are Boeing 787’s.
Each type of plane has a different number of Economy Delight seats and organizes seats differently. The Airbus A350 has the largest Economy Delight section. These seats are located behind the Preferred seat section (which is behind Premium) and in front of all other economy seats. The Economy Delight section features two outer sections that are three seats wide and a middle section that is also three seats wide. On these planes, there will be between 36 and 45 Economy Delight seats. Note that Airbus A350 planes with The Booth (a new leisure flight cabin and social space just rolled out in September 2021) include more Economy Delight seats than planes with The Loft (an onboard lounge).
On the Boeing 787, Economy Delight seats are right behind Premium class seats. Economy Delight shares this space with preferred seating. The outer sections are Economy Delight and these are three seats wide and the middle section is Preferred seats and this section is also three seats wide. There are 36 Economy Delight seats on these planes.
Airbus A330 planes have up to 28 Economy Delight seats. These are found behind the preferred seating section in the middle of the economy part of the plane. Economy Delight seats are located in the outer two sections in groups two seats wide as well as a single row of four at the front of this section.
Perks of Economy Delight
The on-plane perks of Economy Delight include upgrades to seat type, seat selection, and seat pitch. This translates to extra legroom, the ability to select preferred seating at any time (from the time you book to the time you board), and a seat pitch of up to 34 inches. Economy Delight seats are not larger than Economy Classic seats.
In addition to increased space and comfort, an Economy Delight ticket lets you check in for your flight at the Premium desk instead of the standard desk. This usually means shorter wait times, but there are no guarantees. After checking in, you will enjoy priority boarding on all flights.
Another perk to note if you’re a Virgin Red loyalty member is that you can earn up to 100% Virgin Points on each flight. This is just the base value calculated from your flight class. You can earn even more points on top of that depending on your loyalty status. Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program has three membership levels: Red, Silver, and Gold. With elite status, you’ll earn up to 60% more on flights and get check-in and luggage benefits on every trip.
There are no baggage perks, in-flight food and drink perks, or other included extras when you fly in this class that are not included in Economy Classic. But let’s get into what makes these two classes different and how Delight compares to premium.
Economy Delight vs. Classic and Premium
Economy Delight shares things in common with Economy Classic as well as Premium class, but it has more in common with Economy Classic.
Take a look at how these three cabin types compare from seating to Virgin Flying Club benefits.
|Economy Classic||Economy Delight||Premium|
|Seat type||Standard||Extra legroom||Extra legroom, larger seat, seat to bed conversion, leather|
|Seat selection||Select standard seat||Select preferred seat||Select Premium seat|
|Seat width||17 – 17.4 inches||17 – 17.4 inches||18 – 21 inches|
|Seat recline||4 – 6 inches||4 – 6 inches||7 – 8 inches|
|Seat pitch||Up to 31 inches||Up to 34 inches||Up to 38 inches|
|Entertainment screen||13.3 inches||13.3 inches||13.3 inches|
|A/C power available?||No||No||Yes|
All three classes include headphones, an entertainment screen, and USB power in the price of a ticket. For flights long enough to offer food and drink, Classic and Delight passengers receive standard dining options and Premium passengers receive Premium options. All passengers can make special meal requests for dietary restrictions.
In terms of baggage allowances, Economy Classic and Economy Delight are exactly the same. You’re allowed one 10-kilogram carry-on bag and one 23-kilogram checked bag and you get standard baggage delivery. Premium, on the other hand, allows for two 23-kilogram checked bags and priority baggage delivery.
The included extras are mostly the same for Classic, Delight, and Premium:
- standard security,
- refundable tickets, and
- no access to airport clubhouses or lounges.
The only difference here is that Economy Delight and Premium passengers get to check in at the Premium desk and Economy Classic passengers have to use the standard desk. Economy Classic, Economy Delight, and Premium tickets qualify for refunds and changes (the only fare class that does not permit refunds is Economy Light).
Flying Club Benefits
Finally, let’s compare points benefits. Economy Classic, Economy Delight, and Premium tickets are upgradeable using Virgin Points. Economy Classic tickets qualify to earn 50% points, Economy Delight tickets qualify to earn 100% points, and Premium tickets qualify to earn 150% points. Economy Classic and Delight passengers earn 25 Flying Club tier points per flight while Premium passengers earn 50.
You’re probably wondering: how much more does Delight cost than Classic? Upgrading to Economy Delight from Economy Classic costs about $100 on average for round-trip flights but may cost as little as $50 or as much as $200. As a rule, only international flights include Economy Delight seats.
We searched for a round-trip flight from New York City to London in February to compare the price of Economy Delight to Economy Classic.
For the same direct flight at the lowest fare price, an Economy Classic ticket will cost you $1,086.27 and an Economy Delight ticket will cost you $1,186.67. On the same Virgin Atlantic flight, Premium tickets start at $1,733.97.
Note that Economy Delight reward seats are not available. You can only purchase reward flights in Economy Classic, Premium, and Upper Class.
You also cannot upgrade from Classic to Delight using points or cash at this time. You need to purchase an Economy Delight ticket at the time of booking. If the option to upgrade to Delight becomes available, we’ll let you know.
You can, however, upgrade from Economy Delight to Premium or Upper Class. If you’re upgrading to premium class with points, upgrades from economy bookings cost about the same whether you’re in Economy Classic and Economy Delight. During the standard season, you’ll pay between 17,400 and 27,400 points to upgrade from economy to Premium depending on where you’re going and what airport you’re flying out of. During peak season, you can expect to pay an additional 10,000 points on top of these prices.
During the standard season, upgrading from economy to Upper Class costs between 56,200 and 101,200 points. In the peak season, these prices tend to run 15,000 points or so higher.
Is Economy Delight Worth It?
Overall, we think the benefits of Economy Delight are worth the small upcharge from the next lowest economy class. These seats feel a little more premium and a little roomier than standard economy, plus you’ll enjoy preferred check-in and preferred boarding.
Economy Delight also qualifies you to choose your seat at any time and puts you closer to the front of the plane than most economy passengers. But to us, one of the best perks is that extra 50% points-earning bonus for every flight. Even if you don’t fly Virgin Atlantic a lot, that additional earning potential and the savings that come with that make the higher price worth it.
With that said, if you’re looking for luxury, Economy Delight probably won’t cut it. You’re still flying in economy class and eating the same food as economy passengers. In this case, you’re better off using your points to upgrade to Premium or Upper Class, purchasing a reward ticket, or paying for a higher class when booking.
How to Get Free Upgrades
Even though you can’t upgrade to Economy Delight from a lower economy class using Virgin Red loyalty points, you are eligible to upgrade from this ticket to a higher one. So if you’re a loyalty member, you can use your points to get into Premium or Upper Class. Award seats are limited, especially in premium cabins, but it’s always worth it to see if they’re available.
If you’re strapped for points but you want to upgrade, you can earn more in the following ways:
- Taking Virgin Atlantic flights
- Taking flights with a Virgin Atlantic partner airline
- Traveling through a Virgin Atlantic hotel, car rental, or other travel partner (e.g. Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Enterprise, Heathrow Rewards, etc.)
- Traveling through any brand within the Virgin Group (e.g. Virgin Holidays, Virgin Hotels, Virgin Games, etc.)
- Using Points Booster to apply extra rewards to an upcoming or past flight
- Shopping through Shops Away partners
- Purchasing or exchanging points with another Virgin Red member
- Using a Virgin Atlantic co-branded travel credit card
Virgin Atlantic’s travel partners are:
- Delta Air Lines
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Air New Zealand
- Virgin Australia
- South African Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- ANA Inspiration of Japan
Virgin Atlantic Travel Credit Card
You can earn loyalty points by using a Virgin Atlantic credit card. The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard, available through Bank of America, allows you to earn 3 points per dollar on Virgin Atlantic bookings and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else. There is a $90 annual fee for this product.
Right now, this card is offering a 60,000 point sign-up bonus when you spend $2,000 or more within 90 days of signing up. Plus, earn up to 15,000 annually and 5,000 points for every additional cardholder you add to your account. You can also earn tier points.
For members of Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program, Virgin Red, we think Economy Delight is worth the price. Loyalty members will get the most benefit out of this flight class because of the higher points-earning potential, but these flights are also more comfortable and convenient than Economy Classic (the class below Delight).
From extra legroom to priority check-in and boarding, this is a good middle ground between economy and premium that gives you some of the benefits of premium at an economy price point.