Once through security it was time to wander through World Duty Free and eventually enter the two-storey departures area, which is full of an array of shops, bars and restaurants - including a Nandos for all you Peri-Peri lovers out there. I ended up following my usual airport routine before it was time to venture towards the departure gate.
The Economy Cabin
All of Virgin's 747 fleet that operates out of Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow were refreshed in 2012 at a staggering cost in excess of £50 million. The refresh saw the addition of new seats and the ultra-responsive Vera Touch in-flight entertainment system, which was formerly known as JAM!.
The Economy cabin itself consists of 375 seats and is separated into "smaller cabins" with seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.
You'll also find 33 economy seats in a 3-3 format on the upper deck. These seats are incredibly popular owing to their position on the upper deck in a very small cabin with storage bins beside the window.
I found the relatively-new seats to be fairly comfortable and a huge improvement as to when I last flew with Virgin on an A340-600. The seats come with an ample 31" pitch and USB power at every seat, hurrah!
Upon reaching my seat, I found a 250ml bottle of water, a red blanket (no surprise there), and a pack of headphones. Virgin are one of the few mainstream carriers I know to provide Economy passengers with a bottle of water. It is very important to keep hydrated when flying, so really other airlines should take note.
When browsing through the content available, I liked the fact you can also add items to your playlist to enjoy later in the flight, in addition to the making use of ever-popular functions such as the interactive map and destination videos. One of my personal favourites is the Travel Tip Catcher. This is where you can read and share travel times with your fellow passengers onboard. Who knows, someone may know how to maximise your time in the theme parks, or tell you about the chicken exit in the Tower of Terror!
You are also able to connect your camera, iPod, phone and other small personal electronic devices from where you can view your content on the screen. In a day and age where we are all practically obsessed with the battery life on our phones, you'll be pleased to know it may charge some of your devices too.
Virgin were indeed the first airline to provide all passengers with seat-back television screens, but did you know that they were the first airline in the world to use this cutting edge version of IFE. Additionally, they are the first British airline to offer SMS texting and email facilities onboard?
Available on all aircraft based at Gatwick, and a select few from Heathrow and Manchester, Aeromobile allows you to use your phone just like you would 37,000 feet below. The charges for this are very similar as if you were abroad. If you have data roaming activated then you are good to go.