I’m back in the USA now after one of the most eventful flights I’ve had to date. I’ve never been a big fan of long flights and this one started off ominously. Firstly the departure was delayed for an hour by a sick pilot and then I was then one of the lucky individuals selected for TSA security screening. If you are unaware of what this is, the US has decided that a certain amount of people per flight are subject to extra security screening. I wouldn’t have objected to this only I wasn’t told that I would have to do it until I boarded the flight and buckled my seatbelt! I was escorted off the plane (it was rather embarrassing) and patted down and I had to prove that the electrical gadgets in my bag would actually switch on. Americans you can now sleep safely in your beds at night knowing that my MP3 player plays Morrissey and doesn’t do anything more sinister.
Our Virgin Atlantic flight (VS11) was on a brand new Dreamliner and had been chosen as a special festive flight by Virgin. The crew were all dressed festively and mince pies and turkey were on the menu. There was a camera crew on the plane and we were all handed Windows 8 tablets on boarding; normally in Economy you are lucky to get a pair of headphones that don’t crackle every time you dare to move so this was pretty cool! The tablet was preloaded with apps and had a Virgin app called “Festive Flight” installed which when connected to Wi-Fi let us track Santa and send messages to him. There was even a Santa cam which let you look outside the windows and see Santa approach once the pilot announced that he was close. After the food was served Santa “arrived” on the plane wearing aviator goggles and greeted the kids on the flight which was a really nice touch. If you’d like to see what happened on the flight there is a link here.
Santa told us that as we had all been good this year we would get to keep the tablets which was a pretty generous gesture considering that there were 250 passengers on the flight! I’m sure you can imagine the applause that greeted this news. There was even a prize draw where passengers could win more prizes like an X-Box One although I was unlucky in that respect which I was rather glad for because we were using public transport to get home from the airport and my bags were heavy enough! I have genuinely not been on a flight with a more fun atmosphere before so I’m glad that we were lucky enough to be booked on that flight. It was nice to see that transatlantic flights don’t have to be a torture so Virgin have definitely won a repeat customer for the future. Your move BA. We were all given Virgin Santa hats and a chance to win flight tickets if we shared a picture in them which I will be entering as transatlantic flights are not cheap and I would love for it to not be a year before I see my family again!