Five Star Virgin: Conclusion

Five Star Virgin: Conclusion

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Given that my trip report had 17 previous installments, consider this a Spark Notes summary.

Usually I know what to expect when it comes to airlines, but this trip threw me for a loop. Virgin Atlantic blew me away. For whatever reason I had the perception they wouldn’t be especially good, given that they don’t exactly have the newest product anymore. Furthermore, I assumed the airline was much more style over substance. I was wrong. The airline has just as much substance as it does style. I would argue their ground services are unrivaled for a business class product, especially if you can depart from a city in the US that features a Clubhouse. The Clubhouse in London was spectacular, and the Revivals lounge in London was great too.

Qatar Airways in first class was very good. However, somehow they lacked the “x factor” that makes a flying experience truly special. I don’t know what it is, but I didn’t get the same feeling I get when I fly Singapore, Lufthansa, or even Virgin Atlantic, just to name a few. They’re all around very solid, but not especially exceptional in any area. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again. They’re a top notch airline, though I don’t think they’re “the world’s 5-star airline,” as they advertise.

I’m happy to have seen Doha, though definitely don’t need to return anytime soon. I’ll be curious to see how the World Cup plays out in Doha in 2022. Maybe by then the city will be exciting, who knows.

All the hotels along the way were good too. The Hotel Indigo Paddington was an exceptional value and a great alternative to the normal Heathrow transit hotels. The InterContinental Doha was nice, though could probably use a makeover sometime soon. The Crowne Plaza London Heathrow was a great value and nice hotel, so if I had a short transit near Heathrow, I would most definitely return. Lastly, the Andaz Wall Street remains one of the best values in New York, and I’d say they keep improving.

Thanks for reading, folks, and for all the interaction, it’s what makes this fun.

I’ll be starting my trip report about my trip to Mendoza, Argentina for the 2011 Masters of Food & Wine next week, and by the time that’s done I have another huge trip (bigger than any trip I’ve ever taken before) planned for May.

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  1. Nancy Guest

    Great trip report, thank you so much for sharing!!!

  2. Hans Mast Guest

    I was reading the Sunday NYT (Travel Section) in the IAH PC just now and noticed you mentioned in this article. Good stuff.

  3. Mike Guest

    Great trip report! Your passion is contagious!

  4. lucky OMAAT

    @ caelus -- Whoops, fixed. Thanks.

  5. caelus Guest

    FYI, Qatar will host the World Cup in year 2022, not 2020.

  6. Andy Bluebear Guest

    Sounds like your experience on Qatar sums up a lot of what I have heard...a really good airline, but not as great as THEY like to think they are...

    As for Doha, well, it is getting better each year, but it'll be a while before it can compare to Dubai in terms of social and cultural activities...

  7. gba Guest

    Another great report Ben, I look forward to hearing your impressions of AA

  8. 44John Guest

    Fantastic job with the trip report, Ben -- I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every instalment!

  9. lucky OMAAT

    @ Bryce -- Whoops, duh! My mistake.

  10. Bryce New Member

    Just as a heads up , Doha/Qatar is hosting the World Cup, not the Olympics

  11. gluedtothewindow Guest

    Another fantastic report. Thanks for taking us all along, so to speak

  12. lucky OMAAT

    @ Michael -- If redeeming for Virgin Atlantic I suggest accruing All Nippon Airways miles instead. They're partners with SPG and Membership Rewards, and convert at a 1:1 ratio. Not only are their redemption levels lower, but they don't impose fuel surcharges, which saves you hundreds of dollars. You can search space through virginatlantic.com. While it's not easy, it's not impossible either.

  13. Michael Guest

    Spectacular trip reports. Thanks so much.

    Question: how hard is it to redeem
    /get VA miles so u can fly USA to london?

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Nancy Guest

Great trip report, thank you so much for sharing!!!

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1K Guest

@Mike - I agree. :)

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Hans Mast Guest

I was reading the Sunday NYT (Travel Section) in the IAH PC just now and noticed you mentioned in <a href="http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/travel/10pracbump.html" rel="nofollow">this article</a>. Good stuff.

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