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Virgin to Hong Kong

Old 12th Jan 2009, 04:10
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Virgin to Hong Kong

That's the airline I'm using, I'm not the virgin....

Thinking of booking a weeks trip in Feb and just wondered about a few things.

What kind of route would we fly out of Heathrow to Hong Kong? I don't mean the SID but the actual route itself. Someone mentioned a 'Great Circle' route via the Arctic but I can't seem to fathom that? Would I get a view of the Himalayas (Everest?) or any of Russia? Window seat permitting of course!

I think it will be an A340-600 which I'm secretly quite excited about, a HUGE airplane and a full service airline instead of a LoCo which my budget usually restricts me to! Anybody have any experience of Virgin Economy or Premium Economy? I'd like to know if you think it's worth the extra?

And has anybody been to Hong Kong? Any general tips or recommended places not to miss?

Edited to add: What's the best time of day to fly out? Seems options are either afternoon flight arriving at middayish, or evening flight arriving early evening. Just thinking in lines of body clock etc!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 13:36
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It is 13 years since I was on that route with VS. On different journeys it was both South over India and Thailand and North across Russia. I think the northerly route is now standard as it is shorter.

What you will see will depend very much on the time of your departure. So you can pick the time and then project flight times and adjust the clock time. However, as I recall, no Himalayas and the northerly route was fairly boring too. The -600 is OK but no different from any other 340 when you are actually sitting in it. I am a fan of VS service but, as with any carrier, it can change from one sector to the next. Hong Kong is a fun place to visit.

Someone with up to date experience will be along soon, I'm sure.
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 13:45
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A typical routing (I'm sure you know they vary) is east across Poland, south of Moscow, pretty much the full length of Kazakstan (which is a long, thin country, look at a map, and the transit of which takes a couple of hours), across Mongolia, then into China and a notable dogleg from heading due east to head south-east to Hong Kong.
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Old 12th Jan 2009, 15:13
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Superb, you've both been very helpful thankyou.
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Old 13th Jan 2009, 10:01
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we did the trip in may.

From memory we headed up over the baltic passing over tallin , then just north of moscow before headding down over khasakstan and china.

Dont expect to see alot though because the flight crew insisted the blinds were down so passangers could sleep.

Edited to add
I slept most of the way - best sleep I have ever had on a airplane.
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Old 13th Jan 2009, 10:37
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The route is as WHBM states, almost without exception. At this time of year, the majority of the flight is at night whether you're on the VS200 (2130 dep) or the VS238 (1600 dep). Even more so on the way back! So you're not going to see a lot, really. On the VS200, if you're on the right hand side, you may get a good view of Mongolia, the Gobi desert and the eastern Himalaya (Qilian Shan, Bayan Har Shan, and Tanggula Shan) between Lanzhou and Chengdu.
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Old 13th Jan 2009, 13:28
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What kind of route would we fly out of Heathrow to Hong Kong?
There are excellent charts put together by a LH pilot which have all the important stuff on them and which you can follow along using any map on the in flight entertainment system. You might need to patch a few together.

Gerd Puppel

They don't have the bits out of the UK but by the time you are leaving Europe I guess they are all the same more or less.
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Old 13th Jan 2009, 16:55
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Excellent responses from you all, I'm very grateful.
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Old 15th Jan 2009, 21:09
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On a route that long, I'd definitely recommend Premium Economy. The extra leg room and seat space, not to mention the separate cabin just makes the whole flight so much more pleasant.

I've only flown to HK on the evening flight, but the evening arrival into HKG is pretty good for the body clock, as you are already tired after the flight so by the time you have got to your hotel, you are ready for bed and can start early and refreshed the next day without wasting any time.

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Old 15th Jan 2009, 23:20
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I'd certainly like to try it, although booking through Expedia and the like, I don't think it gives you the option to upgrade your seat, not that I've seen anyway.

Thankfully I'm not that tall, just nice to have that bit more comfort.
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Old 16th Jan 2009, 22:54
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Expedia will show you all classes, if you ask it to - there should be a 'Class' option in the query box at the top left that will allow you to choose 'Premium Economy' (or 'First' if you're feeling flush ).

Premium Economy is usually around double the economy fare, so it's your call whether you think its value for money or not. You can ask if you can pay for an upgrade once you've boarded (which may be significantly cheaper), but LHR-HKG is such a busy route that your chances of success are not good.

I always 'cheat' by using Expedia (or similar sites) to find the cheap fares, but book them directly on the airline's web site. Just one less thing to go wrong or one less set of people to argue with if it does!
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Old 18th Jan 2009, 16:26
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Thinking about Premium economy on Virgin Heathrow to Hong Kong, quick question can you still get an emergwncy isle seat for even more leg room ( I am 6' 4") and assume you would pay a supplment for this?

On lap top assume there is no actual broadband type connection - does any airline offer this yet ?
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Old 19th Jan 2009, 05:26
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007 Helicopter

Check out this site I found. Gives details on aircraft and advises which seats are good, and importantly which ones to try and avoid... those that are near to toilets, galleys and with restricted recline or fixed armrests and the like.

SeatGuru Seat Map Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 (346)

Pax Vobiscum

Thanks for the advice! I've booked it! Got the hotel through Expedia but as you said, did the flight direct through the BA site; Virgin was virtually the same price, but I got my insurance through BA too for a good deal. Saved about 30 overall by not doing the whole package through Expedia, although I will have to pay for the airport transfer but that is fine with me, can't see it being 30!

Would have liked to have gone out with BA and back with Virgin just to compare and spice it up a bit (not to mention keep that competition up and prices down!) but that was really interesting! (!!)

Got diverted looking at the First product too.... one can dream!
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Old 21st Jan 2009, 21:36
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dany - looked & good tip - cheers
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