Best seats: premium economy on Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A340

By John Walton, March 14 2012
Best seats: premium economy on Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A340

Flying Virgin Atlantic premium economy from Sydney to Hong Kong, or on from Hong Kong to London? The latest in AusBT's extensive series of guides to picking the best seat on the plane is here to help you get the most out of your journey.

The plane and cabin

Virgin Atlantic is one of your three premium economy options between Sydney and Hong Kong (and one of four, with British Airways added, on the overall Sydney-London route).

You'll find 38 premium economy seats on board in a 2-3-2 configuration, starting just in front of the wing of the stretched A340-600 plane.

Seats are among the widest in the premium economy band, at 21" (53cm).

Each seat has an AC outlet but it's one of those oddly-shaped EmPower sockets so you'll want to be packing the right adaptor for your laptop or tablet.

The best seats on the plane

18A 18C 18H 18K: despite the seat map's layout, these are bulkhead seats with a wall in front (as shown below) rather than exit row seats you can really stretch out in.

That said, they're still the best on board. While you might be disturbed by a baby at the front of the cabin, it's not like the premium economy zone is really big enough for you to avoid that anyway.

18D 18F 18G: these centre three bulkhead seats are a decent deal since the middle seat can nip out without disturbing the aisle passengers.

The worst seats on the plane

23D 23G 22D 22C 22G 22H: these aisle seats right next to the lavatories are a definite no.

Rows 21-23: the rest of these three rows aren't quite as bad, but they're still further back in the cabin -- and thus closer to the relatively noisy loos.

F seats: skip the middle of the three seats if you can and go for an aisle instead.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 177

I recently flew in 18k on the way there and 19K on the way home. Whilst the bulkhead is a little further away i like to be able to stretch my legs out fully, so I prefer row 19, even though you have the seat from row 18 dropping back down on you. Very comfortable seats though.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Frequent Flyer

28 May 2011

Total posts 81

Out of interest, what is the comfort of these seats like in comparison to say, the Qantas PE seats?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 177


I found them quite comfortable, however I was only going up to HKG. I think the rest of the service on Qantas is what makes it different. I fly Virgin Atlantic as I haven't had a problem and find them cheaper than Qantas. If someone else was paying QF is a pretty damn good choice. It really comes down to preference.

I'd be keen to try out Cathay's Y+ that way I can avoid Heathrow. Not sure when that will be available on other sectors. I hope that helps.

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