The ‘Alternative’ Airport Experience with VirginTravel, Holidays and Hotels by Mrs C - October 23, 2013October 23, 2013 As you’ve probably gathered, we’ve done a fair bit of trans-Atlantic travel over the last few years.We’ve tried all sorts and opted for budget – with rubbish flight times and long transfers through obscure airports; the ‘local’ options, taking a holiday flight from our local airport – fantastic for convenience, but often not as comfortable; and then the direct and premium options offered by the major British airlines such as the direct Gatwick – Tampa BA flight, the direct Virgin flights from Gatwick to Orlando and of course Las Vegas.What sways our decisions? Well a few things: Price – obviously. If we can get a good flight at a good deal then we’ll go for it. Convenience – As mentioned above, not having to travel far to get a flight – or better still to get home after the flight – is often a great influence. Reliability – We’ve been careful to avoid flights with short transfers to connecting flights. So many bad experiences in the past! Comfort and ‘Special Treatment’. This is where the major airlines excel.On our last few trips we’ve made the airport experience part of the holiday and have used both the Clubhouse and the Vroom, both offered by Virgin and the Terraces Lounge by British Airways.The Vroom is for use by Virgin-Holidays customers and is either included with their ‘Platinum’ Hotels customers or available for a moderate cost. It offers comfy seats, good quality food and drink, a great view of the airport with all the planes arriving and leaving to and from their mysterious destinations. Most importantly though, it gives you a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the departure lounge.The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse was a different world altogether, with luxurious surroundings, complimentary food and drink and even a spa to relax you before a long flight. It’s a haven of peace and quiet and one of the best experiences we’ve ever had pre-flight!On our last flight to Las Vegas we were lucky enough to be victims of an over-booked flight and were upgraded to their ‘Premium Economy’ cabin. What a bonus! The sceptics out there would say that it’s just a few extra inches here and there to make the seat more comfortable. Oh no it isn’t. From the moment you board, it’s obvious that there’s so much more space, more options regarding food, better entertainment options and a MUCH more comfortable seat. It makes the flight seem to pass in half the time! It has seriously made us consider whether it would be worth sacrificing something else to ensure we used Premium economy again on future trips.If you have a few extra pounds to spend on your next holiday or trip over the pond, forget the duty-free whisky. Use your money on a Virgin Lounge at Gatwick and you won’t regret it. It makes the whole experience of trans-Atlantic air travel that extra little bit special.