Paid for exit row on Virgin

At Miami Airport I checked in for Virgin Atlantic flight No. 6 to London Heathrow and, putting on my nicest smile, asked if I could possibly have an exit row seat. . . for the stretch-out room. Imagine my surprise when I was told I could “upgrade” to an exit-row seat for the sum of $70. I did pay to get one of the 12 seats available on a 747, but there were some negatives.

Everything had to be stowed in the overhead for takeoffs and landings. The row was either parallel to the bathrooms (where everyone queued) or parallel to the galley with all of its activity. The seats were narrower than those in normal economy because the fixed armrests also had to hold the tray table and the electronics.

This “upgrade” was also available on the return flight 13 days later on Sept. 24, ’04, but at a charge of £50 (which made it almost $100 at the current rate of exchange).

We were provided with excellent service on both flights, a choice of three entrées on both flights, frequent offers of water and, on the return, an ice cream-bar break. The Continental breakfast before arrival in London and the snack before arrival in the U.S. were rather sparse and lacking.

Hollywood, FL