Flying in the 21st century isn’t a whole lot of fun, let’s be honest. There are long lines, full planes, myriad number of fees and general discomfort. There are a few airlines though that still manage to capture the spirit of fun and adventure that plane travel used to be about and I recently discovered one of the best, Virgin Atlantic.
Building a new airline from scratch is hard work and almost all fail, which is why Richard Branson wasn’t expected to be the wild success with Virgin as he has been. Even though I live in one of Virgin Atlantic’s cities of interest, Washington, I never had the pleasure of flying with them until a recent trip to London. Not only did I get to fly with this infinitely cool airline, but I also snagged an upgrade to Upper Class, a true traveling pleasure.
The experience began well before the flight when I camped out in the Upper Class lounge, a perk given to certain frequent flyers and Upper Class passengers. Most airline lounges are pretty similar, but Virgin has dramatically increased the cool factor. The interior design is mod funky, sort of like what Austin Powers would design if he had an airline. Better yet, the food choices weren’t the usual bland buffet but instead consisted of a creative and delicious menu from which passengers may order. Before I knew it, the lounge was hopping with happy customers toasting their champagne glasses and actually excited to board the flight.
Just as lounges aren’t all made the same, nor are business class sections. Once again though Virgin has well surpassed expectations with a lively and comfortable Upper Class section. The seats are all lie-flat, the ultimate in luxury flying and considered by most travelers to be the flying holy grail. The seats actually fold over themselves to create a bed and flight attendants pass out pajamas and full duvets to aid in the sleeping comfort. If you’re not interested in sleeping, there’s a bar area which makes a great place to chit chat and the food on board is British cool, with delicious twists on classic meals.
The flight to London from Washington isn’t long, but it was long enough to feel rested and well taken care of by the flight crew. I can say that in all honesty flying Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic was one of my favorite flying experiences and I can’t wait to fly the shagadelic skies again.
8 thoughts on “Upper Class Comfort on Virgin Atlantic”
Oh wow, my ex-boss used to do the Upper Class trip with his wife to London at least once a year and he always told stories, but I never saw photos! Something I would definitely LOVE to experience some day!
I flew Virgin Atlantic from Dulles to Heathrow a long time ago. (1997, if I remember correctly.) Although I was in steerage class near the back of the plane, there are a few things I remember fondly. First, the flight’s purser refused to allow fast food on the plane. As a result, the flight smelled nicer than many. Also, they played music while we boarded. It was a soothing new-age mix that made me feel less like a head of cattle than most flights do. Finally, as breakfast came around, nearly everyone around me ordered Bloody Mary with what appeared to be a splash of Worcestershire sauce. I went my own way though and ordered orange juice, neat.
Pretty sure being Star Alliance gold doesn’t allow you entrance to a Virgin Clubhouse, primarily as they’ve nothing to do with the *A other than being partner to a few *A airlines.
Simon is correct, above.
*A gold itself is meaningless for CH access.
SQ PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Gold members can access the Clubhouse when travelling with VS that day.
BD Gold card holders could also access the CH when travelling on VS that day.
HOWEVER – that’s not the same as the slain that it’s because you are a “Gold member within the Star Alliance of airlines”. It’s nothing to do with star alliance, it’s to do with the private agreements BMI and Singapore hold with them. And the biggest “however” would be that the BMI benefit will be axed as their agreement with VS comes to an end as part of the BA purchase.
So in literal terms, the statement is wrong. In practice, depending on WHICH specific *A card you held, you *might* have been allowed in on that basis.
Duly noted and corrected. Thanks!
Well la-dee-da, this DOES look rather ritzy! I’ve always wanted to fly in 1st or Business class and aim to do so before my 30th birthday. Exactly 4 years in which to achieve it! Also, loving that the flight attendants give you pyjamas! So cute. Shame there’s no photo of you modelling them, Matt!
Oh come on tom, no one wants to see that :)
Yep, I’m with Tom–let’s see the PJs!
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