Written by Amanda Ranu. Published on .
Let’s take a moment to talk about the little things… and by this I mean a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class review.
Most airlines today are striving to do just enough to get them a return on investment, making most business class cabins almost identical. This is where the “little things” I mentioned come in… and where Virgin Atlantic provide a difference. Maybe that’s the reason they call it Upper Class instead!
Recently I had the pleasure of flying on flight VS5, Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 777 service to Miami, and I made the absolute most of the experience so that you too can see what the difference is. To do this I’ll break the review into three parts focusing on pre-flight, in-flight, and post flight.
Before heading away on holiday, I am always a little wired; a little too excited. This morning was no exception, so with very little sleep before my first solo trip, I was extra pleased with myself for booking the complimentary chauffeur drive to the airport. Precisely on schedule, the phone rang to let me know the driver was out front, and my holiday began with some of those little things… bottles of still and sparkling water and pre-heated leather seats showing thoughtful attention to detail!
The chauffeur drops Upper Class passengers off at T3 by way of a private drive with a discreet check-in desk. This then allowed me to breeze through the fast-track private security channel and straight into the departures side of the airport.
I had pre-booked the chauffeur to arrive a little early as I wanted to take my time and make use of the facilities in The Clubhouse, Virgin Atlantic’s lounge, before take-off, and I wasn’t disappointed! With so many amenities on offer, The Clubhouse caters to all; areas for entertainment with a snooker table and cinema, relaxation lounge for those looking for quiet, an array of food cooked to perfection, and mixologists on standby to pour your desired beverage.
The thought of the eight hour flight to Miami on my own all but disappeared as I had one final indulgence before boarding. The Clubhouse Spa! With a range of hair treatments, facials, and massages on offer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sink into bliss as my neck and shoulders began to forget about the rigours of work and I truly felt in the holiday spirit. Those little things I keep mentioning… well a range of the treatments are complimentary! Make sure to book these as you enter the lounge though as spots disappear quickly.
Flight called, I make the walk to the gate and join the priority boarding queue for Premium Economy and Upper Class passengers, before entering the new Dreamliner and finding my seat. Known as the herringbone design, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class is only 3 seats across meaning every seat has direct aisle access without having to step over other passengers legs.
The seats themselves are very comfortable with 33 inches of width and convert into a fully lie-flat bed. While upright, the footrest can also be used as a second seat so those travelling together can still converse. Being on my own, I was far too busy playing with the entertainment system to see what I could do to pass the time on the journey… even when the cabin staff came by a second time to top my glass of champagne up.
Cruising at 40,000 feet, meal orders were taken from a large selection including fish, meat, and vegetarian. My choice? The Parma ham and asparagus starter followed by the beef fillet steak paired with a beautiful wine selected by Berry Bros. and Rudd. Now I’m not saying it was the best meal I’ve ever had, but the choice and quality is fantastic, and what with the constraints of cooking in a very small space, the fact my steak was cooked to perfection, and the level of service, I could have been in any good restaurant back on terraferma.
With the meal cleared it was time to start the obligatory social media posts to make all my friends and family jealous! With the on-board Wi-Fi giving me instant gratification of what all my friends thought, the cabin crew enquired as to if I would like my bed made up… a turndown service at altitude if you will.
I must say, the bed is fantastic; comfortable and spacious, and private enough to provide a decent sleep. If I had to find even a single fault, it would be that it required me to stand up while the bed was converted, but this just allowed me to walk down to the futuristic bar area that Upper Class passengers can mingle in. In the grand scheme of things, not a bad trade-off!
With the legs stretched and the bed made, I settled in for a quick rest on one of the largest beds in the sky, and woke with time for afternoon tea and a proper cup of Earl Grey before touching down in Miami.
Given priority to exit the aircraft would probably be a fantastic thing in certain destinations, but unfortunately The USA’s queues to pass Customs and Immigration negate a lot of the benefit. By the time I had shuffled through collecting my luggage and clearing passport control, the sight of my chauffeur driver holding a sign with my name on it was a welcome relief.
Personally, I can’t wait for my return flight so that I can also use the facilities in the Revivals Lounge at Heathrow when I land!
So after all this, I can emphatically say that Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is definitely worth it! I can confidently say that it is the “little things”; the complimentary chauffeur service with its attention to detail; the priority check-in and private security channel; the complimentary spa treatments in The Clubhouse; the quality and choice of the in-flight menu; and above all, the fun, friendly, and personable staff throughout the entire experience. This is what makes Virgin Atlantic truly have an Upper Class rather than just a business class.
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