Bed? Check. Booze? Definitely. Private Wing? Yep, that too. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from London Heathrow is far and away the best way to experience Virgin's business class product otherwise known as "Upper Class". And yes, it definitely feels nice to check into something marked "Upper Class Only", whether you are or not. As someone without an "upper class" salary it was great fun to spend 50,000 Flying Club miles per person for the pleasure. We've reviewed the Upper Class experience before and I was markedly curious to see how memory served....
No Upper Class trip from Heathrow is complete without a visit to the Upper Class Wing, a private terminal which is more like showing up at a swanky hotel than an airport. Words can't describe how hard it is to pull the sh*t eating grin off your face as a kind Virgin Atlantic ground manager brings your boarding pass to your car and arranges a porter for your luggage. It's flat out badass. Since I've already reviewed The Wing in depth for this trip, we'll keep it short here...
Not the worst place to wait in private while they check out your passport details! I love model planes!
When in Rome, I mean London, you experience The Clubhouse, Virgin Atlantic's flagship lounge complete with everything from a jacuzzi to a movie theatre and featuring every cocktail, champagne or meal ever created. It's a blissful alcoholic coma of a place. Unlike many lounges which require no more than a quick snap and blurb this one is immense. Since, I again separately reviewed The Clubhouse (click for full review), we'll keep it short and get to the actual flight...
Ok ok, just a couple photos. Here's the Grey Goose Loft Bar, where no one ever seems to be sitting. More drinks and food for me!
The drink menu is immense and features some staples like the "Virgin Redhead" as well as rotating favorites from the club's own bartenders. Nice touch guys.
The A340-600 features three seats across the cabin with most seats facing the aisle looking directly at someone. Using SeatGuru we decided that we would take seats 9A, 10A which are some of the few seats in Upper Class allowing us not to look at anyone as witnessed in the photo above. Privacy is huge.
Laura is most likely texting me to stop taking f**king pictures.
Directly below the ottoman for your feet during upright and bed position you'll find a nice cubby space for whatever you've brought on board. It's also a great place to store the pajamas you're given until it's time to wind down. I personally stored my laptop, headphones and a few other randoms to keep my bed nice and tidy.
Who let them in?
Perhaps the most unique feature of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is the ability to use the ottoman as a seat, making a seat for one into dinner for two. I never get over what a unique experience this is. More on that later. Garçon, more wine!
Of course what we really care about; the reason we spend extra miles or cash, is for the bed. As you can see from this picture It's actually quite wide and very comfortable. I'm 6'3'' and never have a problem fully stretching out. If you haven't experienced it yourself, the crew essentially comes over and flips your seat over turning over to an actual mattress for a flatter more "bed like" surface. As you can see from Laura in this coma esque' photo, it usually does the trick...
When I started this blog I swore never to complain about anything when flying up front. The closest I'll come to breaking that promise is that after eating my way through all the curry, salmon, cocktails and rum baba in the lounge I was absolutely stuffed for this nice in flight menu! I could barely fit anything else in!
Upper Class always offers a great menu with something for everyone. Virtually every flight I've been on offers steak, a chicken, a pasta and or an exotic option. I opted for the Thai veggie curry in hopes that it would be lighter after aforementioned stuffing of face....
Any curry fan knows that plating is an added bonus and not necessarily a sign of quality. I found this fresh tasting green curry to be as good as many served on the ground with very fresh lemongrass (a personal favorite) flavors coming through. Excellent option when the idea of facing red meat and potatoes might actually make you burst!
On the 10'50'' flight to Johannesburg a cup of coffee, eggs and bacon was a very welcome sight and was very tasty. The crew did a good job of gauging peoples waking eyes and getting things started for service not long after perking up.
That's one big sausage!
Before settling in to a nights sleep a cocktail never hurts! On this day, I opted to stick with the wine found below because I truly loved it...
It often feels difficult to get a great wine that tastes its class in the air. The 2012 Chianti was exceptional to me with rich tasting notes, just as described. Well done. Of course after five glasses and a few cocktails who am I to judge?!
In the air I just can't help myself. Though I should've already been sleeping for an hour I decided to hit the bar for just "one more" glass of wine and to take in the full Upper Class experience. It's always interesting and actually a great space to focus as hardly anyone ever ventures to the bar, sometimes including the crew ; )
As I mentioned leaving London is just the best way to experience Upper Class and its unique flagship products. As a non "VIP" it's so cool to be made to feel special from the minute you arrive at the airport to the time you hop off the plane. These reviews are about a week delayed and as an avid reader you may know that I flew Premium Economy back to London just days after this flight. We had a great crew on this flight yet in hindsight I am glad that I delayed writing this review because the crew in Premium Economy on the flight back offered even superior service to that of this in Upper Class. Just goes to show what a difference a crew can make. I love it all.
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