Virgin Atlantic 'Upper Class' Business Class Experience During Covid-19
During covid-19, fly with one airline and you'd best pack your own lunch, even in first class.
Fly with another, and you might not know covid-19 had changed the world, minus the mask you wore on board, with the same great service as always.
I wanted to find out which one Virgin Atlantic would be...
With 14 day quarantine in the UK rather than testing based solutions, very few people are traveling.
For now, this means alongside many other displaced airlines, you'll find Virgin's London operation at Heathrow T2, immediately upon entry. You'd struggle to miss the desk.
Check in was cordial and directions were offered to the Plaza Premium Lounge.
The Plaza Premium T2 space is surprisingly nice. Not Virgin Clubhouse nice, but still nice, and the food wasn't half bad.
To make up for it, Virgin Atlantic customers get access to a better selection of booze than other guests, including champagne.
There's also a hot food station where a team takes your order and serves you, to minimize risk.
On board, mask protocol is excellent. Customers receive the same sustainable Upper Class amenity kits, but also a care kit with 3 masks, wipes and sanitizer.
Pillow, blankets and all the perks of flying business class are still there in full, unlike other experiences. With fewer people flying, you can even steal a few extra pillows.
Same cabin, same uniforms, just some extra masks.
Would we get a "meal box" with inedible treats better fit for feline friends? No.
Wine was served in the usual crystal glasses, tray tables were dressed with the same table setting and beloved 'Wilbur & Orville' salt and pepper shakers live on.
everything but the main course was plated on actual dishes, with real cutlery.
Traveling with an infant is never easy, and the crews made every effort to help. I liked Virgin crews before, but these were really happy to be back.
One of the crew members, Yuki, made an origami swan for our 8 month old daughter, Olive.
*which she then crushed.
Sadly, the trip highlighted just how impacted airlines are. These typically oversold flights only had between 5-8 people in Upper Class, in each direction.
Would I do it again? For sure.
With fewer people (sadly) flying, the extra space gave me peace of mind when traveling to catch up with family, and being able to enjoy the finer points like multi course meals and business class level wines made it feel all that much more "normal".
I missed the Clubhouse, but that's about it.