Flight Review: VS651, Upper Class on Tuesday, February 23, 2016
I’ve heard amazing things about Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, and I was so excited that I finally got the chance to try it. The rumors are true, the experience was incredible and I’m not sure I can go back to business class on the other European and American carriers without a feeling of wistfulness.
Virgin takes the idea of a pre-flight lounge to a new level in Heathrow’s Terminal 3. As soon as I entered, someone took all of my hand baggage and handed me a token. They also told me there is a planned announcement for my flight and they will help make sure we get to the flight on time. The lounge was large and beautiful. The main focal point was an expansive bar with a specialty cocktail menu. The cocktails weren’t just your typical Cosmo or old fashioned, but interesting and exotic concoctions with specialty ingredients.
The bathroom was clean and there were showers, but I didn’t have time to take one as my transit time was really short. There was also a full service restaurant and seating area, but there wasn’t enough time to eat either. I had one drink and then I collected my carry-on bags and went to the gate.
The Cabin and Seat
My first reaction when I boarded the plane was that the Upper Class cabin felt crowded. The seats were four across with every seat having aisle access in reverse herringbone fashion, but they seemed narrow and there were no stowage areas for knick knacks or shoes. I settled into seat 2A. One nice thing about the seats are that you can immediately recline and get comfy – there is no requirement to be in a certain position (only lay flat is not allowed) during take off or landing. Virgin furnishes pajamas, and provides duvets and turn down service for long haul flights.
They had a bar at the back of the Upper Crust Cabin, with chips, drinks, and a few other snacks.
Getting the food took a while. I went through one and a half movies before I saw anything. I like that they serve potato crisps instead of warm nuts. I hate cashews and those seem to be the focus of most “nut bowls” so salt and vinegar chips were perfect and just salty enough to match the gin, cranberry, ginger and lime cocktail they offer. My menu pictures came out a little blurry (sorry!).
I started with the tomato basil soup, and continued onto have the chicken thai curry with rice. I finished with the sticky toffee pudding. All were delicious and actually made me forget that I was enjoying a meal in the skies. My only complaint was that it took a very long time to receive the food – so I could only count on about 2 to 3 hours of sleep during a 6 hour flight from London to Lagos.
They had full service breakfast too – with eggs made to order but I decided to pass and slept instead.
The selection of programing was pretty similar to many other airlines – a good selection of recent movies, and a number of television programs and boxed sets. The screen was good sized and reached out in front of me so I could easily view. It was tough to lay down and watch, but in a reclining position it was fine.
I loved it. I would fly again in a heart beat. My major irk with the cabin was the lack of storage and personal space, but the service and experience made up for it. The cabin also was a little noisy, I could hear other snoring in the cabin when I was laying down which was somewhat distracting.
Looking forward to the next trip on Virgin Atlantic Upper Crust… some day!
Have Kids, Will Work