I am so excited to tell you about the most incredible travel experiences I’ve had this year, including my first Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Flights from LAX to LHR and LHR to JFK (return). I’ve been waiting to share my Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Review with you, as I know lots of you will love to see what travelling this way is really like…
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Review
At 35 years old, I still hadn’t flown “first” or “upper class”. It always felt like a luxury afforded to others, yet something I dreamed of since a child. Before my first Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flight, I hadn’t flown long-haul in over 12 years – as we’d spent most of the decade travelling to and from Europe.
So when I had the opportunity to fly to LA on a game-changing business retreat, I was a little anxious to be embarking on a 12-hour flight. I was flying as CEO of my own small business and couldn’t quite stretch to the price of an Upper Class ticket. Which was fine, as there were 4 other women travelling alongside me and the buzz and excitement made the flight fly…
…my time in LA was spent getting to know a bunch of very wealthy business owners, some of whom happened to be boarding the same flight home to the UK. So when they turned left on the plane and I turned right, I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of envy. I vowed then, that next time, I’d be joining them!
My First Upper Class Flight Experience
Fast forward 8 months and I was on my way to LA once again, with Virgin Atlantic, again in economy. I was with my pal and success sister, Rach and again, we whiled away the time drinking Prosecco, setting our intentions for our trip and writing email marketing funnels (lol, that’s my idea of heaven!).
But our return flight was different…
…we had decided to bid on first class upgrade home from LA. Leaving fate to decide. And when we both got the offer to upgrade, the day before our flight home, we looked at each other and vowed to make the cost of our flight back by the time we left. And guess what? We did!
I’m not gonna lie, it felt like a real “success moment” when I boarded that Virgin Atlantic flight from LA and turned left, instead of right, as we boarded the plane! I always dreamed that I’d one day be able to travel this way AND I funded it myself! Proper GirlBoss territory.
I tried to play it cool, but we were like two giddy kids, as we settled-down into our luxurious reclining leather seats and upper class pod, as we were welcomed with Champagne.
I have to mention the Virgin Atlantic staff here – as they were truly incredible! They were welcoming, friendly, attentive and kind. I whispered that it was my first Upper Class experience, as I asked how to navigate my luxurious travel space and the flight attendant was so lovely and gave me the full-on tour. Instantly, I did not feel out of place!
I’ll go into more detail on what the experience entailed further below, but needless to say, the 10 hour flight home, was dreamy! We were comfortable, relaxed and I even managed to sleep (which I never do on planes!).
My next Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Flight Experience
So, having had my first taste of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, I was left wanting more and in honesty, doubting how I could ever travel any other way. Ha! (Fear not, it was a matter of weeks before I was back in good ol’ economy!).
So when my wonderful hubby surprised me with a 10-year Wedding Anniversary trip to New York, the place where we got engaged… and then surprised me further by telling me we’d be travelling first class… I beamed!
Not only would I get to travel in style again, but I’d get to enjoy it with him… and no kids!
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Heathrow
I’m not gonna lie, I think I was more excited about flying Virgin Upper Class again, than I was for the 8 days in New York. We drove down to London from Manchester and arrived at the private Upper Class Wing of Heathrow Terminal 3, well ahead of our scheduled departure time.
I couldn’t believe it as we pulled-up to the famous Virgin Atlantic red carpet, where we were greeted and our bags taken into the private departure lounge. It was here that I began to realise that Upper Class travel is not a stressful experience. We were quickly checked-in, whisked through a private security gate and within 15 minutes, were welcomed into the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. I couldn’t believe it! No queueing, no stress, no boredom!
And within minutes of choosing our table, we were greeted with a smile and served (our first of many) glasses of champagne.
There are QR codes on each table in the Clubhouse, where you can order freshly prepared food and drinks on demand. There are also Clubhouse staff walking around checking if you need a top-up (so attentive!) and options for you to jump-up and order yourself at the bar of salad buffet.
As I explored the lounge, champagne in hand, I realised how large it was! Lots of nooks and spaces to feel like you have your own space, views of the runways, meditative pods and even a Peloton lounge! (I was on a mission to enjoy the food and drink, not exercise, but I can see the appeal for frequent flyers!).
What we enjoyed in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Heathrow…
★ Chicken burger, Cauliflower wings and Baos to start
★ Afternoon Tea hamper
★ Margarita cocktail before boarding
** note: we arrived early! So were in the lounge for nearly 5 hours – quite a lot of time to pack in plenty of food and drink
The it was time to board our Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Flight to New York
Not only do you get priority boarding, when you turn left into the Upper Class area of the plane, you’re greeted with a choice of Champagne, Prosecco, English Sparkling Wine or the Virgin Atlantic signature Champagne Cocktail (don’t mind if I do!).
Our flight out to JFK from Heathrow was aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – which was lovely, comfortable and offers seats that can be made into a fully flat bed.
However, the flight I’d been on from LAX and the return flight from JFK, was aboard an Airbus 350-1000 – and this is my personal fave model, as it offers more space and even more luxury with a wider pod, fully reclining leather seat (where you don’t need assistance making it into a bed), larger TV screen and two tables. There’s plenty of space to spread out and as we sat in the middle aisle, travelling as a couple is great, as you’re next to each other with a screen dividing you which can be pulled back if you fancy a chat.
What we ate on our Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Flight…
As a foodie, this was the highlight of my travel experience! No peel-back-foil trays here! Instead, you’re served your 3 or 4 course meal on china plates, with metal cutlery, glassware and even gold aeroplane salt ‘n’ pepper shakers.
The menu includes Starter, Main, Dessert and an optional Cheese Board with a lovely selection of wines, cocktails, soft drinks and teas.
And depending on the time and duration of your flight, you’ll get a second meal – either breakfast, hot snack or light bite.
I’ll let the video do the talking here, but I can say, the food was exquisite! It’s hard to believe that you can eat that well 35,000 feat up in the air!
I’m currently biased, as I’ve only travelled in this way with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, but I can whole-heartedly recommend booking and enjoying a travel experience with them in this way. It not only makes travelling far less stressful and far more enjoyable, it adds another element to your holiday to enjoy and make memories.
Will I be travelling like this every time I fly? Not just yet, I’ve got a bit more work to do. But will I be manifesting a day when I can? Absolutely!
A few final Upper Class Travel Tips from me…
- Don’t dismiss the idea as too expensive. You can get first-class ticket deals and upgrades for less than you may think. Why not bid for an upgrade and see if it’s meant to be! (That’s how I got my first upper class ticket for a fraction of the usual cost).
- Want to dip your toe in the luxury travel lake? Start with booking Premium and work your way up from there.
- Make sure you allow enough time to enjoy the Clubhouse, but pace yourselves! As you’ll want to maximise the food and drink available on board too.
I’d love to know if this Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Review was helpful? And if you’ve had any first class experiences like this too?