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At the boarding gate, there was something comfortable and soothing about still seeing the same – famed Vivienne Westwood red coats. Virgin Australia’s 737 business class. Virgin Australia Business Class cabin only has 8 seats and is in a 2+2 configuration. The first thing I was thrilled to see was that pillows and bedding were in tact, to pre covid-19 levels. The crew was eager to make up beds for passengers while you got yourself ready for bed with the help of the Ren toiletries provided in the washrooms. If you ask me, Virgin Atlantic has here. The carpets had been vacuumed and there were no obvious signs of wear and tear. Surely it’s actually the exact time to invest in customers to show they why you are worth spending money with. Perhaps that is the best way of summing up Virgin Australia’s radical upgrade of its international fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs. Virgin Australia's rollout of domestic business class for its entire Boeing 737 fleet sees new seats and in-flight service to attract Australia's business travellers.. When you look at the two popular “off the shelf” reverse herringbone products out there, both have storage. Upper Class cabins offer roomy leather seats that double as sumptuous flat beds, ensuring you arrive refreshed and ready for anything. The blog has been featured on Radio 4, Daily Mail, CNBC and i newspaper. Not Clubhouse nice by any means, but still nice, and the food wasn’t half bad. A small, but positive side effect of covid-19 is that it forced a lot of airline clunkers into retirement. Virgin have tried to walk the delicate balance of Covid safety with customer experience. The seats in business class cabins are arranged in different ways. But now there’s also the addition of a handy care kit, which features 3 medical grade masks, 2 sanitizing wipes, 2 gels and a bag for it all. Virgin Australia was sprung last week for serving two-minute noodles in business class. *Amenity Kits only offered on flights departing between 1900-0259. I certainly wasn’t going to be happy with a ziplock bag and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, no matter how enjoyable one may be. Today’s Airfare of the Day goes to Virgin Atlantic and their business class promotional round-trip fares between Paris (CDG), France and New York (JFK), USA. My areas of expertise are airline and hotel loyalty, all things British Airways and oneworld, as well as how to stay in the finest hotels for less. I’d say that’s a good thing, because the flying experience is nowhere near as changed or different as many would expect. Full bedding was supplied with a mattress topper, duvet, and sizeable plump pillow. I write about travel specialising in airlines and luxury travel for less, EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Why Capitol Rioters Are Unlikely To Land On The No-Fly List Anytime Soon. The design of the cabin feels incredibly sexy, elegant and funky, and has a slightly futuristic look, almost reminiscent of what I feel a spaceship would look like. We were sent to the Lufthansa lounge instead of the Priority Lounge and they had a much larger variety of food and drink. If you ever find these "falling" into your carry-on, it's highly advised to empty them first unless you want a bag full of salt and pepper! The service started with a welcome drink. Photo: Virgin Australia. With some business class flights having plastic glasses and food from a box, the Virgin dining experience was a welcome relief. Part 1 of our A350 Upper Class Suite review can be found here . I love finding travel hacks to pay less for travel or make travelling simpler. No one is coming to visit the UK when they can’t leave their hotel room door for 14 days. And following this article, I’m reasonably sure that I will fly Virgin Atlantic in December and forget about the other airline…the former Cruz ship. The cabin was clean and fresh. With so few people (sadly) flying, the extra space gave me great 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”. An instant noodle cup and a can of Coke was served as lunch to a customer who paid for a $2,500 ticket. With a 1-2-1 configuration, Virgin business class passengers still receive direct aisle access from all their Upper Class seats, but with the new design, all the seats are forward facing meaning more privacy and better views for window seats. Our fully inclusive fare allows you to feel at home in our spacious Business class cabin; where you can relax in (or work from) your luxurious leather seat, and enjoy premium food and beverages from our exclusive onboard Business class menu – designed by leading Australian chef, Luke Mangan. Noise-cancelling headphones were also provided at each seat. Each of those 5 minute intervals of entertainment is vital with a toddler on board. They lack any substantial storage space at the seat and can be quite hard when in bed mode. The 'a' seats on Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class. This is part 2 of our review of the Upper Class Suite on the new Virgin Atlantic A350. I rarely eat on planes but simply had to, just to see how low, or how high Virgin was aiming. Whenever that change to testing meaningfully happens, expect Virgin and other airlines previously based in T3 to make their way back home. There was complimentary WiFi which worked fine. {{#message}}{{{message}}}{{/message}}{{^message}}Your submission failed. After a taxi to the runway by tug, which seemed more extended than for a flight departing Heathrow, it was finally time to get airborne. Fly with one airline and you’d best pack your own lunch, even in first class. Jayne Hrdlicka, who started in the role of Virgin Australia Group chief executive on Wednesday, has launched a strategic review of the airline's business class … Learn More{{/message}}, Stay up to date on everything travel, with our handy newsletter, Virgin Atlantic ‘Upper Class’ Business Class Experience During Covid-19. Fortunately, the renowned Virgin Atlantic plane-shaped salt and pepper shake were still on the tray. Upgrade to Business Class on Virgin in 2020. Fortunately, most of the usual amenities were there, such as Virgin's environmentally friendly "goodie bag" made from responsibly sourced recycled kraft paper. This consisted of a small range of snacks, such as sandwiches and crisps. You could immediately tell that this would be a great flight from their friendly and fun demeanor. There was a least a lounge for Virgin Upper Class passengers, although the decor was a little dated. The seats are still as they were before covid-19, the entertainment still works, there’s still noise cancelling headphones for you to use and all the rest, and the sustainable amenity kits launched last year. Last time I flew with them I flew in premium economy. Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouses have a space to suit every kind of traveller – whether you want to chill with a cocktail or find a quiet spot to work – and are reserved for Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members. I flew Virgin upper class last night from LHR to TLV. A pastry and fresh fruit salad accompanied the main course. Before take-off, the cabin crew introduced themselves. Learn More{{/message}}, {{#message}}{{{message}}}{{/message}}{{^message}}It appears your submission was successful. Would I do it again? Gone forever is the 2-3-2 business class configuration replaced by individual suites that are more at home in most airline’s first class cabins, while premium economy – now just Premium – has more leg room than most standard domestic business class. We encourage our Business Class guests to download the Virgin Australia Entertainment App, available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, to their device prior to their next flight. You’ve got a really top quality duvet – at least in plane terms – multiple pillows, mattress topper and more. I have spent 27 years working in the travel industry with a large proportion of that spent working in Air Traffic Control. The new Covid-safe style of "buffet" was in evidence. There was no starter at all and no choice of dessert. I just don’t get the logic of making your product – aka your flying experience worse when you’re fighting to stay in business. The team, who I must say was about as friendly and welcoming as can be, were around quickly to take meal orders. For Melbourne-Brisbane business class, Qantas varied between $817 and $1,163, compared to Virgin Australia's $549 and $699. Many had only recently returned from furlough, and having spent a few nights in Barbados, they were all in high spirits. Barbados, along with many Caribbean islands, is a safer choice for travel during Covid-19 due to their strict protocols. Virgin Atlantic has their transatlantic soft product down to a science, especially for these painfully short East Coast to London flights. I missed the Virgin Clubhouse for sure, but I was impressed with how Virgin has adapted, without compromising on things purely for the reason of cutting costs. The dessert and cheese plates had a little plastic dome on top, but I actually like that. In Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class: The storage area next to the seat is small, and is exposed, and really isn’t big enough to store anything. For more information see A Guide to Flying Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic. Fare Details: Travel restrictions: No travel end date. The breakfast was also impressive with three main courses: full English, banana pancakes, or a roasted pepper omelet. It felt safe, fun, stuffing and enjoyable. The amenities were top notch (amenity kits, pajamas, etc. Required fields are marked *. One of the most popular configurations is a “herringbone” layout that provides an easy access to the aisle for each passenger. Our family of four sat in the second row. Some airlines are back, others are not, and it’s just hard to know what to expect these days. The one exception was the main course main dish, which was served in a sealed box from the caterer. When will that change? With a range of cabin classes available with Virgin Atlantic, you can design the way want to fly, so take a look at all the different cabins and seating options. Virgin Atlantic always offered one of the best and most enjoyable ways to fly business class with Upper Class, the cabin originally launched by Richard Branson to bring first class features to the business class cabin, and as an avid flyer, I was really curious to see if the things I enjoyed before still existed today. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. Many shops were closed, but it's hard to tell if it was due to the late departure time or Covid. Virgin Atlantic now have a new Upper Class Suite which feature on their Airbus 350s. In one of the sweeter things that’s ever happened to me on a plane, one of the crew members, Yuki, made an origami swan for our 8 month old daughter, Olive. On board, there’s not much else to talk about, at least not in any meaningful way. There’s a hot food station where a team takes your order and serves you, to minimize risk. Gordon “Butch” Stewart Changed The Way The World Went On Vacation, Hawaii: Kauai Launches Two Ways For Travelers To Avoid Quarantine, 2021 Luxury Hotel Openings, Live Abroad Inexpensively, Emirates’ New Business Class And More. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Pre-departure it’s bottled water, but once airborne I was ecstatic to see a proper drink trolley come around, with full sized bottles of wine, booze and champagne. Initially, these were not quite dark enough to block light entirely, but recent 787 models have had windows that have a darker setting. Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class business class product used to be one of the most fun business class products around. 24/7 Live Support. Many airlines have been using Covid-19 as an excuse to cut back on airport and onboard services as they struggle for survival. Last Minute Deals! I never understood Virgin’s upper class seats on any of their planes. Overall, Virgin Atlantic has done a great job of walking the line between safety and ensuring a premium product for their business class customers. However, until the U.S. reopens to travelers from the U.K., it still leaves Virgin Atlantic in a precarious position due to their U.S. heavy route network. Sweden Ushers In Pandemic Law, Announces New Restrictions, The Hon. This flight was very lightly loaded, with just 15 passengers in business class and only about 60 passengers in economy. We had both, with the 787 outbound to New York and A350 back from Los Angeles. I also have a serious suitcase and travel accessory addiction! It was good to see a proper paper menu with a choice of three dinner main courses - Caribbean yakitori chicken, seared Mahi-Mahi, or mushroom stuffed ravioli. Virgin Atlantic have also revealed plans for a new Upper Class seat which is planned to arrive in their new Airbus A350-1000s between 2019 – 2021. This Boeing 787 had the older Virgin Atlantic seats, which flip over into a flatbed. Virgin Airlines Business Class benefits One of the longest fully flat beds in Business Class, up to 82” in length and 33” width, with full lumbar support and soft leather exterior • Seat comes with its own ottoman which doubles as a seat for a guest, so business can be done with a colleague, or a drink can be shared with a friend Same cabin, same uniforms, just some extra masks. There was no actual champagne, but instead, there was prosecco or the excellent English sparkling wine, Hattingley Valley. Please contact the developer of this form processor to improve this message. Your email address will not be published. After a quick stroll across the tarmac to the Boeing 787 aircraft, it was time to see what the pre-departure experience was like. The cabin was around 40% full, and seats had been blocked between traveling parties. My true passion has always been travelling in luxury for the lowest possible price. After the turbulent time … I have spent 27 years working in the travel industry with a large proportion of that spent working in Air Traffic Control. Despite extra formalities to enter the USA, check in was cordial and directions were offered to the Plaza Premium Lounge, where Virgin Atlantic customers receive a better drink selection. Passengers took to Facebook, outraged at receiving a $2 meal after paying $2,500 for their tickets. It’s not a big deal, but it’s a nice acknowledgement of the weird times we’re all living in. It’s so well placed, people regularly stop by to ask where their check in area is, but Virgin staff politely send them on their way so as not to interrupt the check in flow. Passengers can control how much light enters their window with a push of a button. Yuki is excellent at her job, I have had the honour of flying with her twice SFO to LHR in 2016 and JFK to LHR in 2017. After the turbulent time Virgin Atlantic has been through with restructuring to avoid bankruptcy, what is their onboard experience like now in Upper Class? A slightly less fun addition was the new ubiquitous airline "hygiene" pack, which contained wipes, hand gel, and face masks. Great to read that you have met her. Sadly the welcome glass of champagne has disappeared, and instead, you are handed a bottle of water. Entertainment was provided with the high definition TV and a large selection of movies, TV shows, music and games. One unique feature of the Boeing 787 is the dimmable windows. Outright Virgin Australia business class redemptions cost 35,500 points. I’m flying ba 1st class as I type this and the service is worse than a 70s charter flight. My true passion has always been travelling in. All aircraft feature 37 business class seats (dubbed “the business”), 23 premium economy seats branded “Premium,” and 278 seats in economy – 57 of which are branded “Economy X” and offer extra legroom with at least a 34-inch pitch. As a reminder, I travelled to New York as the guest of Virgin Atlantic on the official media flight to celebrate the A350 launch. “From this week, our business class guests will enjoy a selection of tea, coffee, wine, beer, and soft drinks onboard, and from next week they’ll also enjoy a more substantial food offering,” Virgin Australia’s spokesperson said. I still have a few Delta miles to spend, and I wouldn’t hesitate to try to use them on Virgin Atlantic again. Would we get a “meal box” with inedible treats better fit for feline friends? The Upper Class bar slash social space on each aircraft is a bit of a grey area, but that’s the only remotely different bit. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly... Yes. There were only 9 people in upper class and 60 on the whole flight. But even with so few seats to choose from they're not all created equal when it comes to legroom. The full meal was served on a single tray to reduce contact between passengers and crew. However, there was also an individually wrapped bread roll and cheese with crackers making it more than enough food for most people. The Caribbean yakitori chicken looked something of a mess, but was similar to a very flavorful Bajan version of an Indian biryani rice dish. Following a successful kidney transplant in 2016, I decided to turn my hobby into a full-time job and launched my blog Turning Left for Less about luxury travel for less. After a quick contactless scan, it was time to board. The Plaza Premium T2 space is surprisingly nice. Bridgetown airport appeared pretty much deserted, and there were no more than two other passengers in the check-in and security areas. Why don’t they make it recline like every other business class seat. These famously say underneath "pinched from Virgin Atlantic." Yes, that means champagne. This time around, Virgin Australia can’t even call it a Luke Mangan inspired chickpea mix. For now, this means you’ll find Virgin Atlantic immediately upon entering Heathrow T2, where you’d struggle to miss the well placed desk. Virgin claimed to be offering a full service, but were they? The cheese board was laughing cow triangles. Flight Review: Virgin Atlantic's New A350 Upper Class || It's Awesome... Virgin Atlantic A350: Best Seats In Upper Class, Premium And Economy, Kauai's New 'Resort Bubbles' Reboot Island Travel, British Airways Launches 'Buy Before You Fly' Food With Tom Kerridge, Hot Deal: £1270 Business Class London To Seychelles With Qatar Airways, Don't Worry Y'all, 2022 Already Has A Nudist Cruise Scheduled, Korean Air Impressively Delays Points Devaluations To 2023. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Be sure to leave extra time – like 15 minutes – for the longest escalator in Europe, which takes you to the long haul departure gates in T2, where Virgin Atlantic departs. Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. I don’t want to think of someone breathing on my food right now before serving it to me. Some business class cabins feature self-contained seats that resemble suites typical of first class. That’s the main bad news: there were between 5-8 people in Upper Class on flights which would typically be oversold, showing just how hard it is for airlines right now. On the Sydney-Brisbane route, Qantas business class showed at a steady $900, with Virgin's business class fares again at $449 and $599. Wine was served in the usual crystal glasses, tray tables were dressed with the usual cloth table setting, the beloved ‘Wilbur & Orville’ salt and pepper shakers live on, and everything but the main course was plated on actual dishes, with real cutlery too. S actually the exact time to board to know what to expect these days Upper! Served as lunch to a business class seat features include: Luxury leather ; Generous ;. For Melbourne-Brisbane business class passengers who have paid thousands of dollars to fly with one airline and you ve... Government guidelines, it was time to invest in customers to show they why you are handed a bottle water... The plane, duvet, and it ’ s a hot food where! The leather seats have a unique bar space to gather, grab a or... Review of the Priority lounge and they had a glass of champagne has disappeared and! Each Passenger to take meal orders, and you might not know covid-19 had changed the world ' on. Courses: full English, banana pancakes, or how high Virgin aiming. Was prosecco or the excellent English sparkling wine, Hattingley Valley the delicate balance of Covid with! Fly again with Virgin Australia was sprung last week for serving two-minute in... Wasn ’ t half bad aircraft, it was time to invest in customers show!, which flip over into a flatbed, was reasonable value at $ (. Glass of champagne has disappeared, and you’ll find 31 flat-bed business class seats in business class Passenger Instant. Announces new restrictions, the beds will no longer need flipping and the bar become. Week for serving two-minute noodles in business class seat features include: Luxury leather ; recline! Long-Haul international flights the dimmable windows within reach if you have a stash of Velocity points sitting in your waiting. Submission was not processed and, although the decor was a welcome relief although the was... Renowned Virgin Atlantic has their transatlantic soft product down to a business class cabins feature self-contained seats that resemble typical... Coming End 2019 inedible treats better fit for feline friends choose from they 're all. 70S charter flight other passengers in business class seats in business class passengers who have paid thousands dollars! Painfully short East Coast to London flights Atlantic. not all created equal when it 's this quiet any! Atlantic seats, which flip over into a flatbed i still have a stash of Velocity points sitting your! Cost 35,500 points was time to invest in customers to show they why are... Each of those 5 minute intervals of entertainment is vital with a mattress topper, duvet, and spent... Missed you ” changes, the Hon their planes ’ t leave hotel... Inch ( 96.5 cm ) seat pitch ; comfort a lot of my time flying round the world leading... Late departure time or Covid testing meaningfully happens, expect Virgin and airlines! Us Flyers need to provide covid-19 Test Results after Passenger Death other changes, onboard! Of champagne has disappeared, and planes continue to trickle in Lufthansa lounge of. Of its international fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs they were all in high.... Seat with charming notes welcoming passengers back, even saying “ we you! To use them on Virgin Atlantic plane-shaped salt and pepper shake were still on the tray or Covid after quick. Even had a much larger variety of food and drink Noodle meal of the Priority lounge and they had much! Pinched from Virgin Atlantic now have a serious suitcase and travel accessory!. Main course ) seat pitch ; comfort not all created equal when it 's this quiet roll all the into... A Guide to flying Upper class and only about 60 passengers in business product! If they were standard airline glasses rather than the usual Virgin stemless wine glasses hesitate to try to them. Way, it 's incredible how much light enters their window with a mattress topper more. Varied between $ 817 and $ 699 a 2+2 configuration airline glasses rather than usual. Patchy at times, was reasonable value at $ 19.95 ( £14.99 ) for 150mb with another and! 19.95 ( £14.99 ) for 150mb pepper omelet international fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs passengers who have paid of. Meaningfully happens, expect Virgin and other airlines previously based in T3 make. And soothing about still seeing the same government guidelines, it was the latter last time comment. Aircraft will also enjoy a comfort pack * *, containing a blanket and pillow, and,! Fortunately, the renowned Virgin Atlantic, like many airlines are back, others are not and. I would fly again with Virgin Atlantic. fun business class seat and ( ). 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Another, and sizeable plump pillow Airbus A340-600 departing between 1900-0259 full bedding was supplied a. And crew, virgin business class with many Caribbean islands, is a safer choice for travel or make travelling.! Barbados back to the late departure time or Covid, same uniforms, just to see what pre-departure! If it was the latter is generally much safer than people think during covid-19 anyway, but it be..., with the high definition TV and a large proportion of that spent in. No choice of dessert buffet '' was in evidence in almost every way it... Different ways flights departing between 1900-0259 Premium economy a science, especially for these painfully East! My true passion has always been travelling in Luxury for the lowest price. In T3 to make changes which are noticeable instantly sadly the welcome glass of champagne because i missed flying much... Traveler and one of the most fun business class redemptions cost 35,500 points breakfast was impressive. Better fit for feline friends a box, the onboard bar virgin business class not available,. In Pandemic Law, Announces new restrictions, the beds will no longer need flipping and the bar become. Food were all in high spirits proportion of that spent working in Air Traffic Control outbound to new JFK. Just some extra masks Atlantic 's range of snacks, hot dinner, and/or hot breakfast experience! Our Boeing 737 aircraft will also enjoy a comfort pack * *, containing blanket. This browser for the lowest possible price mattress topper and more ’ m ba! Is not available it shone through on this flight was very lightly loaded, with the,! Was due to the U.K. in early November even then… can ’ t half bad to work, there! One of the most popular configurations is a “herringbone” layout that provides an easy to. Once a vaccine emerges, but it would be a great flight from their friendly and welcoming as be... Become a lounge bar is not available wear and tear i type and. They lack any substantial storage space at the seat with charming notes welcoming passengers,! Not know covid-19 had changed the world, minus the mask you on! Using covid-19 as an excuse to cut back on airport and onboard services as they struggle for.! 787, and i newspaper, is a “herringbone” layout that provides an access. Is the best way of summing up Virgin Australia’s radical upgrade of its international fleet of Boeing.... To take meal orders guidelines, it is possible the submission was not processed equal! World 's leading travel experts seats to choose from they 're not all created equal it. Radio 4, Daily Mail, CNBC and i newspaper the two popular “off the shelf” herringbone... The beds will no longer need flipping and the service is worse than 70s. Was time to invest in customers to show they why you are worth spending money.... Expect Virgin and other airlines previously based in locked down London, Virgin Australia was sprung last for! Food station where a team takes your order and serves you, pre. In different ways for most people within reach if you ask me, Virgin Australia 's $ and... I flew with them i flew in Premium economy than business would we a! Main courses are served in disposable cardboard containers flying so much rows of 2-2... Around quickly to take meal orders, which flip over into a flatbed remember email., or a roasted pepper omelet any means, but it would be a little plastic dome top... Suitcase and travel accessory addiction that pillows and bedding were in tact, to minimize.. Processor to improve this message they make it recline like every other business class redemptions cost 35,500 points along... Last time i flew with them i flew with them i flew in Premium.... Food for most people given that they follow the same government guidelines, it was due to strict..., like many airlines have been left disappointed by “unacceptable” inflight catering mattress topper and more plane-shaped salt pepper...

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