However, there was also an individually wrapped bread roll and cheese with crackers making it more than enough food for most people. With Virgin Australia emerging from bankruptcy as a leaner operation with an exclusively narrow body fleet of Boeing 737 jets, the era of fully flat beds in domestic Business Class is no longer.. Back in 2012, Virgin Australia upped the ante by launching their ‘Coast to Coast’ service with a few older Airbus A330’s formerly flying for Emirates. The breakfast was also impressive with three main courses: full English, banana pancakes, or a roasted pepper omelet. I love finding travel hacks to pay less for travel or make travelling simpler. To enjoy our Inflight Entertainment on offer, guests should ensure they have updated their device to its latest software with iOS 11 & Android 7 being the minimum versions. You can not relax in the seat. Virgin Business Class Refresh Coming End 2019. After a quick contactless scan, it was time to board. No one is coming to visit the UK when they can’t leave their hotel room door for 14 days. These famously say underneath "pinched from Virgin Atlantic." 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. Yes. On board, there’s not much else to talk about, at least not in any meaningful way. If you ask me, Virgin Atlantic has here. The Plaza Premium T2 space is surprisingly nice. Their recent enhancements, such as non-expiry of frequent flyer miles and tier points on reward bookings, are likely to help win back customers. 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. Photo: Virgin Australia. Same cabin, same uniforms, just some extra masks. There is no fast track at Barbados security, but it would be a little pointless when it's this quiet. The flight in this article was from Barbados back to the U.K. in early November. Please contact the developer of this form processor to improve this message. Some business class cabins feature self-contained seats that resemble suites typical of first class. Great to read that you have met her. Surely it’s actually the exact time to invest in customers to show they why you are worth spending money with. Part 1 of our A350 Upper Class Suite review can be found here . The service started with a welcome drink. There was no starter at all and no choice of dessert. Passengers took to Facebook, outraged at receiving a $2 meal after paying $2,500 for their tickets. 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. There’s a hot food station where a team takes your order and serves you, to minimize risk. There were only 9 people in upper class and 60 on the whole flight. 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. I’m flying ba 1st class as I type this and the service is worse than a 70s charter flight. Barbados, along with many Caribbean islands, is a safer choice for travel during Covid-19 due to their strict protocols. This is part 2 of our review of the Upper Class Suite on the new Virgin Atlantic A350. Upgrade to Business Class on Virgin in 2020. A brand new Upper Class experience on the Virgin Atlantic A350s is providing business class passengers with a spectacular new start and end to their flights. Outright Virgin Australia business class redemptions cost 35,500 points. 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. Your email address will not be published. Business class passengers who have paid thousands of dollars to fly with Virgin Australia have been left disappointed by “unacceptable” inflight catering. The leather seats have a 38-inch pitch and are more like Premium Economy than business. The one exception was the main course main dish, which was served in a sealed box from the caterer. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Final Thoughts. Many had only recently returned from furlough, and having spent a few nights in Barbados, they were all in high spirits. 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. Fly with one airline and you’d best pack your own lunch, even in first class. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. It is hard for airlines in 2020 to have fresh film content as so many releases have been delayed, but Virgin had a great choice. I still have a few Delta miles to spend, and I wouldn’t hesitate to try to use them on Virgin Atlantic again. Is This The Best Private Club In America? Wi-fi was available and, although a little patchy at times, was reasonable value at $19.95 (£14.99) for 150mb. Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class business class product used to be one of the most fun business class products around. I’d say that’s a good thing, because the flying experience is nowhere near as changed or different as many would expect. The amenities were top notch (amenity kits, pajamas, etc. ), and the menu was extensive, with the option to have light snacks, hot dinner, and/or hot breakfast. You could immediately tell that this would be a great flight from their friendly and fun demeanor. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly... © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. Each of those 5 minute intervals of entertainment is vital with a toddler on board. I rarely eat on planes but simply had to, just to see how low, or how high Virgin was aiming. 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. Virgin have tried to walk the delicate balance of Covid safety with customer experience. 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. 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. Would Virgin Atlantic Upper Class just be a bigger seat and a nicer blanket during covid-19, or the same fun and jazzy experience that made travel feel like something special, and something more. 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. Last time I flew with them I flew in premium economy. An instant noodle cup and a can of Coke was served as lunch to a customer who paid for a $2,500 ticket. Private Cabins In Coastal Settings And U.S. National Parks: Safe, Cozy, And Far From Chaos, Food To Look Forward To: My Favorite Restaurants Of 2020, A Cultural Betrayal By Venice’s Mayor Leaves Residents Furious. There was a least a lounge for Virgin Upper Class passengers, although the decor was a little dated. We'll offer you the finest food and drink throughout your journey, so just sit back, relax and let us look after you. Virgin claimed to be offering a full service, but were they? Virgin Australia’s 737 business class. The cabin was around 40% full, and seats had been blocked between traveling parties. Full-size wine bottles were used instead of the plastic mini bottles many airlines are using, and top-ups were plentiful. 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 The first thing I was thrilled to see was that pillows and bedding were in tact, to pre covid-19 levels. This Boeing 787 had the older Virgin Atlantic seats, which flip over into a flatbed. Yes, that means champagne. 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. I don’t want to think of someone breathing on my food right now before serving it to me. Perhaps that is the best way of summing up Virgin Australia’s radical upgrade of its international fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs. 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. Our Upper Class cabins have a unique bar space to gather, grab a drink or dine with friends. There was no actual champagne, but instead, there was prosecco or the excellent English sparkling wine, Hattingley Valley. Business class passengers have sole use of the bathroom at the front of the plane. A slightly less fun addition was the new ubiquitous airline "hygiene" pack, which contained wipes, hand gel, and face masks. As a reminder, I travelled to New York as the guest of Virgin Atlantic on the official media flight to celebrate the A350 launch. Our family of four sat in the second row. Back to the 787, and you’ll find 31 flat-bed business class seats in a 1-1-1 format. Virgin Atlantic Business Class Bottom Line. 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. {{#message}}{{{message}}}{{/message}}{{^message}}Your submission failed. We were sent to the Lufthansa lounge instead of the Priority Lounge and they had a much larger variety of food and drink. Entertainment was provided with the high definition TV and a large selection of movies, TV shows, music and games. I would fly again with Virgin during COVID without any hesitation. Many airlines have been using Covid-19 as an excuse to cut back on airport and onboard services as they struggle for survival. We had both, with the 787 outbound to New York and A350 back from Los Angeles. Many shops were closed, but it's hard to tell if it was due to the late departure time or Covid. Menus were at the seat with charming notes welcoming passengers back, even saying “we missed you”. Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class business class product used to be one of the most fun business class products around. 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. It felt safe, fun, stuffing and enjoyable. The best seats are on the ‘A’ side of the plane, where more privacy is afforded by facing the back of the middle seats. I flew Virgin upper class last night from LHR to TLV. With some business class flights having plastic glasses and food from a box, the Virgin dining experience was a welcome relief. 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. Fortunately, the renowned Virgin Atlantic plane-shaped salt and pepper shake were still on the tray. The cheese board was laughing cow triangles. 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. Please contact the developer of this form processor to improve this message. There was complimentary WiFi which worked fine. 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. After the turbulent time Virgin Atlantic has been through with restructuring to avoid bankruptcy, what is their onboard experience like now in Upper Class? 24/7 Live Support. The new Covid-safe style of "buffet" was in evidence. The dessert and cheese plates had a little plastic dome on top, but I actually like that. Virgin Australia Business Class cabin only has 8 seats and is in a 2+2 configuration. The 737s are outfitted with eight business class recliner seats, in two rows of a 2-2 configuration. Remember to email or message us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your airfare-related questions or discoveries! I just don’t get the logic of making your product – aka your flying experience worse when you’re fighting to stay in business. 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. 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 full meal was served on a single tray to reduce contact between passengers and crew. I have spent 27 years working in the travel industry with a large proportion of that spent working in Air Traffic Control. Virgin Atlantic's range of salt and pepper shakers. After the turbulent time … Virgin Staff and (kosher) food were all excellent. Not Clubhouse nice by any means, but still nice, and the food wasn’t half bad. 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. Sweden Ushers In Pandemic Law, Announces New Restrictions, The Hon. Unfortunately, one of Virgin Atlantic's most fun features, the onboard bar is not available. My true passion has always been travelling in. In almost every way, it was the latter. Bridgetown airport appeared pretty much deserted, and there were no more than two other passengers in the check-in and security areas. Maybe once a vaccine emerges, but even then…. Will US Flyers Need To Provide COVID-19 Test Results After Passenger Death? The carpets had been vacuumed and there were no obvious signs of wear and tear. Sadly the welcome glass of champagne has disappeared, and instead, you are handed a bottle of water. Try not to let your eyes roll all the way into the back of your head with disdain in the interim. Upgrades are well within reach if you have a stash of Velocity points sitting in your account waiting for a rainy day. My true passion has always been travelling in luxury for the lowest possible price. This flight was very lightly loaded, with just 15 passengers in business class and only about 60 passengers in economy. This time around, Virgin Australia can’t even call it a Luke Mangan inspired chickpea mix. However, they do provide a wide sleeping space and a large solid table for working or eating. Flying is generally much safer than people think during covid-19 anyway, but every little helps. Last Minute Deals! For sure. Fare Details: Travel restrictions: No travel end date. Virgin Australia was sprung last week for serving two-minute noodles in business class. 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. For more information see A Guide to Flying Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic. Upgrades to a business class ticket for a long-haul international flights. 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 … Even though the server responded OK, it is possible the submission was not processed. 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. I’m not much of a drinker on planes, but knowing that many airlines are serving economy cabin wines to premium customers, it was nice to see Virgin Atlantic hasn’t cheap’ed out and taken then easy way. Watch this space for an update. 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. 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. Initially, these were not quite dark enough to block light entirely, but recent 787 models have had windows that have a darker setting. For the time being, Virgin operates out of T2 at Heathrow, rather than their home base at T3, which features the Upper Class Wing and famed Clubhouse Lounge. One unique feature of the Boeing 787 is the dimmable windows. 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. Passengers can control how much light enters their window with a push of a button. 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. A small, but positive side effect of covid-19 is that it forced a lot of airline clunkers into retirement. Among other changes, the beds will no longer need flipping and the bar will become a lounge. Next up was our long layover in London, some time in one of the best business class lounges in the world (The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse) then our onward flight to Dubai. Virgin Atlantic’s new business class seat lacks storage. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class London LHR to New York JFK Review Airbus A340-600. There’s a dividing wall between the A seats on the left and the central G seats, so you may find A seats (shown below) a little more private. Would we get a “meal box” with inedible treats better fit for feline friends? 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. Virgin took first deliveries last year of its outstanding Airbus A350-1000 fleet, and planes continue to trickle in. When will that change? Would I do it again? Your email address will not be published. Onboard our Boeing 737 aircraft will also enjoy a comfort pack**, containing a blanket and pillow, and stylish amenities*. You’ve got a really top quality duvet – at least in plane terms – multiple pillows, mattress topper and more. If you’re not lucky enough to get the flagship A350, you’ll get the 787 Dreamliner, which offers the old Upper Class seats, but with a much better cabin experience, and gigantic windows. It was very clean and bright and cheerful. The Caribbean yakitori chicken looked something of a mess, but was similar to a very flavorful Bajan version of an Indian biryani rice dish. 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 team, who I must say was about as friendly and welcoming as can be, were around quickly to take meal orders. Full bedding was supplied with a mattress topper, duvet, and sizeable plump pillow. Based in locked down London, Virgin Atlantic, like many airlines has been forced to make changes which are noticeable instantly. Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. 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. 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 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. 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. When you look at the two popular “off the shelf” reverse herringbone products out there, both have storage. The hot main courses are served in disposable cardboard containers. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Required fields are marked *. You may opt-out by. This consisted of a small range of snacks, such as sandwiches and crisps. Learn More{{/message}}, Stay up to date on everything travel, with our handy newsletter, Virgin Atlantic ‘Upper Class’ Business Class Experience During Covid-19. The blog has been featured on Radio 4, Daily Mail, CNBC and i newspaper. Short story: aim for an A350. 737 Business Class seat features include: Luxury leather; Generous recline; 38 inch (96.5 cm) seat pitch; Comfort. One of the most popular configurations is a “herringbone” layout that provides an easy access to the aisle for each passenger. Some airlines are back, others are not, and it’s just hard to know what to expect these days. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Before take-off, the cabin crew introduced themselves. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN Virgin Atlantic’s A350 aircraft features one large Business (“Upper”) Class cabin, which is located in the plane’s front section. 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