Business or leisure clients can start their British experience in the air and pair it with superior service, a fully-flat-bed, and other extras when you book them into Virgin Atlantic’s Upper-Class cabin. A recent red-eye flight from John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) proved it to be the ideal way to begin a trip to the United Kingdom.
After checking in at a dedicated area, Upper-Class guests have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK. If sleep is on your clients' minds they can dine beforehand on a complimentary three-course a la carte menu at the Clubhouse, as well as sip on cocktails, wine, or beer. Showers, a pool table, and plenty of comfortable seating get passengers ready for take-off.
Other Upper-Class perks are priority boarding with two pieces of hand luggage, with each weighing a maximum of just over 26 pounds and the two combined to be no more than 35 pounds. Upper-Class passengers are also allowed to check two pieces of luggage, 70 pounds each.
Photo: Virgin Atlantic
Once on board, the Upper-Class cabin’s 31 individual seats or pods were set up in three vertical rows, creating passengers’ own little sanctuaries. The “pod” included a 22-inch leather seat and an ottoman/visitor chair where passengers could put their feet up for a comfortable stretch. A USB port, AC power, and an 11.1-inch entertainment touchscreen were an arm’s length away. The space also featured a little nook that fit a handbag perfectly.
After take-off and when ready, a flight attendant transformed passengers’ seats into six-foot, six-inch fully-flat beds complete with sheets, pillows, and blankets. Passengers were even offered pajamas upon boarding to change into more comfortable clothes. A goodie bag at each seat included such niceties as an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, and hand cream.
An upgraded headset was at the seat for use with the entertainment system, which included more than 300 hours of movies and television shows, and music channels. I found soothing sleep music that was ideal for me when I tucked myself into my bed. One suggestion though is to encourage clients to bring smaller headsets as the provided upgraded ones worked well for watching movies but were too big to comfortably sleep on your side if you want to listen to music.
Before sleeping, the flight attendants asked passengers if they would like to be woken for breakfast. They gently individually woke them to transform the bed back to a seat before the meal and/or in time for the final descent.
Photo: Stacey Zable
Some passengers immediately took advantage of their bed and headed off to sleep, while others stayed up to enjoy the three-course meal. A printed menu outlined a choice of starters, mains, and desserts, plus cheese or a choice of a speedy soup supper. An extended list of wines, beers, other alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and hot drinks ensured passengers would not go thirsty. The aircraft’s social space area, The Bar, located right behind Upper-Class seating was where passengers could grab complimentary drinks and snacks during the flight. Breakfast was served 90 minutes before landing and featured a choice of main dishes and sides served with a fresh fruit plate.
Service throughout the flight was excellent, with flight attendants offering the right amount of attention while letting passengers relax and sleep through the night.
Upon arrival and after going through passport control and customs, passengers can head straight to their hotels or make a stop at the Revivals Lounge at Heathrow if their flight lands before 12:30 p.m. The dedicated space for Upper-Class guests offers such amenities as a shower and complimentary cooked-to-order or full English breakfast to jumpstart any London visit.