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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A330 review
Virgin Atlantic recently debuted a brand new Upper Class ( which we’ll be flying tomorrow ), but by en large, the vast majority of Virgin’s fleet is still comprised of this older, herringbone styled Upper Class, as featured on this A330. In anticipation of our new Virgin Upper Class experience on their A350 featuring all new 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats, Cirrus NG, we thought we’d provide a comparison so you can really see what the difference is like. Here’s our experience on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A330.
- When: April 2019
- Where: LHR to JFK
- Loyalty: 47.5k Virgin Atlantic + $600+ taxes and fees
- Instantly transferred from a combination of Chase and Amex
- Flight: VS9
- Flight Time: 8h
The experience starts at arrival, BUT, we had dropped a rental car off and took the shuttle over. So…we didn’t really get the whole, meet and greet arrival experience that most would. But, make sure you tell your taxi/uber that you want to be dropped off at Upper Class because it’s a whole experience.
Once inside, we were expedited straight through, and whisked away to a red carpet elevator, complete with velvet ropes, to the exclusive Virgin Atlantic Upper Class security/immigration upstaris.
Head down the corridor to private security, and then follow the signs to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London – VIP Lounge experience.
If you’re wondering where Don Draper would hang out pre-flight in 2019…this is it. The 60s spaceship vibe of the Virgin’s flagship clubhouse is absolutely divine. You can count on Virgin to make every single aspect of flying drip with cool and edge, and that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished with this lounge. Be it blowouts and mani/pedis, shooting stick, plane watching on the roof, or sipping champagne with eating made to order grilled salmon…you’ll be tempted to skip your flight and just lounge out.
The cool continues with Virgin’s mod lighting style and dual aisle herringbone seating configuration. Personally, I’d do almost anything to void this configuration. Yeah, it’s super cool, but everyone looks at you as they pass by, and there is very little storage intra seat. You’ll see as I break it down.
As I mentioned…the seats are configured “herringbone style.” This means that your feet are out and head is in. Notice, in the picture above that everyone’s head is pretty much above seat height as well. So even as you go from back to front of the plane, you’ll still be seen, but coming front to back you’re pretty much looking in on people doing this.
Choose the “A” line
Why? Because it’s by far the most private of the two. How so? You only have 1 row of seats spilling into it vs the other one has two. We chose the last two seats of the A line which arguably isn’t ideal. If I had my druthers I’d pick 1A and 2A which puts you furthest from the bar and hang out section, but seeing as tho this was a day flight and we didn’t sleep…it wasn’t much of an issue.
I’m not a fan of the design facing the aisle as it leaves you very exposed, but worse than that, you’re in a very expensive seat with nowhere really to put things. That little cubby inside the armrest is basically all you get. Compare that to almost any other business class ( sans British Airways Club World with very little as well ) and you’re juggling items or putting them over head.
View from the seat, and you can also imagine the little space beneath my feet that barely fit Miles. No backpacks or personal items intra seat on this Upper Class flight
In Flight Entertainment
Virgin provided decent over ear headphones, a cumbersome area to plug in things to charge ( where do you put them tho?), some intra-seat controls, and a very outdated looking screen. You can see next to it the tray that pops out to hold your water. That pilot better fly very still because nothing is holding that water in place except for gravity.
The bed is another issue. It doesn’t slide down into one, but rather the back folds forward and you actually lay down on what’s normally the back of the seat. This isn’t really that uncomfortable, but what is annoying is the fact that you can’t convert your seat into bed while you’re watching a movie and doze off to sleep. First world problems I get it, but these seats cost a fortune, and planes at the next gate are probably charging less for a better product.
This is a place where Virgin excels, but honestly, after the delightful Salmon in the lounge, I wasn’t too terribly hungry.
Some “crisps” or potato chips as we’d call them in the states, along with some kind of beef dish ( sorry my fiancee ordered it and I forgot to photograph mine ), cheese plate, and dessert.
After Dinner we headed to the bar to hang out and sip a glass of champagne
I have some friends that absolutely love Virgin Atlantic. Personally…I’d rather fly American if it’s this seat compared to any seat on a 772, dreamliner, or 773. Business class, which Upper Class is just a fancy name for, is all about the seat to me. Sure, it’s nice to feel uber cool and chic, but if this were anything other than a quick hop across the pond…I’d rather be cozied up in a dope reverse herringbone seat that gives me storage for my stuff, and a best that offers much better privacy.
Virgin Atlantic is cool, no doubt, and I couldn’t be more excited to experience their new seats on the A350, but if you’re thinking of shelling out loads to fly this Upper Class…I’d make sure you understand what you’re buying before you take flight.
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