Virgin Atlantic Airways Upper Class Flight 9 London-New York – Review
Sometimes you never want to hear the boarding call. Such was the case recently flying on Virgin Atlantic Airways out of London. My flight started with a Virgin airport transfer from my hotel, in this instance Claridge’s. The drive to Heathrow was quick and our destination was the Upper Class Wing at T3. It may have been somewhat theatrical, but upon arrival we had to be buzzed in and drive through a series of remote-controlled stanchions.
As my car pulled up to the Upper Class Wing’s entrance, someone was there to open the door and escort me to check-in, which took mere minutes and everyone seemed to know my name. (This is something Virgin Atlantic prides itself on, and one reason the airline has even experimented with using Google Glass at the Wing.)
Next came security and, once again, Virgin Atlantic had a trick up its sleeve. Unlike what I’ve experienced traveling in first and business class on other airlines out of T3, we didn’t need a Fast Track pass or even have to go to the Fast Track line. Virgin had an entirely separate lane that started in the Virgin Atlantic terminal. No one was ahead as I entered although another passenger did follow a few moments later.
Next up was the Clubhouse. As noted in a separate review, Virgin Atlantic passengers don’t have to settle for a mere airport lounge when flying, they get to visit a Clubhouse. It has everything from a poolside lounge (no swimming pool, however) to an outdoor deck.
Clubhouse lodge, poolside lounge, deck, deli, dining room, spa, barber, den… there’s simply no reason to ever want to leave. I ate at the deli, had tea and scones near the bar, and had a massage. Eventually, however, it was time to go to the gate. I picked up my coat and three of my four carry-on bags (I truly didn’t buy that much, really!) from the attended coat check and headed to the gate.
Virgin Atlantic invites Upper Class passengers to board first and there’s a separate jetway for business-class passengers (a sign directs premium economy and coach passengers to the next door). As I boarded, several flight attendants were stationed at the door greeting and directing passengers. Virgin has 44 seats in Upper Class, distributed across three separate cabins. Because I had delayed my return by one day, I was seated in the second cabin on the main deck of the massive 747-400.