Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner Upper Class London-Washington, D.C. – Flight Review
LONDON AND NEW YORK — A few days after my first flight on a Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner, it was time for my second. The first was on the airline’s second 787-9 Dreamliner, Dream Girl, which was used as the launch aircraft for the London-based carrier’s London-Washington, D.C. route. This flight was on Birthday Girl, the airline’s first Dreamliner and it was my third flight on the larger 787-9 variant of the high-tech aircraft and my 15th or so Dreamliner flight.
Two of the most gratifying benefits about flying on Virgin out of London are the Virgin Upper Class Wing and the Virgin Clubhouse.
A Virgin-provided sedan picked me up at my hotel, the Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah. The drive to Heathrow was quick and we were soon at the entrance for the Upper Class Wing, where cars have to be buzzed in and proceed through a series of remote-controlled stanchions. After we negotiated the maze, we pulled up to the main entrance and a Virgin staffer greeted me by name and escorted me to the check-in desk. Checking in took mere minutes and was efficiently handled. This time I wasn’t surprised that everyone knew my name; it’s something the airline prides itself on doing for every Upper Class passenger.
Virgin’s private security line was next. No need for Fast Track, which is how other airlines at Heathrow handle first- and business-class passengers. The separate lane starts in Virgin territory and, while there were two passengers ahead of me in the queue, it took a short while to get airside.
Going by my experiences at the Virgin Clubhouse, I had allotted extra time to allow for a meal and a massage. The lounge has everything except a swimming pool including a hair salon and outdoor deck. As I mentioned in a previous review, there’s no reason to want to leave but I was there to catch a flight and not to move in, as appealing as that notion may have been.
Virgin Atlantic invites its Upper Class passengers to board first via a jetbridge that leads straight up front, while a sign directs premium economy and coach passengers to proceed in the other direction.