Flying over the Atlantic ocean on a plane

A review of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (Sort Of)

If you fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, don’t expect to be able to achieve anything when you arrive at your destination.

My girlfriend and I decided to visit New York City on a whim one day. We found cheap flights and a reasonably cheap hotel (more on this later). I got caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and next thing we knew, we’d booked to visit for 6 nights over Thanksgiving. We booked with Virgin Atlantic because it was about £100 cheaper than BA, and were pleased to find that Premium Economy on the way out was only an extra £100 or so, so we got all excited and thought we’d treat ourselves. Oh how quaint we were. Little did we know.

Fast forward a couple of months and I was working at home one day. We had talked about upgrading to Premium Economy on the way to NYC too, in order to kickstart our holiday. Whilst browsing the Virgin website, the option came up to talk to an advisor in one of those little online chat boxes that feels worryingly familiar to MSN Messenger. Perhaps that’s what lulled me into a false sense of security. I was whisked back to being 15 again and talking about what time to meet at McDonalds. Things dramatically escalated (read: I am a sucker) and before you knew it, I’d upgraded our flights to Upper Class.

Upper. Actual. Class.

That rush you get when you buy a new pair of jeans or a top? Multiply that by about 300. I was absolutely buzzing and spent approximately 79% of the next month thinking about Upper Class, talking about Upper Class and researching Upper Class.

It’s no surprise really that when we arrived at Heathrow and pulled off in the car to Virgin’s little private security lane I was about to literally implode with excitement. We were greeted by what felt like about 40 people, which I’m sure you get used to, but the Brit in me couldn’t help feeling slightly embarrassed and anxious at all the attention. One person to valet park my car (which was probably the worst car they’d see that day by some margin), two to take our bags for us, two to check our passports and give us our Upper Class boarding passes. I was so excited/anxious I couldn’t successfully engage in small talk with the remaining staff about Christmas music. What a world.

You get your own security channel which was an absolute breeze (and compared to JFK on the way back it’s pretty much worth the upgrade fee alone).The security lady chatted with us about New York instead of shouting orders at us and making me want to cry, which was a nice change.Within 10 minutes of arriving at LHR we were in the Virgin Clubhouse.



It’s everything good but everything bad in the world. It’s heaven but only leads to hell. Perhaps if you’re a more seasoned traveller you would be able to restrain yourself a bit, but we clearly couldn’t. 4 (or 5?) cocktails, 4 (or 5?) glasses of Champagne and a 3 course meal later, we were pretty worse for wear (this is a massive understatement, use your imagination). I only remembered about a week later about our chat with the lovely waiter who commutes in from Germany every day. I still feel slightly sick thinking about everything we consumed at the Clubhouse. They come round and top your drink up approximately every 12 seconds. How anyone makes it to the plane in one piece is beyond me.


But somehow make it to the plane we did. THE PLANE. OH THE PLANE. <3 <3 <3

I have been less comfortable in some hotel beds. Honestly, the seats were great, comfortable in upright-seat-position with a footrest (A FOOTREST!) and with a cool little TV that you could manoeuvre to wherever you wanted it. I can’t tell you what the food was like because I barely remember eating 2 courses before deciding I’d had enough and getting my seat turned into a bed, but I feel like it was probably very nice. I tried to watch Inside Out but I couldn’t keep up with the plot (this illustrates my mental state) and I fell asleep. On a plane.

I fell asleep on a plane.

This has literally never happened before.

I want to say we arrived in New York and I felt refreshed and raring to go. I want to say that we waltzed off the plane looking glamorous and smug. I want to say I didn’t want to throw up and pass out simultaneously. But these things would be lies. One good thing was that we didn’t have to wait in a line at US Passport control, we just walked (read: stumbled) straight through. This was probably for the best, because I’m not sure I would have survived and/or been let into the country had we been in a queue. We had intended to get the train to our hotel but I don’t think I even knew what a train was, so we hopped into a taxi and spent a very quiet journey to Manhattan breathing very slowly and trying not to throw up.

We got to the hotel and could only manage to venture round the corner for a Burger King before passing out. Watch this space for more reviews of New York activities and Premium Economy on the way home. They involve significantly less alcohol.


Hello future Virgin Atlantic passengers.

My verdict? Absolutely 100% fly VA UC. But for the love of god eat carbs before you get to the airport.

9 thoughts on “A review of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (Sort Of)

  1. Hi! Great review!! Although I’ve considered upper class I always feel it’s for the extremely rich. Do you mind sharing with your readers the cost?

    1. Sure! We paid £690 each on top of the price of a normal Economy ticket. The lady at Virgin told me this was really cheap (although I am fairly convinced she was just doing a good selling job…!)

    2. ….having said that, there are many cheaper ways of upgrading such as using air miles, definitely something to look into. From our trip alone, we have enough miles to upgrade one way now!

  2. I love this post – it is just reminding me of how drunk Kristen Wiig gets in Bridesmaids on the plane hahaha!! I can imagine flying upper class is amazing, especially as I am such a nervous flyer. Good for you for treating yourself!

    1. Definitely worth it and I think if you’re a nervous flyer then not only would the alcohol make you forget where you are, but the atmosphere is less like a plane and more like a comfy lounge. I completely forgot I was in the sky!

  3. AAAAAAGH! You shouldn’t have released this small detail Till, I was enjoying it up until then, ignorance is bliss for parents you’ll appreciate, especially were cost is involved. Sounds like you enjoyed it though, VA should send you complimentary tickets for your endorsement alone besides the inconvenience of having to sleep through the on-board free-bees.
    Tell Lola she needs to get a better paid job in future.

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