READER REVIEW: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class London to Miami

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Today’s Reader Review is by long time TLFL reader Palty. If you would like to contribute a guest review please email [email protected]

Booking

I decided to fly with Virgin Atlantic to Miami as I was yet to try out their Upper Class product.

Being a member of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club and consistently collecting Virgin points via their Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card, I accumulated enough points for me and my partner to travel, which I combined with one of the upgrade vouchers sitting in my account after hitting the annual target spend of £10,000.

I started looking for availability but unfortunately, I could not find any seats available, let alone suitable ones for the dates I was looking to travel. Whenever this happens, I log onto Seat Spy and set up some alerts in case any seats become available. This took a couple of weeks but one morning I woke up to a notification that two seats in Upper Class have just become available, so I called up Virgin straightaway and booked two Premium Economy cash tickets and upgraded to Business Class with the aforementioned voucher.

The initial price to buy the Business Class tickets were 115,000 points, however, I only paid half of that (65,000 points) as I used the voucher. I also paid the taxes with my Virgin credit card to gain some extra points as it all adds up. 

The Virgin agent who helped me out over the phone with the booking was extremely helpful and knowledgable, therefore making it a very easy and pleasant booking. 

Pro tip: If you’re looking to book some tickets with Virgin but require help from an agent, it is best to call them first thing in the morning in order to get connected immediately as their waiting times can be quite long during the day.

Seat Spy: Having a premium account with Seat Spy certainly paid off as finding availability on premium dates can be tough, especially when looking for more than one person. 

 

Arrival & Check-in

Upper Class wing entrance

For those of you that may not know- if you fly Virgin Upper Class or Delta One, you can arrive at a completely separate wing entrance when travelling by car! Follow the sign to the “Upper Class wing” and you will arrive at a barrier where you provide your details. When it is approved, the barrier lifts up and allows you to drive up a private road where you are greeted with check-in agents already waiting for you outside. They will take your bags, get you seated in the seating area while they go through your documents and then proceed to a very swift check-in. 

However, if you arrive at the main terminal, there is a doorway that you can go through there as well to get to the private wing, but you will need your boarding pass in order to get through. 

 

The Club House Lounge

Virgin Clubhouse heathrow review

Virgin Clubhouse Heathrow Terminal 3

The name of the lounge pretty much indicates the theme and vibe of the place. It is not only a lounge where you relax and wait before embarking on a flight, but it is literally a place to chill and enjoy. As soon as we walked up the beautiful staircase and into the lounge, we received a warm and friendly greeting. 

The first thing I wanted to see was the terrace, but the Virgin hostess told us “if you are going to see the terrace then you’d need a glass of champagne each!” Which was lovely to hear! It is the small touches that really make an experience more memorable. 

From a pool table, gym equipment to showers, they really do have it all and it’s just generally a fun environment to be in. They even have a small area where you can take some pictures with nice backdrops! 

Having had a look around the lounge it was time for breakfast, and what a breakfast it was. Great selection of hot and cold food along with cocktails. Having had already 3 cocktails each, we were definitely getting into the holiday spirit…

 

Flight

Although my experience with Virgin was going brilliantly, I do have to say that one thing I was not a fan of was the seat configuration on the plane. The 1-1-1 configuration facing outwards away from the window was uncomfortable and awkward as you are head on facing the rest of the passengers, which removed any much-appreciated privacy. Getting a good view out of the window was a mission as I had to stretch my neck out to get a glimpse, which was very annoying.

On the other hand, the service onboard definitely blew my mind. The cabin crew were just so naturally friendly, happy and hospitable- nobody was trying to impress or put on a fake smile!

Before the meal was served there were drinks and pretzels.

 

Here is the food menu:

I went for the asparagus,

The chicken

and the passionfruit dome

I enjoyed the food as it was very tasty and well presented. 

There was of course the Virgin bar which had snacks and soft drinks on it.

Here is the entertainment screen and handset with a smaller display.

 

Noise-cancelling headphones were placed at your seats

 

Conclusion

Virgin definitely knows the definition of customer service and I’m glad I chose to fly with them. Looking forward to flying with them again in the near future. 

Have you flown with Virgin before? How was your experience? Let us know in the comment section below!

28 Comments on "READER REVIEW: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class London to Miami"

  1. Jilly Moore | 11 May 2022 at 6:15 am | Reply

    I had a very similar experience on a recent flight to Atlanta and was a Virgin convert! However that all changed and the entire experience getting back to London was such a nightmare I would never fly with them again (real shame after my initial experience). The plane had been changed, our seats no longer existed and they’d oversold the flight so the check in lady told us that we would have to go to the gate to be on standby and it looked as though one of us might be able to have a seat in Upper Class and the other in economy. No hint of an apology or trying to help in any way at all. After 2 hours we switched to another Virgin flight paying the fare difference and then when getting on board finally someone was in one of our seats. We were hours sorting all this out under extreme time pressure with really indifferent help from the desk/online person. There was one passenger service agent who was fabulous but overall never again.

    • Wow that doesn’t sound like Virgin at all. You should not have to pay any fare difference in that situation! You should have been offered the chance to swap free. Did they refund it?

    • Wow!

      I would never pay a penny on tickets that I already had.

      If they can’t fly you that day then either they compensate you or put you on the next flight in the correct class at o extra cost.

      Something doesn’t sound right here.

  2. Basic review. Lacking info on comfort of dear and any experience of the seat as a bed. I cannot stand that seat configuration as it frr we lot like my feet were very vulnerable overnight. Also I hated sitting up in the seat and felt like an office meerkat or battery hen in its cage seeing people either side of me. Not for me to be packed in like that. Thanks but no thanks Virgin.

  3. Agree with Jimbo, that really was a basic review and not worth the effort.

    • Sorry you didn’t get the new Upper class (from what I can see) as really looking forward to trying it to NY in October. PS I think all reviews are worth it, so thank you. Perhaps we are just “spoiled” by Michelle’s excellent regular contributions?!

    • That’s pretty rude considering the reader has taken his own time to give his thoughts and take pictures!

      • Precisely. The old adage comes to mind. If you’ve nothing nice to say then say nothing. Some peoples time must be so precious that they have waisted 30 seconds of their day

      • Wait…are Virgin still not offering bread rolls with their meals? This is ridiculous. I flew UC with them in Jan to LAX and back. I was shocked there were bread told on offer. I just flew Lufthansa and SWISS Business Class and they couldn’t stop offering me warm bread rolls that were “straight out of the oven”. Virgin really need to sort this out.

      • Mike Ledwith | 12 May 2022 at 10:38 am | Reply

        I designed the electronics for the Virgin upper class seat, but never got to travel in it. There where many all-night shifts followed by a day shift in my main job. Absolutely exhausting but exhilarating. The seat was tested by a focus group in Gatwick on a simulated flight.

  4. We did LHR to MIA with VA using points in March. SeatSpy also helped us to upgrade from premium to upper class both ways when seats came up close to departure. I’m not a fan of the 787 seats not least since they slant away from the windows. But luckily the return flight was switched to the A350. That was much better. Food and service were both brilliant.

  5. Cheryl Ewan | 11 May 2022 at 9:03 am | Reply

    Flew Virgin Upper Class for the first time in Feb 22. Really disliked this 1-1-1 seat configuration and felt you get much more space on BA – even if that’s not actually technically true.

    I was also shocked that there’s no dedicated toilets for Upper Class on this configuration- the only toilet at the front is designated crew only, so you are sharing the 3 toilets behind the bar with Premium Economy.

  6. I wish BA would do whatever it is Virgin do to keep their cabin staff happy. Although the similarity is not trying to impress or even attempt a fake smile! As a frequent transatlantic flier with BA and addicted to the good stuff that Silver status comes with, I’d be really interested in seeing a breakdown of the pros and cons between the two of their loyalty schemes, lest I decide to be unfaithful…..

    • I’ll look into that for a future article.

    • I am a member of both BA and VS FF programmes being GGL in the former and Gold for life in the latter. Personally I would choose VS UC over BA Club where ever the route permits. I simply prefer the onboard experience. However when comparing the FF programmes BA has the edge in terms of availability, breadth of route and offers in terms of vouchers for frequent flying. Flying club requires a phone call to do anything with the vouchers ( which you cannot see on your account) whereas in my experience far more can be done online with BA. Also Goldline for VS is in reality a queue jump rather than a dedicated team ( unlike BA Gold and especially GGL). At the end of the day go with what you like best and what is in your opinion better value.

  7. Absolutely excellent flew Upper Class to New York. Can’t recommend high enough

  8. Unlike Jimbo & RB I enjoy it when readers are kind enough to share their experiences, especially when they also take the time to explain how they were able to Turn Less For Less.

    In my view there is nothing wrong with a overview of a whole journey.

  9. I would love to try Virgin, but I want to look out the window – this layout is crazy

    And puts me off using them.

  10. Robert Jones | 12 May 2022 at 1:12 am | Reply

    Our flight back home from Barbados was delayed 24 hours. No problem we had an extra night at our hotel, transferred to the airport, we’re given a meal voucher for the airport, upgraded to premium economy and finally monetary compensation and extra air miles, it made a good holiday even better.

  11. I love Virgin Atlantic for their premium products (not so much economy). Their lounge (now closed) at LGW was great. Lounge staff in general know how to make you feel happy and relaxed and make everything simple. I really like how they are there to take ownership if something goes wrong. I remember they found me once to say my seat table had broken and would I like to change seat or stay with my family- then gave me £50 to spend onboard! They even came to let me know exactly when we should leave to go to the gate!

    Onboard is fun but professional… this is just what I like!

    BA is so hit or mostly miss these days that I only look to them for short haul.

    I’m doing this same route in August so hope I have a great experience like your review! 🙂

  12. I’ve flown Upper Class a few times with Virgin using miles plus cash or just miles. I e always found that Virgin staff are brilliant and have never had cause to complain.

  13. Charlie Snedden | 15 May 2022 at 12:20 pm | Reply

    Great review. For a moment there I thought I recognised my socks.
    I have used the credit card rewards several times to get premium and upper to Las Vegas, Chicago and Miami.
    I was unimpressed by the Chicago flight.
    What I will say is the London lounge has lost its sparkle. Needs some attention to minor cosmetic repairs. Though the cream eggs at easter were a good addition to the bar.

    Look, seats on flights will never meets everybody’s requirements. However the 100% flat bed conversion that Virgin have on this flight are good and comfy.
    If you are feeling up to it, ask for the PJ’S. Possibly another pillow would nake it more comfortable.
    For flying I have my own professionally moulded ear plugs and I also take my Bose nc700 headphones.
    Even if you don’t use the 100% flat bed, the wee seat at the end allows you to put your feet up and suffer less from swollen ankles.
    What I will take away from this review is the seat spy website, however if you are in the position of being able to book 12 months in advance, you have a real good chance of getting that seat.

  14. Randolph Treu | 17 May 2022 at 3:22 am | Reply

    I’ve seen these reviews of virgin business class before and I totally don’t get it. The seats are narrow and without the normal storage areas and surfaces that are now customary in business class. On BA fights and virgin, I have been shocked by how uncomfortable the seats are and without a table to place my things, I am constantly having to place items on the floor when I get up and go to the rest room or move around. Every business class product I’ve used is better than virgin or BA. the British just have no ergonomic sense at all. Why do you people keep giving them good recommendations? Payola is all I can think of.

    • Everyone has different opinions about seats. Everyone is a different shape/size and has different things they want from a seat. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean that the other opinions are wrong.

      Most readers of TLFL are from the UK and collect Avios and Virgin points. Therefore a lot of people fly with those airlines on miles. I am certainly more forgiving if I have something cheap than if I had paid full price.

      The person that wrote this review is a reader of the blog and received no payment from TLFL for their review. On TLFL we publish good and less favourable reviews of both BA and Virgin. The new BA seats are very good as well as the new Virgin ones being a big improvement. I can only assume you are referring to the old ones from your description.

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