Review: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340 Los Angeles To London Heathrow

Introduction
Delta Sky Club Los Angeles LAX
The Club At SJC
Delta First Class CRJ-900 San Jose To Los Angeles
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Los Angeles LAX
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340 Los Angeles To London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways Club Europe A320 London Heathrow To Amsterdam
Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER Amsterdam To London Gatwick
Andaz Liverpool Street London
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow LHR
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340 London Heathrow To Los Angeles


Virgin Atlantic 8
Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR)
Wednesday, July 1
Depart: 5:55pm
Arrive: 12:20pm +1
Duration: 10h25min
Aircraft: Airbus 340-600
Seat: 8K

Having been excited to try Virgin’s new 787 Dreamliner, English sparkling wine and all, I was a bit disappointed to board what appeared to be a quite aged Airbus 340-600.

Indeed, as I got to the seat it seemed to me that the hard product was a bit rough around the edges. Virgin’s seats are herringbone-style and angled away from the windows, which is both private and a tad claustrophobic at the same time.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seat 8K
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seat 8K

One of the benefits of the herringbone-style seats, however, is the generously sized ottoman that you can use at takeoff and landing, which I appreciate quite a bit as opposed to business class seats where the footwell is underneath the seat in front of you.

In fact, the ottoman was equipped with a seatbelt of its own, and was designed such that you could invite a traveling partner (or someone you just met on the plane, I suppose, if you’re cheeky) to dine with you, as the tray table could be adjusted accordingly.

Seat and ottoman
Seat and ottoman

A frill-less amenity kit was placed on the ottoman containing the basics — socks, toothbrush, a little tube of toothpaste, a pen and some facial tissues. Nothing really exciting nor worth photographing for that matter.

The seat itself was comfortable, but the television was quite beat up and scratched, and the features of the seat seemed cramped and not especially well laid out.

For instance, the little pop-out tray that acts as a cocktail and snack holder is tucked up and just behind the headrest, which I found strange (and a little contortionist).

Virgin Atlantic Amenity Kit
Virgin Atlantic pop-out “cocktail tray,” a bit inconveniently placed if you ask me

As I got settled, a flight attendant came by with a tray of Gardet champagne and water. I chose the champagne, which was unremarkable but certainly drinkable.

Gardet champagne
Gardet champagne

Since the cabin was a bit on the darker side, I searched for an overheard light, but discovered there were none, just a little side reading light. I didn’t find the reading light terribly useful, and, in any event, it interfered with what little space there was on the cocktail tray for my glass of champagne, anyway.

I also searched in vain for a power outlet and asked a flight attendant for assistance. She explained the only outlets on the A340 were EmPower outlets (i.e., useless for just about anyone, using the best technology 1993 has to offer), but she fetched me an adapter.

On the plus side, however, there were two air vents above the seat that worked beautifully, and in fact the cabin was kept at a cool temperature as well.

A pair of headphones was stowed in a little compartment below the television and sealed in plastic.

Headphones
Headphones

Needless to say, Wifi was not offered on the A340 (though it is apparently offered by Virgin Atlantic on the 787).

I know I may be in the minority for even caring, but I also found it strange that Virgin Atlantic didn’t have an in flight magazine, or at least not on this particular flight.

The safety video was intended to be charming and clever, but was annoying instead. It was a cartoon involving characters speaking English with an American accent, but rather than hiring American voice actors (or someone English but talented), it seems they grabbed some people from a pub in Hackney and asked them to exaggerate an American accent as much as possible.

We took off relatively quickly, and the very British captain made a quick announcement and then, acknowledging the redeye nature of the flight, said in the Britishiest way possible, “I shan’t talk to you again until we’re much nearer to London, so have a good journey.”

Settling in and view from the seat
Settling in and view from the seat

Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants came by again with bowls of spiced potato chips (or “crisps,” delightfully) and a refill on the champagne.

About an hour and a half into the flight, the flight attendants distributed menus for in-flight service, which we were told were not ours to keep as there was a shortage and they needed to re-use them during flight, so we had to choose our order relatively quickly.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class dinner menu
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class dinner menu
Menu introduction
Menu introduction
Starters
Starters
Mains
Mains
Dessert, or as the British insist on calling it, "pudding"
Dessert, or as the British insist on calling it, “pudding”
Cheese and port menu
Cheese and port menu
Wine list
Wine list
Wine list
Wine list
Cocktail list
Cocktail list
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea

I chose the parsnip and parmesan soup to start, and the smoked salmon salad as my main course, since I’d already eaten quite a bit in the LAX Clubhouse.

I asked about the breakfast card, which is intended to allow you to select your breakfast before drifting off to bed so that you wake up with your selection already made for you. I was told no breakfast cards were available at all, and that the flight attendant would orally recite my options in the morning.

About two hours into the flight, the attendant came by to set up my tray table, which was unfortunately not cooperating. It took two people and about five minutes of in-flight mechanical work to get my tray table to properly pop out of the side of my seat.

The attendant asked which wine I’d like to drink with dinner, though I was a bit befuddled as I’d already returned my menu to her an hour earlier and had no idea of the selection. Slightly exasperated, she handed me another menu, and then we had a (really, honestly) delightful interaction where I said I’d like the Nuits Saint-Georges in my best French accent by way of America [to wit: Nwee Sahn Zhorzh], and she couldn’t understand me until I pointed.  “Oh, the New-Its Saint George,” she clarified.

The Nuits St-Georges was actually a bit on the blander side despite the airline’s claim it would be “rich and sturdy,” so for my main course I took Andrew M.’s advice and switched to the Grenache-Syrah blend, which would be a bit spicier.

As for the soup, it was tasty, though rather rich and salty. I liked it.

Soup starter
Soup starter with Nuits St-Georges wine

Shortly thereafter, the flight attendant brought out the smoked salmon salad, which was essentially a take on a Niçoise salad but with salmon in lieu of tuna.

Salmon salad main course
Salmon salad main course

The salad was terrific, with some body to it but just light enough not to feel like a sodium-and-umami bomb as many airplane main courses can be.

At this point I’d been trying to watch a movie during dinner, but found some difficulty maneuvering the TV system (which swivels out from the side of the seat) with a full tray table.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, i.e., the Worst
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, i.e., the Worst

It was just as well, because my decision to watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a horrendous one. It’s worth noting, by the way, that all entertainment on Virgin’s proprietary entertainment system, “Vera,” is preceded by an interminably long introduction from a faux-humble Richard Branson followed by commercial after commercial after commercial.

Anyway, I’d turned that off and switched to Focus by the time dessert — er, “pudding” — was brought around.

I preferred something “light” for dessert, so the flight attendant suggested the red velvet cake, and I happily agreed.

Now, let’s have a little chat about menu descriptions.

"Red Velvet Cake," since the British don't know what a cupcake is
“Red Velvet Cake,” since the British don’t know what a cupcake is

Dear Virgin Atlantic: we call this a cupcake.

It was a sensational cupcake, mind you. Absolutely delicious. Virgin Atlantic knows their sweets.

But it’s not a “red velvet cake,” and it also had coconut and white chocolate shavings on it, which were, again, delicious but off-menu a bit.

Anyway, after dessert the flight attendant came by to offer to make my bed, which is a rather classy and unique touch, especially in business class. Unlike most business class seats, the Virgin Atlantic seat is designed to be “flipped” in order to convert into a bed, as the seat itself only reclines about halfway in “seat mode.”

The attendant warned me to remove any valuable objects out of the bed’s way before conversion (and I’d learned my lesson on United earlier this year!) and I went to the bathroom to change into the pajamas provided by Virgin (again, a classy touch for business class) and get ready for bed.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory
Toiletries in the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory
Toiletries in the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lavatory

The toiletries in the lavatory are Noble Island-branded, and felt good quality.

I returned to a delightfully soft and well-made bed.

In bed
In a most comfortable bed

(I’d also come back to a crushed headset, which was a victim of the bed conversion as it had been just ever so slightly in the way, but the flight attendant quickly returned with a fresh pair.)

I popped a Xanax and an Advil PM, and asked for a spot of cheese while I watched Focus in bed. The cheese was delicious, though since I couldn’t pop out my tray table anymore, I had to eat it on my lap, which felt a little odd.

Cheese and crackers in bed!
Cheese and crackers in bed!

Anyway, I was losing focus on, well, Focus, and turned the TV off and drifted off to a wonderfully long sleep. I slept for about six hours.

About 90 minutes before landing, the flight attendant gently poked me to ask if I wanted breakfast, and I was not yet ready to get up. I asked her if I could get breakfast in a half hour or so, and she said that would be no problem and I could help myself to what’s available.

Eventually, I did get up, and went to the galley to request a breakfast. I ordered a “full English breakfast” and a coffee, and changed back into my street clothes while another attendant turned my bed back into a seat.

Full English breakfast
Full English breakfast

The breakfast certainly looked delicious, but looks can be deceiving. The eggs were dry and cold and needed quite a bit of seasoning and “brown sauce” (not a euphemism; get your mind out of the gutter), while the potato cake (I assume?) just tasted bad. The mushrooms were tasty enough, though.

Generally speaking, though, the breakfast was flavorless. Then again, England.

At this point I’d turned on a British television program that’s now on Amazon streaming that I’d heard quite a bit about, “Catastrophe.” It’s a romantic comedy series of sorts, and it’s really quite charming. That all being said, it was about the only choice available. Virgin’s “Vera” system is heavily skewed toward UK shows and films, and doesn’t have a very deep catalogue to begin with.

About 45 minutes before landing, we were told that while we could still watch “Vera,” we had to stow the television sets back into the seat. I’m not quite sure I understand how that’s all supposed to work, but unless you want to deliberately strain your neck, it’s not much fun to turn your head 90 degrees to watch television.

On our descent into London, the views were phenomenal.  Really something that made me feel like this is what traveling is all about.

Smashing view of London from landing approach
Smashing view of London from landing approach

We landed at about 12:50pm, which was about a half hour behind schedule, mostly due to what the pilot said were unfortunate headwinds (though, I suspect, perhaps also due to the equipment swap and the speed differences between the 787 and A340 — though I’m no aviation expert!).

Prior to landing, I was handed a pink “fast track” card to speed me through immigration. As my next flight was at 2:50pm from a different terminal, I was a bit nervous at making my connection at what I’ve heard is an airport that rivals CDG in terms of inconvenience and queuing.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Bottom Line

I had a perfectly pleasant flight on Virgin Atlantic from Los Angeles to London, and perhaps most importantly of all, I slept a solid six hours without tossing or turning on what might be the most comfortable airplane bed I’ve experienced (Cathay’s first class bed included).

While service was friendly, it didn’t feel particularly polished on this leg, and I thought the food and wine was a bit hit-and-miss, with an enjoyable dinner but a positively dismal breakfast.

The menu shortage and lack of breakfast cards seemed a bit, well, janky, but I also realize that Virgin was operating three flights out of LAX that evening instead of the usual two, so it could be that they had to split the menus between two flights. I’ll give Virgin the benefit of the doubt on that one.

While the bed hard product was worthy of an award, I was really disappointed in the hard product of the seat. I felt the seat was awkwardly laid out, not especially ergonomic, and it frankly felt quite dated.

I had had my hopes set on a Wifi-enabled Dreamliner flight, so it was terribly frustrating to be on a plane without standard power outlets by the seats. Add in the scratched television set and the barely operable tray table, and you might agree with me that Virgin’s A340s need a bit of a refresh.

All in all, though, on a transatlantic redeye the best you can hope for is a solid, comfortable sleep and Virgin Atlantic delivered in spades. While the hard product does leave something to be desired, and the amenity kit is a bit on the sad side, it’s nice that Virgin offers touches of first class (pajamas, turndown service, a fancy lounge) in what’s otherwise very much a business class product.

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Comments

  1. More disappointing than the red velvet fairy cake, the first cheese is mislabeled, it should be ‘stinking bishop’. Excellent cheese, though.

  2. Wow, what an obnoxious review.

    “‘Crisps, delightfully”
    “Dessert, or as the British insist on calling it, “pudding””
    ““Red Velvet Cake,” since the British don’t know what a cupcake is”
    “the breakfast was flavorless. Then again, England”
    “Virgin’s “Vera” system is heavily skewed toward UK shows and films”

    Have you travelled outside America before? Sometimes people in other countries use different expressions, and – no, it’s true – even have non-American TV shows.

  3. Nick – always love reading your reviews and your sense of humor is enlightening. However, I must comment that your shoes are disgustingly dirty. Hint: grocery store, Cheer, washing machine…….

  4. Looks like this is a flight leg that’d cost about $7K USD. I’d say those annoyances – outlets, menu, etc.- aren’t really acceptable for that price.

  5. Six hours of sleep from Xanax and Advil p.m.. This improves any long-haul flying experience and even makes Economy tolerable. Though I would warn the reader about mixing alcohol and meds like Xanax, and rather just sticking with a prescribed sleep aid.

  6. Isn’t the fun of travel to experience new things? New cultures, new lifestyles and even new languages. Each to his (or her) own I suppose… So Nick – why do you even own a passport? Stay home and spare us your babble.

  7. Virgin’s A340s do indeed have overhead reading lights just like on any other Airbus, which are controlled by the IFE remote — but in order to strike the proper mood, Virgin turns the main cabin lights to purple during boarding, which does not put off much light, and then sets all of the overhead reading lights to “on”. They go off sometime during taxi and takeoff, and then you can put them back on with the remote. I guess it’s possible the ones at your seat were broken or something though?

  8. Dear Martin: It’s called humor. You either get it or you don’t. I personally think you do since, after all, you asked Nick if he’s travelled much outside the US — and that’s actually pretty funny.

  9. @Martin – I hope you complain that vigorously when Brits post cheeky reviews of any American-based service providers. I’ll help you out with a template:

    “Wow, what an obnoxious review. Have you travelled outside England before? Sometimes people in other countries use different expressions, and – no, it’s true – even have non-British TV shows.”

  10. @Nick, great review. Love your sense of humour. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to read your Garuda review

  11. It sounds like your flight was a bit underwhelming. At least you got a solid sleep! It’s a bummer you didn’t get their new 787 !

  12. All three of my Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flights have disappointed me in various ways and it’s unlikely I’ll fly them again. For starters, I find the cabin crews to be comprised of individuals, who, when applying to Virgin, perhaps didn’t quite grasp that much more would be required of them than posing in a smart uniform, snacking in the galley, and partying in exotic locales.

    I’ve been flying internationally for 45 years and can spot from 10 rows away a flight attendant who is robotically counting the minutes until he or she can go on break, or better yet, ‘slam-click’ their door at the layover hotel. Onboard Virgin Atlantic I’ve encountered a higher percentage of these individuals than on just about any other European transatlantic carrier.

    For example: On a San Francisco to London 747 flight I was seated in ‘A’ zone (the nose), but couldn’t sleep because of several rather drunk, very loud passengers seated near me. As ‘B’ zone was completely empty, I took my pillow and comforter and made my way past the galley to settle-down and try to get some shut-eye. Before I’d even selected a seat, a flight attendant came out of the galley and stopped me, saying I’d have to return to my assigned seat upfront. I understood why a bit later, when she and a number of other Upper and Economy Class flight attendants settled into seats in the empty ‘B’ zone, to eat, rest, and watch movies; effectively turning the space into a big crew lounge.

    Perhaps over the years Richard Branson’s well-publicized ‘party hearty’ ethic has infused Virgin’s Inflight Training Department, because on my flights, many of the cabin crewmembers seemed too exhausted to do much more than just go through the motions. I certainly was never treated like a welcome guest.

  13. Why don’t you like the A340-600? It’s my favorite aircraft. It was the longest plane until the 747-8 has been introduced and it’s still really unique, longer than the A380. Personally I love it 🙂

  14. I find Nick’s commentary fun to read and appreciate his tongue-in-cheek (not a euphemism) poking of various peoples. The comments that follow his reviews are also enjoyable. Having previously induced rioting over the Mont Blanc Asian lady, and now setting back Anglo-American relations, I eagerly anticipate Nick’s future installments. 😉

  15. Thank you for convincing me to never fly VA. As to the idiot who was disparaging about your overseas experience disregard. He sounds like a typical Brit, there is a reason the Empire is now just a tiny little island :). Imagine if you had paid hard dollars for that flight. As I read your review I thought if that was me I would not be amused.It was a good review thanks

  16. Nick, I noticed you took at xanax for sleep. I do the same on long flights, and to help me adjust to significant jet lag once I’ve landed. I’m planning on going to Dubai and Abu Dhabi over Christmas and from what I’ve read, the UAE bans bringing in many prescriptions Americans use. It can also be an issue even for a connecting flight. Apparently, there’s something about maybe it’s ok if you bring a note from your doctor, but I, maybe unnecessarily, feel like I really, really want to abide by every possible law or regulation in the UAE. Do you know anything about this? It would be great to see a post on this issue regarding the UAE, or any other countries where it might be an issue.

  17. “Dessert, or as the British insist on calling it, “pudding””

    On some blog somewhere, a British person traveling on United or American (or, hell, even Delta) just typed out the following sentence: Pudding, or as the Americans insist on calling it, “dessert” 😉

  18. @wwk5d: Ha, fair enough! Though in Delta One the menus say “Dolci,” so how’s that for a curveball.

  19. Nick, I have to agree with @Martin, as a British reader, though the first time round the “joke” was funny, you repeated it through so many times (essentially, “Britain thinks this, I’m American so they are wrong, and obviously I’m right.”) that it got extremely tiresome, and whilst I must commend your attempts at humour, I am afraid that the rest of your trip report (which I am sure would be excellent as per usual, if it wasn’t for the constant anti-British jokes) was sidelined by this overload of anti-British “jokes”.

    I’m not saying Britain is “right” with, to take an example, “pudding”, but if a country wants to call it that, then let it be. All IMO, of course.

    *Though even as a Brit, I have to agree that the Red Velvet shown is just a cupcake.
    **For an example of a (in my opinion) funny take on UK vs USA, https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/2nuals/nonbritish_people_of_reddit_what_about_britain_is/

  20. Nick, I’m another Britsh reader that found your “jokes” to be quite tiresome and tedious, the only funny bit seemed to be that you constantly got your stereotypes wrong, in England we call “pudding” dessert more than we call it pudding and as for the breakfast I suppose there’s no taste unless it’s been deep fat fried… It’s a shame that you seemed to turn what would have been a good review into an opportunity to have a go at Britain. And as for @Rand who tried to imply that Britain is weak, is that why you can’t win a war without us? How Did Vietnam go again?

  21. Is there some sort of charity to which I can donate money to help the poor victims of anti-British discrimination? These are a people who have suffered too much, and for too long.

  22. Also, @Rand, if you want a comeback to Oliver, you can start with the Revolutionary War and end at D-Day.

  23. @Nick, well played reply to Oliver.

    I think to experienced travelers, pointing out some of the nuances between American English and that of the U.K. might be tired and played out, but for others it’s a whole new world or word 😉

    I enjoyed your report.

  24. Nick, so the only notable war that America seems to have won is one in which its opponent was based over 4000 miles away and was fighting against numerous other nations at the same time, but still managed to hold out for 8 years, pretty good for a tiny little island… And I found an interesting article if you care for some light reading, https://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/why-america-keeps-losing-wars

  25. “Is there some sort of charity to which I can donate money to help the poor victims of anti-British discrimination? These are a people who have suffered too much, and for too long.”

    Haha, this is too good.

  26. I always take away the menu as a memento of the flight, and to show to anyone interested! I definitely would have slipped it into my bag. Never heard of such a disorganised flight!

  27. that dirty sneaker is so disgustingdisgusting. For a better picture and quality of this blog, pls don’t include your feet.

  28. You say po-tae-to, I say po-tah-to,
    You say to-mae-to, I say to-mah-to……
    Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man….
    Fairy cake, cupcake…?
    and don’t start me on biscuits!!!

  29. Slightly off-topic, I think America is the only place in the world who refers to the second dish of a meal as an “entrée”. Look it up in a (non American) dictionary, and you will see how very wrong it is!

  30. So obviously, nick, upon the first second someone shames america the same way he’s been shaming the UK (among other countries) starts to get defensive and gives some miserable charity metaphor. Please grow a pair. Thanks.

  31. It really wasn’t a very nice review, regardless of your experience.Feels like your nose was out of joint having not experienced the expected 787, and you wanted it all to go downhill from there.

    Comments like “the breakfast was flavorless. Then again, England” are gratuitous.

  32. @Glenn T.: Yeah, you’re right (I think even in Canada they say “mains”?). Considering entrée has a fairly obvious meaning, it’s weird Americans use that to describe the course that’s not the starter.

    I’m the first to admit Americans use English just as weirdly as the Brits do! 🙂

  33. Lucky, this is a terrible review and I would hope you seriously think about taking him off your staff.

  34. “if you want a comeback to Oliver, you can start with the Revolutionary War and end at D-Day.”

    I would hope that Rand could come up with a better comeback, given that yours merely highlights the fact that it would be another four decades before the U.S. would win another war, this time against the mighty nation of Grenada. USA! USA! USA!

    Good job on leaving out the minor detail of the Brits burning down the White House and much of the rest of Washington, D.C. in 1814, by the way.

  35. While I find Ben to be over the top in his snobbery at times (read as: he gets flustered over things that I don’t see as a big deal; you just learn to take it with grain of salt), he at least keeps focus on the service and comes across as polite, gracious and intelligent. I had high hopes when he started having guest contributors but it has been a serious disappointment. Nick, you come across as boorish (or as the lower end of my fellow Americans insist on calling it, “as an a**hole”) and as a caricature of the ugly American tourist.

    Hopefully, Ben will see the negative impact you’re having on his blog and find someone more suited.

  36. im neither British nor American, but I still find this review rather mean spirited and condescending

  37. This is just offensive. Why is Ben letting you publish such snobbish, unwelcome statements?

    Not good.

  38. Nick, enjoyable review. I’ll be flying a VS A340-600 ORD to LHR soon and have not flown their UC. What is the recommendation for a seat selection for a couple traveling?

  39. @Jeff: Thanks! It’s a bit hard to say as the seats are really quite private, but my suggestion would be two seats one in front of each other. You’re not going to be able to see each other in flight while both seated. However, you can sit on the ottoman (which has a seat belt) and have a conversation and even share a meal with your other half, which is a pretty great setup for a business class seat.

  40. @Jeff – My husband & I flew VS UC LHR-LAX-LHR a couple of years ago on the A340-600. We chose window & aisle – was quite easy to be able to converse with each other, we could see each other throughout the flight & the one sat in the aisle was able to see out the window (unlike the one in the window seat who couldn’t unless they craned their neck about 160 degrees over their shoulder!).

  41. I am flying back from Europe this week on Virgin Upper Class. I flew MIA-LHR a few months ago. Many years ago I loved Upper Class. However I did not know much at that time. Now MIA-LHR is that same ancient plane. Feels like a throwback to the year 2000. On a flagship route no less. Crappy Entertainment, beds that point into the aisle. How is that private? Not a great premium experience. Food is just ok. Service can vary. BA has a much better business class and first class product. Virgin Upper Class is considered to be business class service. However the plus is that Delta has availability at 125K round trip at low level. If anyone cares you can book Econ seats at 60K R/T with a ton of availability throughout the year. Better than using American miles where they push BA with huge surcharges, or crappy routes (not non stop) MIA-LHR via the new 777-ER AA plane is really good. Just very tough to get. The crappy Amerfican 777 piece of junk ancient config also flys that route and sometimes available for miles. But again a crappy old plane.

  42. I completely enjoyed your review. I fly twice yearly from the UK to Los Angeles as I’m an American living in Scotland. I do like flying Virgin Atlantic and I have a system wherein I fly premium TO LA and Upper on my way back to the UK. I identify with everything you said. Once exception is that my first Upper Class experience I had a flight attendant who thought she was a bit more up the ladder than me and that annoyed me in the EXTREME. Since, however, the service has been quite good for what you are getting which is basically a business class calling itself Upper Class. I had asked a friend who works for Virgin what their First Class is, she said…”Upper” and i had to correct her as this is NOT Upper Class by any stretch of the imagination.

    I always take my sleeping tablet and other medication all the better to sleep with of course, and find that although quite squishy, VA provides a comfy way to watch a film and drift off to dreamland. I’ve never asked for a sleep suit because I board prepared.

    To say on the RED VELVET, on my flight in June, I had a proper slice of real Red Velvet cake. Not a cupcake. I was pleased. I do wish they’d get another boarding snack besides potato chips…not a favorite.

    I do appreciate VA Upper Class but having flowin United’s Business Class, I find it lacking. I stay loyal to VA because I have a zillion miles with them and I am happy overall with the service received. I will say in closing that the one time I flew economy…the staff were utterly rude and dismissive. I guess you get the service you pay for.

  43. @Kate Have you already travelled (mind me for not remembering your dates). I’m a Yank living in the Uk and my in laws temporarily live in Dubai. My doc here in the UK was concerned about my Rx list. I was told by Dubai customs, as long as you have your medication in packaging with YOUR name on it, this is not a problem. Their concern is medication coming in without prescription. It’s rather dogmatically defined but as long as it is YOUR meds, with your name, you are fine. I followed all rules, even went through the “something to declare” line with my medication to declare. Nobody bothered to greet me or ask me anything. I walked out, got in my father in law’s car and that was it.

    Just be sure, all meds have your name. For extra caution, I had my doc make copies of my prescriptions and write a letter stating what they were for. Again, not needed.

  44. Flying V UC this week and thought I would see if I could find any current reviews as the last two flights were a wee while ago. I just found myself getting annoyed as I read this, and those dirty sneakers on a seat is outrageous, you certainly would have gotten the stink eye from me!

    The person that said this was spot on:

    ” I had high hopes when he started having guest contributors but it has been a serious disappointment. Nick, you come across as boorish (or as the lower end of my fellow Americans insist on calling it, “as an a**hole”) and as a caricature of the ugly American tourist.

    Hopefully, Ben will see the negative impact you’re having on his blog and find someone more suited.”

  45. @Lou, I had forgotten how much Chavs love a pristine white sneaker. (See the Mirror and its description that the Chav loves a “gleaming white trainer”.) I’ll keep in mind for future posts that Ben’s UK readers are mostly Chavs. Thanks for pointing this out!

  46. @No I am not british: It’s obvious you’re not British. Otherwise you’d have called him a tosser, not a wanker.

  47. Red velvet refers to the taste and colour of the dessert. Red (vanilla or chocolate) cake with cream cheese filling/topping. Know your facts before making a joke please, otherwise you may sound stupid.

  48. Nick,

    Your little anti-foreigner put downs just make you appear mean spirited. Maybe consider that American views aren’t aleaways right. Brits are people too! We’ve just grown up in a different environment, not a wrong environment

  49. One thing worth mentioning here is that the food was supplied from the US end of the flight – a notoriously inferior offering to the food supplied from the UK to US end. The A346 is dated, being retired and not worth further investment as their leases expire at ten years. Frankly if I can’t get a Dreamliner now, I don’t fly Virgin Atlantic any more.

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