Upper Class: Virgin Atlantic, Manchester to New York in a A330 (MAN-JFK)

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The time had finally come were I had to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, not something I was looking forward to if I’m honest, I just don’t particularly like their whole marketing campaign of a ‘Rock star Service’……how about a calm relaxing efficient service…it’s a flight….not a party.  My Wife advised me to simply roll with it and enjoy it as a party, I did and it wasn’t too bad. As a one off I did enjoy it but its too casual in presentation or service for me to fly the product on a consistent basis.

There is no clubhouse at Manchester Airport you are given a separate lounge run by the Escape team, also used for Qatar Airways business class customers. It had an ample supply of hot and cold food with complimentary beverages but the sparkling wine selection was Prosecco only Champagne was chargeable….not acceptable for a Business Class lounge from the UK. Many customers seemed unhappy with this, I had a G&T and left it at that.

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Upon boarding I had selected the seat at the rear bulkhead as it was deemed to be the most private on this ‘party bus’.

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All of these Upper Class suites are being replaced as we speak as customers have lamented how cramped, communal  and inconvenient the layout is…..I agree.

The crew came round with Champagne (not chargeable 😉 ) and amenity kits with menus.

The food sounded pretty good (it was actually). Look … the ever classy diamanté walls!?!?

Once we had taken off I headed for the Bar, this is one of their selling points so I definitely wanted to try it out.

I stayed at the bar for an hour talking to the crew and a few fellow passengers whilst enjoying a few beverages. I’m not a fan of how open it is to the rest of the Upper Class cabin, if sleep is your thing avoid suites anywhere near the bar. I’m in full support if the bar is in a separate enclosed space.

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I had selected the Louisiana Crab Cake to start which was nice.

vacrabI followed it up with Fillet Steak which again wasn’t to shabby.

va15The crew were very professional and the meal service was swift and friendly.

va14After dinner I decided to have a delicious bread pudding at the bar (which I admit is pretty cool)

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Followed not long after by a cheese plate (something had to absorb all the alcohol Virgin were serving!)

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I spent the next 3 hours at the bar, drinking, chatting to the crew and fellow passengers. At many points the bar was at capacity and I could see that despite my reservations it was supremely popular. I was having so much fun I decided to have my second meal at the bar…..a burger and chips. It felt like coming home after a night on the town and ordering something from the local takeaway (in the nicest way I mean that).

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This flight had been a party filled with couples going on holidays and fewer business people, as a leisure product I guess it makes sense….clearly popular.

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Now there is the problem, business people want to sleep, eat, work and relax with a few drinks. For arriving either at home or work they need to be rested and ready for the day ahead. I don’t think this product is conducive to that philosophy…….it’s a party were everyone is invited, even if you didn’t want to go.

I took the overnight flight back with Virgin rather than an additional review here are a few pictures of the bed and meal service.

I found the bed to be fairly comfortable although I did feel it to be lacking in the feet area and didn’t like the fact that windows are behind your seat.

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Sitting in 4A was far enough away for the bar noise to be dissipated, but the cabin still felt too open.

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Food service wasn’t as good as the outbound but that is often the case when flying from the US as their catering services are never as good.

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Overall I think it was fun but not amazing and for the competition that’s out there a business trip would be better served on a different airline.

 

 

 

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