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Based by Richard Branson in 1984 to shake up the aviation trade, Virgin has a fame of being one of many extra enjoyable airways within the sky. Virgin Atlantic is one the principle flag carriers of the U.Okay. and operates a world, long-haul route community from three foremost airport hubs throughout the nation: London Heathrow (LHR), London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN).
On the time of writing, the airline’s fleet is made up of a complete of 42 plane comprising of A330-200s, A330-300s, A350-1000s, Boeing 747s and Boeing 787-9s. The final of the airline’s outdated and considerably much less fuel-efficient A340-600s was retired in March 2020, sooner than initially scheduled.
This information is a one-stop-shop for every part it’s good to learn about what it’s prefer to fly with Virgin. From utilizing your factors and miles to guide to explaining the variations between the seats on plane and the meals you possibly can count on on board, we’ve acquired it coated.
In This Put up
Virgin Atlantic lessons of service
Like most airways, Virgin splits its planes into numerous cabin lessons for various worth factors. Virgin opted out of utilizing a first-class product on its plane, as a substitute providing three lessons: Higher Class (enterprise class), Premium (premium economic system) and economic system.
Every class of journey provides passengers a considerably totally different in-flight and floor expertise. That’s not all, as every of the plane kind in its fleet has barely totally different layouts and configurations, that means that flying Higher Class on an A350 goes to be most likely a greater expertise than on an A330-300.
If you wish to get an actual sense of the variations between every cabin, then try TPG U.Okay.’s all cabin flight evaluate of the A350.
Virgin Atlantic Higher Class
Virgin’s highest cabin of service and business-class equal is named Higher Class. Till not too long ago, the airline’s Higher Class product had been the identical for years and featured inward-facing window seats. In direction of the top of 2019, issues drastically improved with the introduction of the airline’s A350-1000 plane and the all-new Higher Class Suite.
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Should you’re flying Higher Class and it’s attainable to fly the A350 to your vacation spot, then attempt your finest to guide this plane, because it’s the most effective onerous product Virgin provides.
To provide you an perception into what it’s prefer to fly in Virgin’s Higher Class cabin, right here’s an outline of a few of the most vital components of the expertise.
On the A350, there are 11 rows of bespoke Safran seats in 1-2-1 configuration. Passengers can count on 20 inches of width and when absolutely flat, the mattress measures 80 inches lengthy. There’s additionally a small sliding door, which doesn’t utterly shut, however doesn’t actually enhance the general really feel of privateness of the seat.
For now, when it comes to seats, passengers flying Higher Class on the 787-9, in addition to the airline’s A330-200, can count on a barely downgraded expertise from the A350 — although that might change. One of many foremost causes is that every one window seats face inwards into the cabin, which makes looking of the window near-impossible.
On the plus aspect, because of the marginally much less dense 1-1-1 cabin configuration, seats are 2 inches wider than on the A350. Nonetheless, when the seat goes absolutely flat, the mattress is 2 inches shorter than on the A350.
Just like the A330-300s and 789s, Virgin’s 747s additionally function the old-style Higher Class seats. The principle profit for AvGeeks when flying the 747 in Higher Class is that you simply get to sit down proper up entrance within the nostril of the Queen of the Skies. Higher nonetheless, the seats are in a 1-1 structure, angling sideways because the nostril curves, that means you get views straight out the opposite aspect of the plane relatively than your individual window.
And eventually, the airline has 4 A330-200 plane with a totally totally different configuration altogether in Higher Class. These plane are based mostly between Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN) and fly to locations primarily within the Caribbean. The cabins function 19 seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration.
Virgin’s in-flight menus had been put along with a definite British theme in thoughts, together with afternoon tea. When it comes to what you possibly can count on to drink (in regular instances), the airline labored along with wine retailers Berry Bros & Rudd to give you a choice of alcoholic accompaniments in your meals.
Shortly after boarding, you’ll be provided a selection of a relaxing glass of Canard-Duchêne Champagne, orange juice or water. Subsequent up, shortly after takeoff, a pre-meal drink might be served.
Higher Class passengers are in a position to view the menu on-line and preselect which meal they’d like earlier than even taking their flight. Bookings may be made between 72 and 24 hours earlier than the flight’s scheduled departure time and is simply accessible on sure routes.
Passengers in Higher Class will get the airline’s iconic Wilbur and Orville salt and pepper shakers, and tea is served in a correct mug.
When it comes to what you possibly can count on to really eat, it varies from flight to flight. For instance, on morning flights, passengers can select from consuming as little as a light-weight breakfast chunk or as a lot as a full English breakfast, amongst different choices.
There are additionally numerous lunch and dinner choices. From fantastic eating choices like Wagyu beef to correct hearty British classics like pie and mash with lashings of gravy and mushy peas to complete it off. You too can count on a correct afternoon tea.
For these passengers flying on the comparatively quick, night-time hops throughout the Atlantic from the East Coast of America to the U.Okay., there’s an specific menu choice accessible, permitting for extra time to sleep.
Final yr, Virgin Atlantic launched a brand new amenity equipment, initially to be handed out to passengers on its A350s and changing the outdated, but in addition very fashionable, Herschel amenity kits.
The Goodie Bag, because the airline calls it, consists of the standard suspects, however with a extra sustainable twist together with a bamboo toothbrush.
Virgin modified the principles relating to its baggage allowance in Higher Class on December 9, 2019. Should you booked your ticket earlier than that date, you possibly can check-in a complete of three baggage, however for those who booked after December 9, 2019, your allowance is diminished to 2 baggage per individual. The load restrict and dimensions stay the identical at 70 kilos and 35.5 by 29.5 by 16 inches.
Should you’re a Flying Membership Gold member, you’re entitled to an additional bag with the identical weight and measurement restrictions as above.
The bar and The Loft
In step with the enjoyable and social aspect of the airline, its older plane (A330-300s, Boeing 789s and 747s) function a bar the place passengers can take pleasure in a drink with a pal or colleague, or simply have a chat with the crew or different passengers.
On the brand new A350s, the airline determined to dispose of the bar and as a substitute have put in The Loft. Whereas it’s not a bar, it’s a house for Higher Class passengers to sit down again and calm down away from their seat.
Virgin Atlantic Premium Class
Passengers in Premium can count on an upgraded expertise to economic system however with out the posh of Higher Class. Take a look at TPG opinions of Premium on A330 plane in addition to Virgin’s model new A350s. Right here’s a round-up of what you possibly can count on.
On the A350, non-bulkhead seats supply 38 inches of pitch and seven inches of recline. The width is a bit tight at 18.5 inches due to the marginally extra cramped 2-4-2 configuration. The armrests are additionally a bit small, which can end in a battle along with your neighbor over who will get probably the most house.
Whereas the seat pitch stays the identical because the A350, the airline’s older plane supply barely extra consolation in Premium. It is because the 2-3-2 configuration implies that cabins are barely much less compact, and seats have barely extra width at 21 inches.
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Passengers in Premium are additionally provided a welcome drink throughout boarding. Water and orange juice as in Higher, however prosecco replaces the Canard-Duchêne.
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Menus are additionally as customary, regardless of Ben not having obtained one on his flight from London to New York onboard the A330.
In each our latest opinions of Virgin’s Premium, Emily and Ben wrote fairly in-depth about how a lot they loved the meals. One thing that made the expertise rather less Premium, particularly for Ben, was the truth that meals are nonetheless served with plastic lids — even Emilys (stale) bread position was wrapped in plastic.
Slightly just like in economic system, passengers are served all three programs on the similar time on the identical tray.
Relying on the time of the flight, passengers within the Premium cabin are additionally served the well-known Virgin afternoon tea because the second meal service.
Just like in Higher, Virgin’s Premium Goodie Luggage had been additionally overhauled when the airline opted for a extra sustainable strategy. You’ll be able to learn extra about this and what you possibly can look forward to finding in your Goodie Bag right here.
Passengers flying in Virgin’s Premium cabin can check-in as much as two items of bags. Every bag can weigh as much as 50 kilos with most dimensions of 35.5 by 29.5 by 16 inches. Should you booked your ticket earlier than December 9, 2019, passengers flying to India in Premium are entitled to a 3rd piece of checked baggage with the identical weight and measurement restrictions.
Flying Gold members profit from one further checked merchandise of bags with the identical baggage restrictions as above.
Virgin Atlantic Financial system Class
Initially, it’s value noting that there are three kinds of economic system class fare accessible for buy in the identical economic system cabin: Financial system Gentle, Financial system Traditional and Financial system Delight.
On the A350, the seats are organized in a 3-3-Three configuration with 17 inches of width and 34 inches of pitch in Financial system Delight, which is diminished to 31 inches in Financial system Gentle and Traditional seats. On the A330-200, you’ll get 30 inches of pitch.
When it comes to inflight comforts and facilities, Virgin offers economic system passengers with headphones, a blanket and pillow.
The look of the economic system cabin is barely extra dated on board the A330s.
Virgin Atlantic economic system class passengers get to have a look at a menu for meals. It’s value noting that regardless of which stage of three economic system class fares you purchase, the meals is identical for each. Alcohol, together with spirits, can also be included all through the flight.
One slight criticism, nevertheless, is that on day flights from America’s East Coast, a small snack model breakfast is served first, which meant that Nick Ewen and his household had been relatively hungry at some stage in their flight till the second meal was served. It was an analogous state of affairs on board Virgin’s day flight from New York to London on board the now-retired A340.
Once more, relying on the time of your flight, passengers in economic system will even be served the airline’s coveted Mile Excessive Tea — albeit a considerably diminished portion measurement to what passengers will take pleasure in in Premium and Higher.
If you wish to profit from Virgin’s lowest Financial system Gentle fares, then check-in baggage isn’t included within the worth of your ticket. The marginally dearer Financial system Traditional and Financial system Delight fares do embody one checked bag per passenger with weight restriction of a most of 50 kilos and dimensions of 35.5 by 29.5 by 16 inches.
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As an exception to the rule, Financial system Traditional and Financial system Delight passengers are entitled to 2 baggage on flights to and from India and Nigeria. For passengers flying from the U.S. to Johannesburg who booked their flights earlier than December 9, 2019, two checked items are allowed per passenger with an Financial system Traditional or Delight ticket. For flights booked after that date, just one piece is permitted as per the usual allowance.
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Flying Gold members might be eligible, as all the time, to take one further piece of hand and maintain baggage with them regardless of the cabin they’re flying in.
Virgin Atlantic routes
Virgin’s route community consists of flights to 5 continents as of October 2020 when the airline is planning on going forward with the delayed inaugural flight from London (LHR) to São Paulo (GRU). The majority of the airline’s flights are made up of scheduled departures from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). Scheduled flights that depart from London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN) are predominantly to seaside vacation locations within the Caribbean in addition to New York.
Be aware: At time of publication, Virgin is at present working a really restricted schedule as a result of coronavirus disaster. We are going to evaluate as soon as the pandemic is over to replace with any route community adjustments.
From the airline’s foremost hub at Heathrow (LHR), Virgin passengers have the most important choice of locations served by the model new Airbus A350, Boeing 787-9s and each variants of the airline’s A330 plane.
The A350 at present solely flies the London (LHR) to New York (JFK) route, however there are plans so as to add extra locations to the plane’s record earlier than the top of this yr.
Should you’re a fan of the Dreamliner, the airline’s 787-9s at present fly from Heathrow to a number of locations together with: Delhi (DEL), Hong Kong (HKG), Johannesburg (JNB), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX) Miami (MIA), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), and Shanghai (PVG). The airline can also be planning to relaunch its path to Cape City (CPT) on October 25.
The A330’s fly to those locations: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Barbados (BGI), Delhi (DEL), Lagos (LOS), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), New York (EWR), São Paulo (GRU; from October 2020), Seattle (SEA), Tel Aviv (TLV) and Washington (IAD). There might be new additions of Havana (HAV) from June 9, 2020 and São Paulo (GRU) with the inaugural flight on October 5.
Virgin’s Gatwick (LGW)-based fleet primarily operates to solar, sea and sand locations within the Caribbean in addition to a few locations in the united statesA.
Its A330s at present fly to Antigua (ANU), Barbados (BGI), Grenada (GND), St Lucia (UVF) and Tobago (TAB). Sadly, flights to St Lucia stopped as of Might 31, 2020.
Virgin’s Queen of the Skies lives on at Gatwick. Passengers can fly the Boeing 747 to Montego Bay (MBJ) and Orlando (MCO).
Vacationers within the North of England at present have entry to seven locations flown by Virgin Atlantic from Manchester Airport (MAN). This elevated to eight with the addition of a brand new path to Delhi as of October 26, 2020.
Passengers can fly the Boeing 747 to 4 locations, together with; Atlanta (ATL), Barbados (BGI), New York (JFK) and Orlando (MCO). The airline additionally flies its A330-200s on a year-round foundation to Barbados (BGI) in addition to seasonally to Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS) and as of Might 2020, Los Angeles (LAX).
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There are seasonal summer season flights to Orlando (MCO) operated by an A330 from Belfast (BFS) and a Boeing 747 from Glasgow (GLA).
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses
The airline’s Clubhouses can be found for these passengers touring in Higher Class, or these Flying Membership Gold members flying in any class. In complete, there are eight in airport areas world wide together with: Boston (BOS), Johannesburg (JNB), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington (IAD). In line with a report by Enterprise Traveller, there’s quickly to be a ninth Clubhouse within the North of England. The airline’s Northern hub Manchester is ready to get a model new Clubhouse within the airport’s renovated and expanded Terminal 2. Its former Newark Clubhouse closed because of the airline ending its path to the airport.
Right here’s a have a look at the airline’s flagship Clubhouse at LHR.
Situated in Terminal 3, entry to Virgin’s Clubhouse is by way of a relatively grand staircase that sweeps as much as the higher stage.
There are seating areas for all functions. Whether or not you’ve acquired work to do or some sleep to atone for, there are spots for every part. There’s even a restaurant space with at-seat waiter service.
There’s a chillout space with books, TV screens displaying a wide range of channels and, for those who’re up for it, you possibly can actually have a recreation of pool.
An out of doors viewing terrace would most likely function fairly excessive on an AvGeek’s want record for what they might wish to discover an airport lounge. The Clubhouse at LHR has one.
And in true Virgin model, there’s even a barber for individuals who didn’t have time for a contemporary trim earlier than their journey.
The way to guide On Virgin Atlantic
Whether or not you’re money or factors wealthy, reserving Virgin Atlantic flights is kind of easy.
Reserving with Money
For money tickets, a great way to begin is by utilizing Google Flights. The search engine will produce you with quite a lot of choices for those who set the airline to Virgin Atlantic. You should definitely have a look at the timing of the flights, in addition to which cabin you’re taking a look at.
In terms of reserving, relatively than guide by means of a third-party web site which is perhaps cheaper, be sure that to guide instantly by means of the airline’s web site as this makes issues simpler when adjustments have to be made or if there are any points down the road.
Reserving with Factors
Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Membership makes use of Flying Membership miles. To seek for Virgin Atlantic award availability, one of the simplest ways is to go instantly by means of the airline’s web site. Merely pop in the appropriate credentials: LHR to JFK, return journey and the dates you require, for instance. Subsequent, click on on the Superior search dropdown and choose Miles. Then select the cabin class of your selection — I went for Higher Class, as a result of, why not?
(Picture courtesy Virgin Atlantic)
The positioning will then present you choices in your given route. Should you’re versatile along with your dates, it is best to have the ability to click on round to seek out dates and costs that be just right for you.
Virgin Atlantic Loyalty program
Like many airways, Virgin has its personal frequent flyer program, the Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership, enabling passengers to earn and burn miles. Passengers will mechanically earn Flying Membership miles when flying with Virgin Atlantic or its companions when ensuring that their membership quantity is included within the reserving.
Its accomplice airways embody: Air China, Air France/KLM, Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta, Hawaiian Airways, SAS, Singapore Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Australia. When flying any of those carriers, a passenger’s Flying Membership membership should be entered into the reserving to be rewarded the miles.
To earn further Flying Membership miles with out flying and maintain that account topped up, members can earn bonus miles by purchasing by means of the airline’s purchasing portal, Outlets Away. Virgin has partnered with lots of of on-line retailers that many people use regularly, making it simpler than ever to earn extra miles.
What about burning miles? In addition to Virgin flights, you may as well spend your miles on flights with many different airways similar to Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta, Hawaiian Airways, Singapore Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Australia. In February, the airline strengthened its partnership with KLM and Air France, that means that Flying Membership members at the moment are additionally in a position to redeem Flying Membership miles for flights on KLM and Air France flights.
Should you want some inspiration, or to study simply how beneficial Flying Membership miles may be, listed below are a few of the finest methods to redeem your miles.
In addition to incomes miles, Flying Membership members will earn Tier Factors, which accumulate to assist progress by means of the degrees of the airline’s elite standing tiers. Members will begin out at Pink, progressing to Silver on incomes 400 Tier Factors after which the ultimate tier is Gold, which requires a complete of 1,000 Tier Factors. Advantages vary from incomes further miles on flights to a further free checked bag and entry to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses the world over even when flying in economic system or Premium.
For extra particulars in regards to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership, learn our information right here.
Virgin Atlantic is a strong choice. Given its comparatively restricted route community, it gained’t be the primary selection for each journey or each traveler. Nonetheless, if you need a strong onerous and gentle product, the flexibility to earn and burn miles and entry to some luxurious lounges, Virgin is a good choice.
Featured picture by Photograph by James Oates/speedbirduk
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed listed below are the creator’s alone, not these of any financial institution, bank card issuer, airways or resort chain, and haven’t been reviewed, permitted or in any other case endorsed by any of those entities.