The Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Experience – Road Trip USA Day 1

Join us on our Californian road trip in the USA, where we flew Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic. Read about our Virgin Atlantic lounge experience at London Heathrow, and our journey to  LAX airport Los Angeles, USA.

Read about our USA road trip experience taking in LA, Orange County, San Diego, Palm Springs and Las Vegas.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge Heathrow Airport

Thursday (day 1) – We left a cold grey England with the excitement that you can only have when you know you’ve got no work or responsibilities for more than a fortnight.

Flying Upper Class with Virgin means that your holiday starts the minute you’ve checked in your luggage because Virgin have their own lounge at Heathrowairport (rumoured to be the best in the world). You go through their own security section, so no having to allow an hour because of queues, then you can visit the airport duty free shops or go straight through to the Virgin Heathrow lounge.

There are ample staff to greet you and explain the lounge facilities. It’s even worth getting there early to experience it all. There is a salon where you can have a complimentary treatment of facial, head massage, mani/pedicure, a huge well stocked bar, a cold breakfast bar, waitresses to serve you a full cooked breakfast from the menu, glossy magazines and newspapers, loads of comfortable seating, even a man to shine your shoes – and it’s all free!!!! (Well, of course, you’ve paid for it in your ticket but there are no additional airport costs.)

gourmet burger and crisps chips

Shortly before take off, you are called from the lounge and straight onto the plane (no queues again) where you’re offered champagne, hot towels, and newspapers. There’s even a bar on board which is also stocked with fruit, sweets, chocolate and other snacks.

The seats are amazing, more an armchair with a footstool that converts into a bed (with duvet and pillow) so you are comfortable the entire trip. They even give you pyjamas if you want to sleep!

Once up in the air, you are waited on hand and foot with as much food and drink as you desire. The food is unbelievable and as far removed from airline food as can be, served at your table-clothed table on china plates with silver cutlery.

There are several courses for the main meal and afternoon tea before landing, plus cooked snacks from the menu or help yourself snacks at the bar. I am a fussy eater but this was all sublime.

filet mignon and carrots

The first time we flew Upper Class with Virgin I was a bit apprehensive that we were going to stick out like a sore thumb and that it would be full of posh rich people.  It couldn’t be further from it though, with the majority of the people flying doing it with Airmiles. I’ve only ever seen a couple of stereotypical Upper Class travellers.

The additional bonus of flying Virgin Upper Class is that you and your luggage are first off the plane, which means first through immigration and customs. We can usually be out the other side of the airport within half an hour of landing and straight onto the shuttle bus to the car hire depot.

The first time we arrived at LAX we were advised to go and get something to eat before attempting to drive anywhere as rush hour starts early. We didn’t and we sat in traffic for hours, but feeling a bit more confident this time we took a different route and headed down towards Sunset Beach where we were going to be staying for the next few days.  We checked in, dumped our bags and only 18 hours after leaving London,  we were walking down the beach watching the sun go down in California with the temperature in the 80s. It felt good to be back.

sunset over the ocean

Read about how we are able to fly Virgin Upper Class for the same price as an economy ticket in How to plan a USA road trip, and have a look at what happens next on day 2 of our road trip in Sunrises and Sunsets.

On our last trip we flew with Air NewZealand and I will soon be writing about their First Class/Premium Business service as well as the lounge experience offered by Singapore Airlines in London Heathrow and Star Alliance at LAX, USA.

You can also view more photos on Facebook

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