Flying in the 21st century isn’t a whole lot of fun, let’s be honest. There are long lines, full planes, myriad number of fees and general discomfort. There are a few airlines though that still manage to capture the spirit of fun and adventure that plane travel used to be about and I recently discovered one of the best, Virgin Atlantic.
Building a new airline from scratch is hard work and almost all fail, which is why Richard Branson wasn’t expected to be the wild success with Virgin as he has been. Even though I live in one of Virgin Atlantic’s cities of interest, Washington, I never had the pleasure of flying with them until a recent trip to London. Not only did I get to fly with this infinitely cool airline, but I also snagged an upgrade to Upper Class, a true traveling pleasure.
The experience began well before the flight when I camped out in the Upper Class lounge, a perk given to certain frequent flyers and Upper Class passengers. Most airline lounges are pretty similar, but Virgin has dramatically increased the cool factor. The interior design is mod funky, sort of like what Austin Powers would design if he had an airline. Better yet, the food choices weren’t the usual bland buffet but instead consisted of a creative and delicious menu from which passengers may order. Before I knew it, the lounge was hopping with happy customers toasting their champagne glasses and actually excited to board the flight.
Just as lounges aren’t all made the same, nor are business class sections. Once again though Virgin has well surpassed expectations with a lively and comfortable Upper Class section. The seats are all lie-flat, the ultimate in luxury flying and considered by most travelers to be the flying holy grail. The seats actually fold over themselves to create a bed and flight attendants pass out pajamas and full duvets to aid in the sleeping comfort. If you’re not interested in sleeping, there’s a bar area which makes a great place to chit chat and the food on board is British cool, with delicious twists on classic meals.
The flight to London from Washington isn’t long, but it was long enough to feel rested and well taken care of by the flight crew. I can say that in all honesty flying Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic was one of my favorite flying experiences and I can’t wait to fly the shagadelic skies again.