For most of its flights, especially those heading to Heathrow (it’s home’), Virgin Atlantic has three classes – Upper Class, Premium Economy Class, and Economy Class. Needless to say, this stands out from the usual First Class, Business Class, and Economy class configurations that most airlines run on. Price-wise, you could compare the Upper Class of Virgin to the Business Class of other airlines – but the similarity ends there because service-wise, it is really closer to the First Class of most other airlines, and even surpasses some.
Virgin’s Upper Class is renowned for its high quality of service – which includes inflight massages and a nice ‘dine as you like’ system that allows you to order food whenever you feel like it, instead of having to wait for the cart to come around. Also, the Virgin Atlantic 747s have a bar area on the upper deck that makes you feel less like you’re on an airplane, and more like you’re kicking back and relaxing with a few beers. Premium Economy on the other hand is more like a slightly better version of Economy – with bigger seats, more leg space, and a slightly better selection of services. End of the day, you’re really paying for the extra room though!
Of course, nothing is perfect and Virgin Atlantic does have its fair share of flaws. Most notably, people find that the seats on Virgin Atlantic flights – even in Upper Class, leave much to be desired. For some reason, they just aren’t comfortable, and the ‘front sliding’ nature of the reclining seats in the Upper Class can make people feel like they’re sliding off. Another common qualm that people have is that Virgin Atlantic tends to switch on and off the in-flight entertainment and laptop power well in advance of take-off and landing. This means that you’re left with about 40 minutes after take-off and 40 minutes before landing when you won’t be able to use either! Some even question how worthwhile the Premium Economy Class really is considering you’re splashing out an extra $500 or so for it. On the other hand, some simply love it so this really seems like one feature that you’re going to either love or hate.
One thing is certain though – Premium Economy seats are generally snapped up quite quickly so if you don’t book them fast you’re probably going to end up having to splash out more for Upper Class or face the tight space of Economy instead! All said and done, Virgin Atlantic Airways really is a great airline, and while it does have its weaknesses in general customers are extremely satisfied with their experience. Naturally, if you want to enjoy their full ensemble of service you need to fly Upper Class – and that is certainly a premium experience in its own right.