My review of Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Upper Class

We wrote about Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Wing and Clubhouse at Heathrow, and let’s take a look at their Upper Class in-flight experience today. It’s been three years since I was last onboard a wide-body aircraft.

For boarding there are two priority lanes: one for Upper Class passengers only, and the other for Premium, Economy Delight plus elite members of Virgin Atlantic, Delta and Flying Blue. I’m one of the first to board so can’t verify, but the second priority lane probably has loads of people.

The first thing that comes to your sight is their bar, which is a major feature for Upper Class passengers when they fancy a chat and some drinks.

It’s obviously not Emirates First Class though, and evolves into a totally different design on the A350 aircraft.

The 787 aircraft has herringbone configuration in Upper Class with three seats per row.

The seats are stacked very tightly though, so there isn’t as much space for each seat as you may expect.

The main storage space is behind the seat. There are charging ports behind the IFE and remote control.

One major defect is the lack of view. Even if you are sat at a window seat, the window is actually behind you blocked by the back of your seat.

I’m unpleasantly surprised when seeing their new amenity kit…

I get that they are trying to be environmentally responsible, but I like to collect airline amenity bags, and personally I don’t like them cutting cost in premium cabins whatever the claimed cause is.

The IFE has a small screen and looks quite old:

Some of the latest releases include Dune, Eternals and Unchartered.

Another sign of cost-cutting: for a flight duration of 9 hours, only one meal is served.

You can pre-order between 72 hours and 24 hours before the departure, which I didn’t do. But the online menu had more content than onboard, so it might be a wise thing to do.

I ordered Asparagus for a starter (it turns out no quail eggs are available):

Thai curry prawns as main course:

And the chocolate dome for dessert:

There are Extra Bites to order too whenever you feel peckish. I ended up having both the pull pork burger and crab cake, which are actually tastier than the prawns. My suspicion is that the Extra Bites replaces a second meal so they don’t have to offer starter or dessert.

One notorious design of their Upper Class seat: when turning into a bed it doesn’t naturally slide down like every other airline’s business class seat, but leans forward and then slides back instead. It’s slightly inconvenient as you can’t stay in the seat while the conversion happens.

The bed is long enough but the foot rest is a bit confined. The A350 Upper Class has a more conventional design, but from what I’ve heard the head space is smaller.

I’ve flown the 787 Upper Class a couple of times previously so nothings feels really refreshing of this flight. A friend of mine also did his A350 recently and I’ll see if I can get a report from him.

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