|Virgin's In-Flight Walk-Up Bar|
Boarding the Upper Deck, the first thing you hit is the walk-up bar, where a bartender is pouring pre-flight glasses of champagne and Mimosas. I opted out and went to my seat to settle in. Sadly, I had intentions of heading back to the bar but never made it. Maybe next time. Regardless it was a total #InFlightFAIL.
|Upper Class Menu|
|Amuse Bouche: Pesto Puree with Breadsticks|
Sit down at your seat and you better hope you're hungry. Granted, service is spread out over about 8 hours, but there's a lot of pomp and circumstance before you even take your first bite. Flight attendants first need to set your table by pulling a hidden slot out of your cubby's wall, sliding it over your lap and adorning it with a cloth placemat, flatware, silver salt and pepper shakers, and cloth napkin. Need to get up during the amuse bouche, appetizer, dinner or dessert service? No problem. Just slide your table down towards your feet and you've got plenty of room to stand up. Very ergonomically correct, if I may say so.
|Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup|
|Thai Chicken Curry|
Once you're all set up, Virgin's service seemingly goes on forever. First, there's an amuse bouche -- ours was a pesto puree with breadsticks (above) -- followed by your choice of Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup (left) or Smoked Salmon for starters.
Need a cocktail with your food? Choose from a full bar of high-end liquors and spirits. then a main course selection of Grilled Filet of Beef, Thai Chicken Curry or English Pea and Mint Tortellini with assorted breads. Our flight had Rosemary Focaccia and Pumpernickel. One of each, please.
Don't forget wine pairings! Flight attendants come around with a four-pack wine carrier, offering up varietals like a Spanish Rioja, Italian Barbera, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Argentinian Malbec. How did I choose? Well, the last time I flew to London it was en route to Italy with Bryan, so I opted for the Italian varietal. Maybe it was the in-cabin pressure but it was delightful.
My Barbera was perfect with dessert, a warm chocolate and salted caramel pudding. It was eithe that or an apricot raspberry almond tart with creme anglaise.
Finally, it's time for bed. Your flight attendant makes that for you, too. There's a full-on mattress pad, sheet, fluffy duvet and pillow. You can adjust your personal TV screen to sit right in front of your face, providing in-flight entertainment until you lull yourself into dreamland. Better yet, if you wake up to use the restroom, your return to find your "bed" has been remade. I was a little surprised they didn't offer to tuck each passenger in.
When it's time to wake up, at least on the way back to LA, it's mid-day. That means no breakfast at 2pm. So what does Virgin Atlantic dream up instead? A full afternoon tea service. Flight attendants bring a cart to each passenger's pod and offer fresh tea as well as a overflowing selection of tea sandwiches and pastries. Better yet, the attendant arranges said goodies on individual tiered cake stands for each passenger. Our flight's sandwiches included ham and chutney, tuna and sweet corn, and cucumber with dill mayonnaise. A warm sultana scone came with refreshing clotted cream and strawberry jam while the "cake stand" included miniature chocolate eclairs, black currant and almond sponge cake as well as a selection of macarons. It was heavenly; in-flight gluttony at its best. Shortly after your afternoon tea service, your flight lands and you're wheeled off the plane about 20 pounds heavier. Not true, but I can say I was especially grateful for a long walk through Heathrow Airport to customs.
|Traditional English Breakfast at Heathrow's VA Upper Class Lounge|