Our Experience

Introducing Our Best Ever Upper Class Meal Service

by Moderator February 2012 - last edited January 2013 by Moderator

On 1 March, Virgin Atlantic will start serving a brand new Upper Class meal experience, the result of two years extensive research, design and on board trialling.

At the heart of everything we’ve been doing was the desire to create something that was always in tune with your body clock, no matter when and where you’re flying with us. We’ve put a huge amount of thought and energy into perfecting a new meal experience that we think you’re really going to love.

If you’ve travelled with us in Upper Class since November 2011, you’ll have noticed a few changes already, including new crockery and cutlery. This was just the beginning.

On boarding the plane, the first thing you’ll notice is your preflight glass of Lanson Champagne or Bucks Fizz has been given a make over. With our fabulous champagne coupe glass, we’ve created a new Virgin Atlantic icon from an old favourite. Made famous in the golden age of Hollywood, it's the perfect way to toast the journey ahead.

 

Your pre-flight glass of Lanson Champagne

Your pre-flight glass of Lanson Champagne

 

The new Upper Class menu is the best way to discover exactly what we’ve got in store for you during your flight. You’ll find your menu on your ottoman when you board, or our crew will hand it to you when they come round to introduce themselves once we’ve taken off.

Then it’s time for the pre-dinner drinks service, with all your old favourites served in our brand new glassware. Plus there’s a new choice - our regularly changing signature cocktail. We’ve always been famous for our cocktails, and now you can enjoy our special selection onboard too.

 

Enjoy our special cocktail selection onboard

Enjoy our special cocktail selection onboard

 

The meal service boasts a number of new features including a modern table setting using designer linen and elegant, specially designed crockery and cutlery. You’ll also find a special, new addition to your table setting. We’ve waved goodbye to our Wilbur and Orville salt and pepper shakers and created a brand new Virgin Atlantic icon, our mini cocktail shaker. It snaps in half to form individual salt and pepper pots, and we now use crushed peppercorns instead of finely ground pepper.

 

Our new salt and pepper mini cocktail shaker

Our new salt and pepper mini cocktail shaker

 

When we start serving your meal, you’ll notice the quality of our food has been enhanced using a delicious, improved selection of produce. There are also a few special surprises, but we’re going to save those until you get onboard.

We’ve replaced the Freedom menu with our new Graze menu, available on selected flights. If you’re not really in the mood for a full meal, the Graze menu offers a choice of delicious snacks you can order to your seat whenever you like.

 

Order delicious snacks to your seat

Order delicious snacks to your seat

 

On our shorter night flights from destinations like New York and Boston, you’ve probably already dined in our Clubhouse and would rather focus on sleep. Our specially created express or supper menus still offer a delicious selection of food to enjoy on board, with faster service so you can really maximise your sleep time.

If you’re travelling with us on a day flight, like our London Heathrow to West Coast USA services, after dessert, you’ll enjoy a visit from our fabulous new cheese trolley. Choose from a delicious selection of cheese, biscuits, fruit and chutneys, and wash them down with a glass of port. On shorter nighttime services, you can still enjoy a specially prepared cheese plate instead of dessert.

 

Enjoy a specially prepared cheese plate

Enjoy a specially prepared cheese plate

 

On flights where we serve afternoon tea, the new afternoon tea trolley is our pièce de résistance, and it really is a sight to behold. We’ve brought a truly British tradition on board, complete with finger sandwiches, a delicious selection of cakes, and scones with jam and clotted cream. We’ll fill your very own stylish mini cake stand with whatever you choose, served with fresh cafetiere coffee or a selection of fine teas.

 

The new afternoon tea trolley

The new afternoon tea trolley

 

If you’re on a flight where we offer a Full English Breakfast, this is now completely customisable, so we’ll make your breakfast to your requirements. And because of the way it’s prepared, we can now offer completely meat free Vegetarian English Breakfasts too.

On certain flights where sleep is a priority, we now offer an Express Breakfast. If you’re an early riser, there’s a tasty selection of cereals, bagels and bacon sandwiches. If you’d prefer to sleep in, we’ll offer you a choice of cold items that you can enjoy right up until we land.

Our Graze menu, the cheese and port trolley, afternoon tea trolley, Full English Breakfast and our Express Breakfast options are only available on selected flights. Depending on the time of day and length of your flight, you’ll be offered afternoon tea, breakfast, express breakfast or our Graze menu as a second meal before we land. The best way to discover exactly which services are available on your flight is in your Upper Class menu.

Enjoy!

To book a flight with Virgin Atlantic, visit www.virginatlantic.com


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Comments
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Nalin February 2012
I am so glad that you are taking so much care for the upper class travellers. In December 2011, we took Virgin Airlines to Dubai from London Heathrow, expecting a lovely flight with amazing inflight service. There were no welcome drinks and the obligatory peanuts or Yuk pretzels, as the flight took off late. When finally they got their act together after crashing the whole planes' computers, they rushed out our meals. The food was not enough as the tray size has become much smaller. My husband is a diabetic, and was really looking forward to eating on board, and so he did not fill up at the airport lounge. He nearly went into a hypo (v. low sugar) - and all they could offer him was 2 cans of coca-cola and a few pretzels. For an Airline which boasts all the above services for their upper class meal service, one Economy passenger my husband was not privy to a single bit of their meal when he needed it. First of all, there should be some emergency food mostly Carbs for passengers with Diabetes. Your portions were really very small and were not enough to last the flight through. There were no in between snacks to keep us busy through the three screenings of films. Out of £350 - 400 air ticket per person can Virgin not afford better food for their customers? My husband and myself are very upset at this kind of segregation between the haves and the have nots. We are no more using our American Express Virgin Atlantic cards to collect your pithy points as we will not travel in your airline any more. The advertised surprises were not there ie the swizzel stick (who cares now!) nor the sweets. When we see the flight attendants bored downstairs and itching to disappear as soon as they can to the upper decks, i would rather fly a bucket airline as we will not be made to feel second class. Let Richard Branson fly your economy once and come back to me.
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Pete February 2012
Nalin,

Sorry to hear you had an unpleasant experience. But - seriously - if you're husband is a diabetic, surely you'd think about taking something with you?

So you're now bitching about how you didn't get the Upper Class treatment in Economy? Sorry, but if you want the frills at the front of the plane, you have to pay for it. You paid, as you state, £350-£400 for your tickets. Well once the taxes and fuel surcharges are taken off those prices, the airline is left with about £55 to service everything else. Not much. But even within such a tight budget, they manage to provide free drinks and a meal service. Sorry it wasn't a sumptuous buffet with a tea tray, but you're being unrealistic if your perception of Economy travel should be anything more.

You don't like the segregation between the haves and have-nots? Ryanair's booking number is 0871 246 0000. It'll cost you 10p per minute, mind, and there won't even be a whiff of a free yuk pretzel.

Some customers simply aren't worth keeping.

(I don't work for Virgin, BTW, but I do rather enjoy flying with them whenever I can).

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February 2012
Hi Nalin, Sorry to hear you and your husband may not have enjoyed your last trip with us. Just to clarify, our economy meal service that was introduced last year consists of the same amount of food, if not a bit more, than our previous meal service. It is just distributed differently during the flight to give more space on your table while eating. Unfortunately there is limited storage facilities on an aircraft so we are limited in the amount of provisions we can store on board. If any passenger has a medical condition that requires provisions on a regular basis, it is advisable for passengers to carry their own provisions to maintain their condition on a regular basis as our meal services on board are structured in an effort to maintain meal and sleep patterns for the majority of passengers on board. It's a shame to hear you may no longer be inclined to support us. I'm sorry if we let you and your husband down but it would be a shame to judge us on this one experience. I hope, in time, you will have a change of heart and that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you on board again to have a better Virgin experience. Greg
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davecirulis February 2012
Here Here, been saying this for a long time! Virgin standards in economy are going down the tube faster than a rat up a drainpipe. Have also decided no longer to fly with them Mr branson really COULDNT CARE LESS about us Economy passengers as he doesnt make enough money out of us does he??? care to comment Mr Branson..... I thought not!
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DavinaWorth February 2012
Did your extensive research also say your cabin crew need to wander around the economy cabin wearing an usherette tray giving out ice creams??? Whoever came up with that idea were actually joking you know!!

Whilst the new economy service is better the above was a very silly idea.

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LeeJones February 2012
I agree with pete, i fly virgin whenever i can as in my opinion they are the best around. I do not fly economy as it doesnt suit my needs for a flight. I will only fly upper or premium if i have to. I am type 2 diabetic and as such i always take food with me incase i need it, your husband is just plain irrisponsible to not have done so. I have only ever had 1 bad flight with virgin and it was an old plane with old seats which i was very upset about due to always having the new seats in the past. Upper class flights cost £4000 compiared to your £400 so if im paying this dam right i want alot more than you would get in cattle class. Pay the money get the service thats how it works in all aspects of sales.
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LeeJones February 2012
On another note virgin please can you get rid of the old seats on vs044 to vegas im fed up of getting them in premium on this route only....give me the purple ones please.
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JamesMcAlpine February 2012
I travel to Vegas at least once a year and used to always go with Virgin . The last time I went i never got a meal or snack or drink NOTHING ! ! ! I couldve had something i wa alergic to but the choice we got was one thing or nothing AND no apology . BA all the way now .

Shame as I loved Virgin . Might go back but doubt it .

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February 2012
@Nalin - I flew a couple of 10.5hr legs with Virgin in January: one in Economy; one in Premium. I thought the food was exceptional for the price, and the service excellent.

Pete's comments are absolutely on the money.

If you have a life-risking medical condition, it is YOUR responsibility to manage it. I'm sure the Virgin cabin crew will do their best to help, but you really can't expect them to provide Upper Class service to an Economy passenger, nor to have appropriate supplies for any possible medical emergency their customers may suffer. Just out of interest, did you or your husband notify Virgin well in advance that he was an insulin-dependent diabetic?

Diabetes is a predictable condition. By regular blood glucose measurements, by appropriate administration of insulin, and - note this carefully - by careful dietary management (including always carrying high-carb emergency supplies and glucose paste), it can be controlled to that hypos and hypers are rare, mild and easily dealt with before they get out of control.

Take responsibility for yourself: don't lash out at others when YOU fail.

And don't expect to get the sun when you pay for the moon.

I'll echo Pete's closing comments: you'll find a much more enjoyable travelling experience on ANY airline if you aim to be a passenger the cabin crew welcome on board, not one they welcome off.

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James February 2012
Well said pete.
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February 2012
@Lee - Amen to that! My understanding is that the Gatwick fleet is being refreshed this year (see the Press Release at http://bit.ly/virgin-lgw-refit) - and not before time!

As a regular business traveller to Vegas, I've thought for a long time now that VS's LGW fleet is treated as the poor country cousin to the flagship LHR service.

It would be really nice if, sometimes, us Gatport Airwick VS flyers got something nice first for a change!

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leejh February 2012
Have travelled with Virgin a few times - I agree economy is totally and utterly rubbish - but for long haul they are quite cheap so I guess you get what you pay for
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AVard February 2012
I have to say that the quality of Upper Class has taken a turn for the worse. Serving Lanson Champagne (regularly on sale at Tesco for 20 pounds) is not what I expect in a business class product. The food, while Virgin is trying to take clear steps, is also seriously lacking. There is no taste. There is nothing to look forward to, and for several thousand pounds, it's not adequate. I take 20+ business class flights per year (paid) and I've left Virgin for these reasons. You get a 'limo' and a private security channel, which is fantastic, but that's it. Everything else is premium economy level of experience at best. And the flight crew call me 'mate' which is completely unacceptable. I'm not your friend, I'm a premium passenger.
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Howard February 2012
Hi Nalin,

Have to agree with Pete on this one.

ALL airlines, not just Virgin make their routes achievable on the backs of the business class customers FACT! We were upgraded to business from economy about 9 years ago as the carrier had made an error with our seats and after seeing how good it was, have travelled Business ever since.

Yes it IS expensive but to me and my familly it IS part of the holiday, as important as choosing the right hotel.

You quote a ticket price of £350 - £400 which would be an average Economy price to the States, we are going to LA in April and the return Upper Class ticket with Virgin was just over £3000 each!

I can't believe the mentality of some people that want everything and don't want to pay for it. I believe the service from Virgin is second to none, we have friends who frequently fly Economy on Virgin and are more than happy!

I guess you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Well done Virgin, looking forward to our next flight with you in April.

(I also do NOT work for Virgin)

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February 2012
I'd be interested to know who you rate better for trans-Atlantic travel - for my money, VS wins hands-down at the moment.
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February 2012
James, that's extraordinary! I've known VS run out of veggie meals before now (not in the last decade, though), but nothing to eat or drink at all, on a 10-11hr flight??? That's (literally) unbelievable - I can't imagine they'd start the push-back until catering was loaded; I've never heard of _any_ trans-Atlantic airline _ever_ doing that.

Was there any explanation given?

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JohnnyT February 2012
The new food service looks and sounds amazing! I have flown several times in economy, and have two return trips to LAX in the next 6 months (one is in 9 days!), both booked in premium economy. Perhaps for my next trip I will finally have enough miles to upgrade to Upper Class so I can experience the Heathrow Clubhouse and try some of this in-flight food.

Also, just one comment- I agree with Davina, what is with the ice cream service? Flying to/from London, in the middle of winter, the last thing I want is an ice cream. It's a nice gesture, but perhaps the timing is off.

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JamieJ February 2012
Hi.

I must admit the Afternoon Tea trolley looks good. It is the same product as BA only the delivery is different.

However LANSON?

I flew with BA last week and whilst not up at the top of the Champagne Stakes, was served Tattinger pre-take off and in flight. It was served in a normal glass not a gimmicky one.

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JamieJ February 2012
Lanson was on sale for £14.99 last week.
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PeterT February 2012
All, let's not forget this was a press release regarding the new Upper Class service which I'm privileged to enjoy on a regular basis. Yes, Virgin had slipped behind BA, but the game is to leapfrog ahead, and that's just what they've done; well ahead of BA so well done Virgin, as usual!!! With two trips to complete before the new service launches I'll have to wait until 6th March to experience the new service. Now Virgin, please just get rid of the A340-300s on the Washington route and I'll be very indebted!
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Chris February 2012
Really Nalin? How irresponsible of you not to plan ahead for your husbands condition! Mind you reading your long winded petty whinge you come across as the type of person who would complain about anything. Where did you fly for 400 quid? Your back door? Lucky the crew didn't ask you to wash the pots.

Having travelled with many airlines Virgin top the list in both Upper Class and Economy. You get what you pay for!

I may be totally wrong here but is your Husband's illness due to him being overweight as a lot of diabetes sufferers are? Maybe that is why the portions were not filling?

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Nick February 2012
I totally agree with Chris's comments. I have flown many times with Virgin using all classes and you have to expect to get what you pay for. I am diabetic and would never put myself in a position of relying on something suitable being on-board. Having said that, I have always found something suitable to eat, regardless of which class I was travelling in.

An airlines prime responsibility is to get you safely from A to B, and not pamper to someone who is not prepared to take responsibility for their own special requirements.

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JamesMcAlpine February 2012
Jon they said because they were running behind and could only fit in 75% of the catering to make up some time . That was the last time I flew with them as I couldnt believe my ears when they spouted that rubbish at me .
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Loulou February 2012
Just got back from Antigua travelling with VS, and not impressed!!! Aircraft old, IFE not on demand which you get with BA, EK and most of the other biggies, when will they put better a/c on the LGW routes??? New??? meal service in economy, messy especially on return when you seemed to have to wait ages after they had cleared in for your coffee. Drinks, small less than half full glasses of wine, crew disinterested in pax needs, more interested in what they were going to do down route, and on the return no spirits??? they appeared to have run out,hope they had some stored for upper class. I asked for a Bloody Mary and the pax in front of me a G & T both told same thing!! unbelievable!!!

Think the Cabin crew must have eaten and drunk all the food and drink, judging from the size and look of some of them, didn't look the adverts on tv!!!

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NewUCcatering February 2012
UC catering document.write(''); http://blog.vtravelled.com/introduci...-meal-service/ I like the look of the cheese and afternoon tea trolleys. __________________ My first TR:
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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.