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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Terry February 2012
What the hell is wrong with some of you people ?

Leave Nalin alone - jesus its like mob rule here.

She has every right to complain if the basic standards were not met.

You lot in upper class are moaning about which type of champagne your

being served - so tell me how is that different ?

You get what you pay for, is the general consensus. So let Virgin

put the prices of your 'posh' flights up by £1000 per round trip. Then perhaps you CAN have better champagne !!

I have flown Virgin many many times. I always pay for my own ticket as I do not fly on business, and dont have the pleasure of letting a corporation pay for 1st class for me !! Or even a nice little tax avoiding scam to pay for it either !!

I always fly cattle class (For the reasons mentioned) and can honestly say that the standards have really dropped over the past 8 years, since I have flown with Virgin. The food has become worse than some of the 'horror airlines', and the aircraft are becoming tired and old.

Having said all that though, I am sticking with them as there are some parts of the Virgin experience that remain semi-decent value.

The stewards / stewardesses are professional and helpful as always.

I do not work for any airline - cheers

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BusinessClass February 2012
The new improved menu looks great - especially the cheese!
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andrew February 2012
Airlines actualy tend to make more money off Premium per square foot but they need the good hard Business Class product for bragging rights. Think about it - corporate flyers will be getting Upper for close to the price regular punters pay for Premium and they have all that extra weight and space for the same money - therefore - less profit.
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Shannon February 2012
I understand that people need to be responsible for their medical needs but, as the daughter of a woman who is a diabetic. Diabetes is a tricky disease and if the blood sugar is not stabalized, it can be fatal. As a company who caterers to a wide range of customers one might consider looking at various options to care for your customers regardless of class.
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SRL February 2012
Fantastic news VS thank you - recent improvements in the quality of UC food and wine are noticeable, these further changes notch it all up another degree. Well done.
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SRL February 2012
Not so simple as that Andrew, margin per square foot in PE is often reported to be higher than UC, but there are other factors to consider including RASM, loyalty and cost of sale, and that margin for a J fare class paying passenger (even on corporate discount) can be much higher than a PE one. Then of course there is the lure of J class flying through FC to consider ... some UC punters might fall into your category, but not all.
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SRL February 2012
So as I read it Nain was complaining because VS had not catered to her husbands specific dietary, related to a medical condition, needs. I agree with the other posters, that is not VS's responsibility it is her husband and her's. Like many posters with experience of people with diabetes, my father was diabetic, we never travelled without considering the effect of his condition and long flights - to not do so is to abrogate responsibility. That is what people object to, I believe. The sense that this comes with a dose of winging about unfairness between classes just adds to that - if you want a UC meal, book UC, simples.
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David February 2012
Corporate flyers are likely to be buying flexible fares which are far more expensive that the cheapest UC fare that a leisure traveler might buy.
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Gaurav February 2012
I have taken upper class flight from delhi to london heathrow and had worst experience. I am vegetarian since birth and never consumed meat for religious and my own beliefs. From their menu I have asked for vegetarian grilled sandwich and I was given sandwich by the air hostess and when I consumed I found the taste very different when I asked the air hostess she said she made a mistake and given me chicken sandwich. I was shocked and was not able to eat properly whenever I go out as they break the whole trust beacuse of their carelessness. I never expected this to happen especially when there are not many passengers in upper class.

When I complained I recd the apology letters and 8000 virgin miles so I rang back and talk to them and one of the attendant asked me why i didn't checked the sandwich i was eating. wow that was brilliant so I need to open every sandwich in future which says vegetarian and check if someone have placed meat in it. I was very disappointed the way they handled the complaint so I asked them to take the 8000 miles back as that was just an insult. I am not looking to take this matter to the court.

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Pete February 2012
Terry - Everyone has the right to complain, but equally everyone else has the right to point out when that complaint is unjustified. Not so much mob rule, but the majority don't agree.

Basic standards not being met? I don't think there's any question that Nalin got to her destination, and she was provided with the Economy service she paid for. Her whinge is that people on the other side of the curtain were getting a better service, and despite only paying £400 for her ticket, she thought she was entitled to that £4000 service. In fact, she seems to suggest either everyone should get that £4000 service for £400, or no one should get it. Perhaps she'd be happier in North Korea, one of the few places still hanging on to that kind of thinking. It is akin to saying there should be only one type of car, priced the same with no options or customisations available. There will always be a range of options at different prices to suit different budgets.

And I personally hate those throw away comments that everyone in the front of the plane has their ticket paid for by their business (and the tax scam comment is frankly insulting). I pay for my own tickets with my own money. I work hard to afford the occasional luxury. As others have said on this blog, I view the flight as much a part of my holiday as choosing a good hotel or nice resort. I'd rather have one great holiday every couple of years than a couple of mediocre ones twice a year. These are the decisions each of us has to make base on our income.

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Charlotte February 2012
Hi Davina,

I flew 2 years ago economy on a flight to Boston from the UK with Virgin and was presented with an ince-cream, which I thought was brilliant! seeing as most flights I have previously been on were the likes of easy jet, bmi and ryan air,I can't believe you would complain about getting a free choc ice?! how about paying £3 for a bottle of water? This is what Virgin are about, fun, and lively with brilliant service, Keep the good ideas coming Mr Branson!

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Pete February 2012
Gaurav, I am also vegetarian, and have encountered similar accidents to you. Not on an aircraft, but once in a restaurant and once at a party. On both occasions I have no-doubt that this was a genuine mistake on the part of the person serving the food, and whilst not a pleasant experience for a vegetarian discovering they'd bitten into a chunk of meat - it didn't kill me. And that's kind of the point; they're not doing it on purpose, and apart from a bit of temporary emotional upset, it's not actually going to do you any harm - so threatening court action seems a bit of an over-reaction in this case, do you not think?

Previous experience has taught me to be a little cautious, and so yes - I do tend to open up a sandwich, or look at the contents of pastry, or have a quick check what's under the pasta, before putting it in my mouth. If it looks a bit meaty, then I will double-check with the person that served it before eating. Personal responsibility, my friend.

So they sent you an apology and a gesture of 8000 miles? Sounds pretty good to me for a genuine mistake. At the restaurant they gave me a replacement meal for free. At the party my host was apologetic and topped up my glass. You seem to have a better deal.

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Gaurav February 2012
Thanks for your comment pete different people got different beliefs some of my frnd just opt for being vegetarian after being meat eaters for years for them eating by mistake wont make much difference. But for me it was a very big issue and still feel bad. I don't know about your case but after that incident I feel yes that it become to responsibility to check every sandwich or burger which i ask on the counter or says its vegetarian no matter if I look lunatic doing that because virgin atlantic staff was so irresponsible to serve right food. Its all about trust I don't expect someone in macdonalds would poison my burger and then I would get the blame that I didn't checked it before consuming. and eating meat for me was like eating POISON.
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VIRGINATLANTIC8 February 2012
more in Virgins hard product. They are investing in new catering onboard (from March one) http://blog.vtravelled.com/introduci...-meal-service/ And apparently the new 'suite' has passed certification.... no info released
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DavinaWorth February 2012
If you read what I said you would see I am not complaining about the ice cream, which I think is a lovely touch. I am saying it is ridiculous to make the cabin crew walk around the cabin with the usherette tray around their necks. There is no need for that as it doesn't add anything to the experience of flying it is very degrading for them. There is no comparison between EJ, Ryanair etc and Virgin!!!! I don't pay £0 to fly with Ryanair and expect an ice cream!!!!
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Patricia February 2012
But you are missing the point. Champagne is about taste not about price. We did a blind tasting with friends at Christmas and Lanson came out top against other champagnes selling at two and three times the price.
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February 2012
@Patricia - I don't think that's quite the point. With Upper Class seats costing well into the thousands of pounds, the cost per passenger of a minor vintage (Virgin could buy up the whole year) wouldn't be that much more than that of Lanson, and it would certainly carry a bit of style; a bit of cachet. Something _worth_ crowing about.

Lanson Brut Black Label's OK, but it's absolutely nothing special at all - and when I last looked, Upper Class was supposed to be something a bit special.

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AVard February 2012
The truth is, we all have a range of tastes. What might win a blind tasting contest in one's household might not be up to snuff in another's. I agree that Lanson is generally acceptable for a Christmas drink, but not when I (or my company) forks out £5k. The least that could be done is to buy a non-vintage Taittinger. On Emirates you get Vintage Veuve, which tells me they are making an effort.

I just don't know how Virgin can continue to get away with the "Your Airline's Either Got it Or it Hasn't" campaign when clearly they are scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of service and service offerings.

Jamie mentions that Lanson was on sale for 14.99 but remember when Virgin buys it, it's probably less than 10.00 a bottle.

In any event, I just think that as fares are increasing EXPONENTIALLY, Virgin could at least make more of an effort, besides the cheese cart. If you look at the YoY increase in Z class (for leisure) fares in the past two years, it's a staggering 20% more expensive to fly in Upper Class. And for what? Fuel prices are flat. We're paying for the increased insurance premium after the Icelandic volcano eruption, but that's about it. Step it up, Virgin. BA has. Which is why I've moved all of my business there.

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VirginAtlantic7 February 2012
Image – VTravelled
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chinaa February 2012
@Jon G i have also had this problem where there was no food on the flight! This was my first flight ever with virgin (sept 2010 NBO-LHR) and i was flying upper class. They sent out people to the local supermarket to buy snacks(CRISPS & PEANUTS) and the best part i was drinking tea out of a disposable cup, and i placed my rubbish in it. They didn't have any more cups for serving tea!

So no more tea for the remaining 8 hours of my flight, but there was enough booze to get you through it!

We did get an explanation letter before boarding.

I am now 2 flights away from GOLD membership!

Virgin is probably the airline out there and the food is great too

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chinaa February 2012
One more thing, please try and put most of the stuff (FRILLS) mentioned in the blog on the nairobi-london sector.
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BarbaraS February 2012
I am really looking forward to our 25th Wedding anniversary trip in June to St Lucia from Gatwick. We are flying Upper Class both ways this time. In January we came out Upper and back Premium. Both services were good and I thought that Premium had actually improved. As a Silver Flyer I was delighted to be offered first choice of the menu too.

We booked our UC flights in the Sale so got quite good value. My only regret is that I am having trouble spending the 90,000 airmiles I now have accrued.

I look forward to the improvements. Could you please extend the Whisper low-decible night service to Premium and Economy too? Everyone deserves their sleep whatever class they are flying in!

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Richard February 2012
I would imagine the reason he did not eat in the airport is that you are both too tight to purchase food prior to boarding in one of the many restaurants that are available. I have flown both Economy and Upper Class many times with Virgin and neither class meals portions are enough to fill you up.

You also need to remember that the upper class passengers are paying for this service. They in turn are also paying the majority of the cost which in turn subsidies the economy seats allowing them to be price competitive. Rather than complaining about the portion sizes - which are the same as they were before just on a smaller tray.

On another note - the sooner Virgin sorts out the in flight entertainment the better. Nearly every flight I have been on has had problems with it and needed restarting etc.

I have friends that are diabetic and they carry sweets with them 24/7 just in case. Virgin do sell sweets as part of their duty free offering but I would imagine you were too tight to purchase them at the risk of your husbands life!

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Gary April 2012
Ever heard of pre-booking a special requirements meal?
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Gary April 2012
All I can say is pre-alert the airline before travelling. Cabin Crew are there primarily for your safety & comfort onboard - not as medical pratiotioners. And think ahead by carrying emergancy supplies or eating before the flight.

If you require a different type of service pay for it - just as others do to travel in Upper Class.

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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.