London to Antigua: Flying First Class with Virgin Atlantic

Writing about travel has it’s perks. I may never rake in a six figure salary, but I see so much value in the experiences and travel opportunities that my job brings. That’s one reason why, for me, it trumps any other job going. This week I flew to Antigua courtesy of Virgin Atlantic for my latest press trip to the Four Seasons in St Nevis. When I arrived at Gatwick for my 7am check in, my press ticket was upgraded to First Class (thank you Virgin!) This was my First Class experience…

The Airport Procedure 

Flying First Class with Virgin starts long before you step on the plane. From the moment you check in, you’re wrapped up into a world of luxury and exceptional service. After checking in at the Premium Economy & First Class check in bays, our tickets were given an extra silver ‘premium’ ticket, which granted us access to a private VIP route through security, saving us loads of time. Once through security, the VIP experience continues in the Virgin Atlantic Club House. Complimentary breakfasts, coffees and refreshments were on offer, but as we were tight for time we only had a few minutes to pop our heads in and check it out.

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Stepping on Board

From the moment I stepped on board, the First Class service was a whole different ball game to Economy, or even Business. I was welcomed by the cabin crew, shown to my seat and introduced to my personally-assigned air host Ben, who was to look after me for the entire flight. Ben gave me a ‘tour’ of my pod, explaining exactly how the seat and entertainment centre worked, before offering me a glass of champagne (at 8.45am no less!) Did I oblige? Of course I did. There was a bar in First Class serving unlimited cocktails, champagne and spirits upon request, but I actually stuck to water and peppermint tea for the majority of the flight. I also found a wash bag on my seat complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs and bed socks. Everything had been thought of and everything was covered.

image courtesy of www.mightytravels.com

Foodie Offerings 

One thing I couldn’t wait to try once on board was the food. Almost immediately after sitting down, my host Ben gave me the First Class menu to peruse, including a 3 course lunch, afternoon tea, drinks and cocktails. The foodie highlight was lunch; when they laid down the white table cloth and polished cutlery, I knew it was going to be good. With options such as Crayfish and Avocado on Melba Toast, Chicken Katsu Curry and Fillet of Beef, it was a menu fit for one of London’s top restaurants. There were 3 options for each course, as well as a ‘Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea’ menu, a playful twist on the classic afternoon tea which embodied the whimsical side of the Virgin brand perfectly. I opted for a Mozerella and Tomato Salad with Pesto Dressing, Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Sweet Potato and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Each course was delicious and perfectly accompanied by a (real) glass of Chablis and still or sparkling water. I was in my element.

My table setting came with a warm bread roll, salt and pepper and a glass of sparkling water.

My table setting came with a warm bread roll, salt and pepper and a glass of sparkling water.

 Sitting Back to Relax 

I’ve never understood why pilots tell you to ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the flight’ – until now. My seat reclined so far back I was almost horizontal, and that was before transforming the chair into the completely flat bed. A 3 course meal, 2 glasses of wine and The Wolf of Wall Street later, I was ready to convert my seat into a flat bed. The seat retracts in to make a flat mattress, big enough to stretch out completely on – perfect. I can normally never sleep on planes, so was interested to see if the flat bed and extra space would make a difference, and boy it did. The bed is quite firm and not like a sprung mattress, but with the luxurious cotton sheets, down-like pillows , ear plugs and eye mask, I had a deep sleep and was totally undisturbed for about 2 hours.

The Verdict?

Flying First Class with Virgin Atlantic was the ultimate luxury travel experience. The service was flawless from start to finish and I actually enjoyed every minute of my 8 hour flight to Antigua. Being in such comfortable surroundings meant that the 8 hours literally flew by and I stepped off the plain feeling refreshed and energised instead of groggy and achy (my standard symptoms following an Economy long-haul flight). Flying First Class is a huge privilege, but if you ever have the chance or are thinking of splashing out for a really special upcoming trip, I highly recommend you do it. And do it with Virgin.

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Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated landing in Antigua thanks to my First Class experience

What did you think of my First Class experience? Have you flown with Virgin before? Let me know what you think by commenting in the box below. I make sure I reply to every comment! Thanks x

Enjoyed this post? Read about my First Class Experience with Air Mauritius 

First Class interior image courtesy of www.mightytravels.com

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20 Comments

  1. Stephen Parry
    30th October 2014 / 12:42 am

    Oh wow looks absolutely amazing!
    When you checked in were they aware that you were on a press trip/you have a travel blog? Or was this a lucky encounter?
    Love your blog btw 🙂

    • 30th October 2014 / 10:40 pm

      Hi Stephen, thanks for your comment! I was actually upgraded as I was on a media press ticket so I think they were hoping I would write nice things!

      So nice to hear you like my blog, please do keep reading! I really appreciate it and lots of new Malaysia posts to come x

  2. 23rd October 2014 / 1:50 pm

    It looks amazing. One day I will fly first class I hope. Just found your blog via the Cosmopolitan awards- congrats! I am a popular family lifestyle blogger but just about to launch a collaborative travel blog and so am loving yours for inspiration. xx

    • 10th October 2014 / 7:32 am

      It really was Cindy 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment x

  3. 9th September 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Awesome, lucky you 😀 that sounds like a dream! I also cant sleep on planes and wonder if I ever have a seat like that I will be able to! I never flew with Virgin Airlines. Havefun at your trip 😀

  4. 9th September 2014 / 12:24 am

    Wow- it sounds amazing! Would love to travel first class one day!

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

  5. 8th September 2014 / 5:24 pm

    Wowza! Looks so amazing, I wouldn’t want to get off. Holiday on a plane? X

  6. 8th September 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Wow this sounds amazing! I definitely need to do a long haul first class flight one day to experience it all for myself. I have to say, Virgin are one of my favourite airlines anyway because they are so attentive and really do think of everything – even in coach! haha xx

  7. 7th September 2014 / 8:00 pm

    Wow, sounds and looks amazing. Definitely a way I want to travel one day! xx

  8. 6th September 2014 / 9:37 am

    That looks amazing! Especially the foodie bits!

    • 7th September 2014 / 12:44 pm

      It really was Hannah! I enjoyed every minute, particularly the foodie bits 🙂

  9. 6th September 2014 / 6:46 am

    One day…..one day! Maybe. Sounds fantastic!

  10. 6th September 2014 / 1:03 am

    I’ve only flown first class on American Airlines, usually their LA to London flight but this looks so much nicer! I especially like the idea of afternoon tea on board. So fun. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂

    • 6th September 2014 / 1:48 am

      Hi Lauren, thank you for your comment! That’s really interesting, how do you think the airlines compare? I’d love to know what First is like with AA. The Afternoon Tea was a really nice touch and something a bit different 🙂

  11. 5th September 2014 / 9:18 pm

    Not too shabby at all, I’m still reeling from the fact you get an actual glass (ha). Having an actual bed would be the other big luxury as well. Looks like you’re having a fantastic time and seeing your social media updates isn’t half making me want to book the next (economy for me) flight there!

    • 6th September 2014 / 1:47 am

      Hey my lovely! Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. The actual glass was much appreciated, as was the crockery, silver cutlery and cotton sheets! But whether you fly here Economy or First Class, St Nevis is an amazing place! Lots more blog posts to come xx