Best travel portal on the web featuring best travel sites, travel packages, travel guides, travel tips, weekly travel newsletter, travel webcams, and much more!
August 25, 2010

Home * Travel Deals * Website of the Week

Webcams * Travel News

WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    London to L.A. on Virgin

HOUSE KEEPING: Remember when you click on the pictures in "Where's Johnny Jet," they will open up in another window. Just click the "x"(close) in each picture to get back to the newsletter. This should alleviate complaints about closing Johnny Jet. Thanks again for your support, and remember: If you book trips on the web, please go through (It will save you money).

Join Our Mailing List

Web Resources

Page 1 | 2 | 3 |

We were dropped off right in front of security. Naturally I picked the shorter line, which of course ended up being a longer wait because of a first-time traveler with a baby who had no idea you can’t bring liquids on board, and in England they are very strict with carry-on bags. Basically they have the same rules as the U.S. when it comes to the amount of liquids. Actually the Brits are the ones that started that rule, and guess who just happened to be in the Gatwick airport at the very moment it was implemented? Talk about a hassle—here’s that story.

Once I cleared security I made my way to Virgin’s check-in desk before the cut-off time, just like OJ used to run through the airport in the old Hertz commercials. I waited just a minute or two for an available agent and I was golden. Not only did I arrive just in time, but my space-available upgrade (that was arranged through a friend) went through. What a relief, and I was so excited to be flying Upper Class for the very first time.

In case you missed it, to get to London (from New York) I flew in Virgin’s Premium Economy. Here’s that slide show.

The agent informed me that they were already boarding, so I needed to go straight to the gate, but after I told her how much I’d heard about Heathrow’s Upper Class lounge she said, “It’s on the way, so quickly pop your head in.” I did. The host watching the door welcomed me and said, “You have time—they haven’t even started boarding Upper Class yet.” I celebrated by grabbing a cookie from the good-looking lunch buffet. Unfortunately, right when I sat down I heard on the PA, “Final boarding for flight 23 to Los Angeles” and I panicked like a rookie who was going to miss his flight. I hustled down to the gate with crumbs on my face only to find a long line waiting to board. What an idiot I am. Next time I will have to do a separate story not only about what a fool I am but about the lounge. I did notice its complimentary restaurant, spa, hair/nail salon, plenty of chairs, free Wi-Fi (the code is on the menu), and clean bathrooms. The design kind of reminded me of LAX’s Encounter restaurant with its space theme.

Not surprisingly, Richard Branson had a beautiful flight attendant welcoming passengers on board with a huge smile, like he does for all his airlines (Virgin America, Virgin Blue, V Australia…). I was shown to my seat, 4D, and although I had never flown Upper Class before I was still familiar with the seats because other airlines like Air New Zealand and Jet Airways (two of my favorite airlines) also have them. However, Virgin Atlantic had a five year exclusive from the manufacture for them but that deal is up.

On the Los Angeles route Virgin Atlantic flies an A340-600, which is a beautiful new wide-body plane with two aisles. Upper Class has a unique 1-1-1 configuration. That means passengers have their own personal space and don’t have to step over anyone. Love that! After seeing the 45 flat-bed pods I realized my seat wasn’t the best for someone traveling alone and wanting privacy. That’s because I was facing the folks across from me. The optimal seats for privacy are 3K to 6K and 8A to 17A. To get a better idea, see this SeatGuru link.

During boarding, Virgin had the music pumping and everyone was staring at one another trying to figure out who was a celebrity. I seriously felt like I was in the lobby of a South Beach luxury hotel over the holidays. But after boarding was complete, all that changed. The music turned off as soon as the door closed, the cabin lights were dimmed, and the passengers began reclining even farther down once airborne, so I couldn’t see anyone’s mug except for those directly across from me.

INTERESTING: I heard the gate agent tell the purser before they closed the door that we had 276 passengers and 13 crew on board.

The flight crew were personable, and I liked that before takeoff the flight attendants came by and personally greeted the passengers in their section, introduced themselves and explained the functions of the seat and its amenities. With her cute little English accent, my flight attendant told me that on my stool I would find my menu and amenity kit with eye mask, earplugs, socks, and toothbrush/toothpaste (they also have pens, lip balm, moisturizer, and stain remover for anyone who asks). She pointed out that in the side pocket of my seat was a bottle of water and headphones. She then asked if she could bring me a pre-takeoff drink.

FYI: They have pajamas, but according to my loud seatmate they aren’t offered freely anymore—passengers need to ask for them, which he and his buddies did.

The seat dimensions are 79.5-inch pitch and 22-inch width, and the seat turns into a lie-flat bed. To turn the leather-armchair seat into a flat bed, one needs to flip over the seat; usually the flight attendants do this. Behind the seatback are the duvets, pillows, and mattress-like pads.

DID YOU KNOW: The seats are so state-of-the-art that passengers can be reclined even on takeoff and landing?

Each seat has a huge table, which is perfect to get some work done, but the seat’s power port doesn’t accept common electrical plugs. Instead they have EmPower ports, which require an adapter. That was a bummer because I didn’t have mine with me, and I wasn’t going to spend $55 on another one from their onboard duty-free. Instead I worked til my battery died and then watched movies.

You won’t be bored in Upper Class—if you aren’t taking advantage of the fully flat bed you can enjoy a 10.4-inch screen and the entertainment system. This plane had the V-port system, which offers 300 hours of on-demand movies, TV shows, and music. There is also a choice of 14–20 video channels, plus 9–14 audio channels and 10–15 games, depending on the aircraft. There were so many movie choices that I decided to watch a couple travel-related movies (When in Rome and Leap Year). Other functions include live maps, games, news, and a kids’ zone—to keep them from screaming.

One reason to sit in a window seat (not that you can look out without turning your head 180 degrees) is so you can control the window shade. This was a day flight, which chases the sun, and everyone had the shades down so it was dark, making it difficult to fight off the jet lag.

Right after takeoff the flight attendants came around with hot towels, drinks, and potato chips served on china. When I told her all I would be drinking on the plane was water, she said, “Sparkling or still?” “Still, please.” “How would you like a tall bottle?” Now that’s service to me.

A few minutes later it was meal time, and the menu was as follows:

valid thru 8/19 - Economy Fare Sale - Prices from


  • Poached flaked salmon salad with avocado

  • or
  • Virgin Mary soup (they offered to pour a shot of vodka in it for a true bloody Mary experience)

    The bread choices were roasted red pepper, sesame, and poppy seed with olive oil or extra virgin olive oil and basil

  • Lavender- and garlic-infused lamb with crushed mint, new potatoes, green beans, buttered carrots, and thyme gravy

  • or
  • Braised flaked ham hock in summer vegetable consommé, topped with Y-Fenni cheese

  • or
  • Chickpeas, chile, and coriander cakes with cumin-roasted sweet potatoes

    All throughout the meal service the flight attendants came around with fine wines, and they didn’t push any annoying carts during service.

    I skipped the wide selection of cheeses and went straight to dessert, which was either clotted-cream cheesecake with strawberry compote or summer berry pudding with chopped pistachio nuts.

    They weren’t done there with the sweet stuff. Most people watched multiple movies, so they came around a couple of hours later with snack-size ice cream containers, either Kelly’s honeycomb or Häagen-Dazs vanilla.

    There were four seats at the bar—that’s right, the plane had a stocked bar at the rear of Upper Class—but every time I went back there the same three dudes were sitting around it hogging most of the seats. I didn’t care much since I was content with my seat, but when I saw some cupcakes (dark chocolate, cherry, or coffee and walnut) for tea time I had to reach over their shoulders to grab one. A few minutes later the flight attendants came around serving them to passengers in their seats. Like a good English tea, they had a variety of finger sandwiches (tandoori chicken, egg mayonnaise, or prawn mayonnaise) and warm sultan (raisin) scones with clotted cream and jam.

    Little bites, as they call them, were offered throughout the flight (chicken tikka masala, mackerel filets, and red Leicester and tomato focaccia) but I didn’t try any since my belly was already full enough.

    As you can see, 11 and a half hours in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class goes by way too fast, making the 5,440-mile flight from London to Los Angeles a complete joy. If I didn’t have the photos to prove it, I would’ve thought I was dreaming.

    1 | 2 | Click to continue >>

    Copyright 2010 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Pictures From

    The Trip


    Virgin Atlantic




    Boarding Time!


    Upper Class


    My Seat


    My Stool


    Amenity Kit


    Inside Kit










    Tons of Choices


    Live Map


    Our Route


    Pre-Takeoff Drink




    Salt & Pepper Shakers






    Virgin Mary Soup






    Moive/Snack Time


    Our Progress


    Music Time


    Upper Class Bar




    Tea Time





    This Newsletter is sent by permission only. If you wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription at any time, please login HERE. If you have any questions or suggestions please send message addressed to

    Join Our Mailing List
    Johnny Jet

    Amy L. Scott
    AboutPublicityNewsletter ArchiveMy MomPhotogalleryContactBlogSuggestions