Virgin Atlantic (VS) Clubhouse LHR and VS 787 LHR-JFK

VS LHR Clubhouse

The 10+ hour flight from JNB arrived at LHR on time at about 8:30am.  It was a 10-minute walk to get to security for international connections at Terminal 3 and another 10 minutes to get through security although the line was not very long.  This was my first trip through LHR.  My previous flights to England went through Gatwick.  LHR, terminal 3 anyway, was pretty disappointing.   Just plain ugly.  It reminded me of LAX terminal 5 or 6 or JFK terminal 2.

It was a relief to get to the lounge.  I only had about two hours for this layover and wanted to enjoy  the lounge as much as I could.  The lounge is located above the American Admiral’s Club.  I wanted to take a peek inside there since I had access by virtue of the AA Executive Worldelite MasterCard if I had had more time.

The VS Clubhouse is accessed via a winding backlit staircase that looks beautiful and inviting.  On the other hand, it seems impractical for anyone carrying the stuff the average traveler lugs around an airport.  There is an elevator hidden behind the stairs.  Representatives are located on the second level outside the lounge to check for proper entry credentials.  I was entitled to enter by virtue of my Diamond Medallion status and the terms of the joint venture between VS and DL on trans Atlantic traffic.

Upon entering the Clubhouse you are greeted with a view of the bar and main seating area.

Clubhouse bar
Clubhouse bar

The lounge is quite large and there are many features so the map they provide near the entrance comes in handy.

Convenient Clubhouse diagram
Convenient Clubhouse diagram

My first stop was for a shower to get refreshed.  The showers are next to the Spa at the right  rear area of the Clubhouse.  I found the showers to be similar to what I’ve seen in other business-class lounges.

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I could have gotten a massage in the spa but opted to head for some food.  Virgin Clubhouses have real food and its all complementary.  I ordered eggs benedict and a bloody Mary from the waitress who comes around.

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The clubhouse has a wall-sized TV and comfy seating in the area they call the Theatre.

The Theatre
The Theatre

I think the Wimbledon tournament was showing.  All to soon it was time to head to the gate for the flight to JFK.

VS 787-9 LHR-JFK

I’ve been dying to fly on a 787 and this was my first chance.  VS flies a 787-9, which is the newest and largest of the 787 line to date.  I was surprised to see that VS individualizes it planes with nose art, a throwback to WWII days.

Birthday Girl
Birthday Girl

My seat on this flight was a bulkhead aisle seat in the first row of the economy section immediately behind premium economy.

Seat 31C
Seat 31C

Even though the row of three seats was full and a large man had the middle seat, I did not feel cramped as I had the aisle on my right and I could extend my legs fully into the premium economy section past the bulkhead.  The aisle was wide enough here so that my feet did not get run into by the carts the FAs moved up and down the aisle.

My seat was also comfortable because of the excellent U-shaped, built-in headrests on the economy seats.  These were the most comfortable headrests I have had on a plane.

VS 787-9 economy seats
VS 787-9 economy seats

The flight to JFK was only seven hours, which went by quickly and comfortably.  In the picture above you can see that the windows are larger than on other aircraft.  I should have gotten a picture of them when dimmed.  They get progressively bluer and darker with the turn of a button until it looks like night outside except you can see everything but just in a very dark blue tone.

We had one meal and a light snack on this flight.  The food was decent and satisfying.

Economy menu LHR-JFK
Economy menu LHR-JFK

Another nice feature on this aircraft was the heads-up display for flight following.  You can track altitude, heading, airspeed and attitude on a poliot’s-eye view display.  It was like being in the cockpit.

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