Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Review Part 2

Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Review Part 2

Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Review Part 2 1024 768 Joe Bleasdale

This is part two of my return trip to LAX on the Virgin Atlantic A350.

As I mentioned in part one, this trip was originally a Premium Economy trip. But I upgraded the outbound flight in the days before travel as a reward seat opened up. I was hopeful the same would happen for this flight as coming back from LAX is an overnight flight…

A few days prior to departure, a reward seat opened up so I swooped in and got the upgrade done. It was the same cost as the outbound flight, 33,700 points plus £230. Usually, inbound flights from the US cost less in terms of taxes & fees. But the cost of both upgrades + the YQ in the original ticket added up to the exact same YQ as a straight-up reward fare.

The details

  • Carrier – Virgin Atlantic
  • Aircraft – A350-1000 (Non-leisure config)
  • Route – Los Angeles to London Heathrow
  • Seat – 1D
  • Flight Number – VS8
  • Departure time – 17.30 local time
  • Arrival time – 11.30 local time
  • Ticket type – Premium Economy (K) upgraded to Upper Class reward (G)

Departure from LAX

I haven’t been back to LAX since before COVID so I was looking forward to seeing what had changed. And the answer is… everything. Virgin are now in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. That means different check-in, lounge and boarding. I believe this is temporary while there is building work in Terminal 2. But only the powers that be know what the plan is there!

Check-in was quick and there was no faffing around to be done because I’d done the upgrade prior to arriving at the airport. I tried to move seats to 1D (from 7D) but the check-in agent was having trouble because it was blocked. He didn’t know why, but I knew it was because that is where they would put a family with a baby. So I was happy to wait until check-in was closed and then they’d be able to unblock it with no problems.

Lounge at LAX

Virgin have a Clubhouse in terminal 2. But while this is closed, they’re using the Star Alliance lounge in the Tom Bradley terminal. It was ironic given the week of this flight; they’d just joined Sky Team…

The lounge is located on the sixth floor of the terminal overlooking the shops below.

Star Alliance Lounge Entrance LAX

The lounge itself was quintessentially Star Alliance. Big, sprawling and European. Virgin had no business being in there. Compared to their Clubhouse, this was a step-down. BUT despite being a step down, there was a decent bar, plenty of self service drinks and hot & cold food options.

Seating areas are varied. There’s a media room, library, restaurant, large roof terrace, indoor terrace that looks down on the terminal and a big selection of sofas to choose from. It was busy because a lot of the Star Alliance flights depart late afternoon, like the Virgin flight.

This was one of the first times that I decided to limit my time in the lounge and instead go to the gate early.

Star Alliance Lounge Self Serve Food

This was one of the first times that I decided to limit my time in the lounge and instead go to the gate early.

Star Alliance Lounge Main Bar

The boarding experience

I went to the gate early because I wasn’t a huge fan of the lounge and I needed to see about getting the seat assignment I wanted. Boarding was from gate 133, which was about 5 minute walk from the lounge. There was a queue for the gate agents, so I was glad I went down there early. There was lots of shuffling around. From what I could tell there was Economy to Premium upgrades going on and some people changing seats too. The gate agent had no problem putting me in 1D as requested.

Boarding itself was delayed by 20 minutes due to the aircraft (G-VTEA) being late on stand. This would also have a knock-on effect later…

Virgin Atlantic G-VTEA – Rosie Lee

The A350 Upper Class Suite

1D definitely felt more spacious than the seat I was in on the way out (4A). I think the D/G seats are more spacious than their counterparts.

I found getting the seat into a flat bed a bit difficult. There’s more faffing to do compared to the 787 because the 787 seat flips into a bed with a single button. But the A350 seat doesn’t work the same way. I found it a bit uncomfortable when fully flat, but a slight angle was good for me. The bedding was excellent, better than the bedding I’ve had previously. The pyjamas were good too. I actually keep sets of Virgin pyjamas for use at home I like them so much.

Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Suite set up for sleeping.

Legroom in the row 1 seats is better than the other seats. The footwell was huge. I’m not that tall, but had plenty of space for my feet. That’s a big improvement over the 787.

Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class Suite 1D Legroom

Inflight service

As the crew were late getting onto the aircraft, there was a clear issue around organisation. Menus were not at the seat like normal. No amenity kits were present either. I’m not sure if others got theirs, but I certainly didn’t. The Pyjamas were all on the shelf in front of my seat so I helped myself to my size before then ran out. I was glad I did because the crew didn’t offer me any either.

We taxied from the terminal straight down to Runway 24L and took off with minimal waiting – which is a change for LAX.

As this was a night flight, I wanted to eat quickly and then try and snooze for the remainder of the flight back.

The menu was as follows:


  • Smoked Salmon with Asian slaw, siracha mayonnaise, toasted sesame and micro greens.
  • Farro butternut squash salad, sweet potato puree, blanched asparagus tips, yellow tomato and frisee leaves.


  • Seared chicken breast with roasted root vegetable mash, wilted kale, thyme-roasted tomato and brandy cream sauce.
  • Slow-cooked pork shoulder, potato, swede and savoy cabbage gratin, bacon-wrapped green beans and creamy mushroom sauce.
  • Three-cheese ravioli with aubergine and tomato ragu, creamy cheese sauce and Italian grated cheese.


  • Crumble-topped apple and vanilla cheesecake.
  • Warm chocolate lava cake.

Cheese & port

  • American cheese plate consisting of Prairie breeze cheddar, Humboldt fog and Moses sleeper, served with grapes & crackers.

I opted for no starter, pork main and chocolate lava cake for dessert. Followed by the cheese course because, well… you just have to. All of it was lovely. Once dinner was over, I settled down to sleep.

Breakfast service

I woke up for breakfast before the crew woke me themselves. The breakfast menu was as follows:


  • Peach and ricotta crepe with peach coulis and bee pollen
  • Full English breakfast. Grilled sausage, streaky bacon, scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, sauteed potatoes and baked beans.
  • Eggs royale. English muffin, sauteed spinach, smoked salmon, baked egg and hollandaise sauce.
  • Warm streaky bacon roll with ketchup or brown sauce.


  • Chocolate chip swirl pastry
  • Skyr vanilla yoghurt served with or without granola

I think I’ve said this before, but I will say it again. Breakfast on planes almost always sucks. It’s a hard meal to get right in that environment. However, because I didn’t know if we were going to make it back in time for me to visit the revivals lounge, I opted for the Eggs royale. At least that way I didn’t land starving.


We landed back at Heathrow on runway 27L and taxied for a short while to terminal 3. Disembarking was quick and I was soon on my way to the revivals lounge. I was going to take a shower but decided not to in the end as I was limited on time. Instead, I had a quick breakfast and then headed off to Euston for my train home.

Bottom line

The A350 was fine. But in all honesty, I was expecting a lot more than fine. Especially in Business Class. I haven’t flown the BA Club Suite myself, but check out Chris’s report on that coming soon. Just based on what he tells me and pictures of the seat, I think the Club Suite probably has the edge over the Virgin product.

Both the outbound and inbound crews weren’t at the usual Virgin level of excellence. Combining that with my disappointment with the seat, I was left feeling underwhelmed by the trip overall. Virgin still has the magic flare that other larger airlines lack but I feel like the A350 seat needs some further refinement.

Let’s plan your next trip…

Find your next flight upgrade
Subscribe to
Reward Flight updates
Flight upgrade tips - straight to your inbox. 
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime and we promise not to spam or sell you credit cards.