BACKGROUND: Virgin Atlantic operates its Boeing 787-9 aircraft, daily between New Delhi and London Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic also flies this aircraft on routes such as Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Virgin Atlantic received its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2014, and now has 17 B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The aircraft on this leg features 258 seats and is configured with 31 Upper Class seats, 35 Premium Economy seats and 192 Economy seats.
BOARDING: Upper Class passengers enjoy priority boarding from a separate area, right next to the usual boarding gate. I was warmly welcomed on board by the flight attendants, who guided me to my seat. Immediately, I was offered a hot/cold towel, and a choice of drinks — water, orange juice or champagne.
THE SEAT: The Upper Class cabin features seat rows from 1 to 11 in a 1-1-1 configuration (A-G-K). I was in seat 4A, a window seat. The amenity bag was kept on the leg rest and contained an eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, eye cream, body moisturizer, lip balm, socks, pen and tissues. The seat also had a bottle of water. There was an 11-inch screen, and below it, there was a touchscreen remote, a universal plug socket and a set of headphones. The only discomfort for me was the drinks table placed at an awkward angle (one has to turn sidewards) to use it. The highlight was the seat getting converted into a fully lie flat bed. Not to miss their white cover blankets for the mattress and then a duvet and pillow for added comfort.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE: If you are a solo traveller, your best bet would be to choose one of the window seats along the sides of the aircraft. The best seats in the house are towards the middle of the cabin, away from the bar area, which could sometimes get noisy.
THE FLIGHT: It was a comfortable aircraft with large “Dreamliner” windows. The centre of attraction was the redesigned bar, which encouraged me to interact with the captain, flight attendants and a couple of friendly passengers. It featured four stylish high-stools and a comfortable space for approximately eight travellers to chill. This is quite a stress-buster on an 8 hour flight. I also opted for the on-board WiFi. (The cost of the internet is usually £14.99/ `1,457 for a 150MB pass). Food options ranges from starters to mains to cheese and port, and extra bites. I enjoyed the beetroot soup with the swirl of cream accompanied by a warm bread the most.
Cheese and spinach stuffed chicken breast, chicken rogan josh, Paneer bhurji and Tandoor lobster were some options for the main course.
VERDICT: A perfect pick for super luxurious and comfortable long-flight journey.