Flying from Chicago to Dubai with a ~12 hour stop in London isn’t the most efficient way to get there, but I got a good value out of some old Delta miles that we had and we enjoyed our layover in Windsor and our time at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow. Still, another flight in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is a nice way go fly.
Virgin Atlantic A340-600 in Dubai
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on the A340-600
Our flight to Dubai would be on an Airbus A340-600. After the cool design but not very functional experience in Upper Class on the Virgin A330, I was glad to try a different seat, even if is their older product. The Upper Class cabin on the A346 is large, with 45 herringbone seats across 16 rows between doors 1 and 2. It was quickly apparent that the 1-1-1 configuration felt much less cramped than the A330 cabin. The flight was maybe half full in Upper Class.
Admittedly, mostly thanks to a great meal in the Clubhouse at Heathrow, I didn’t partake in the main meal service on the flight. After a short night and with jet lag majorly setting in, I wanted to take advantage of much of the flight to sleep and to help get acclimated to the time zone where we would be spending our vacation.
Virgin Atlantic A340 Upper Class cabin
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340-600 suite
We were seated on the right side of the plane, and in this part of the cabin, the middle seats face the other aisle, so it seemed very private. About halfway through the cabin the middle seat orientation flips, so the left side window seats are more private. Overall, the interior is classy, with mood lighting, and while it is not as fancy and new as on the A330, I much prefer this less crowded configuration.
Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Upper Class seat
The seat itself was noticeably wider than on the A330, that said, it was clearly an older generation, with a smaller IFE screen, older controller, and just more tired finishes. Since I mostly wanted to maximize sleep on this flight, this more comfortable seat definitely won out. The power adapter required a proprietary Empower plug, but the flight attendants offered adapters for universal plugs and USB.
Power adapter plus pre-flight champagne.
Before departure, I changed into pajamas. We were also provided an amenity kit. The container was different but the contents were identical to what we received on our flight from Chicago. I reviewed these Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Amenity Kits in an earlier post.
older-generation IFE controller
Virgin Atlantic A346 Upper Class seat controls
The pillow, mattress pad and duvet were already stored behind the seats, so once the seatbelt sign was off, my wife had her bed made right away. In fact, I think she did it herself. A flight attendant saw me getting ready for bed and offered to make my bed up. The seats don’t recline into a bed, rather the back flips down to complete the lie flat bed.
Bedding stored behind seats
As mentioned, I didn’t partake in the main meal service, opting for sleep, but just for reference I included the menu here, as it was different from the other flight I took from Chicago to London.
…and welcome. Whether it’s your first time on board Virgin Atlantic or you travel with us regularly, we’re delighted you’re with us.
Sleep might well be top of your list this evening. So why not choose a light snack, or something deliciously warming before you turn in? Then perhaps a chamomile tea or a nightcap, whichever you prefer.
We’ll also be round to offer you a luxurious plant oil pep-up to relax and revive you on the flight.
And of course when morning comes, we’ll be ready to set you up for the day with a tasty breakfast. Just tick what you’d like on your breakfast card and hand it to the crew.
If there’s anything else we can help you with, please let us know. We’re here to help make your journey a restful, refreshing treat.
Marinated prawns with Avruga caviar
Classic Nicoise salad
Italian tomato and basil soup (v)
Served with your choice of warm artisan breads
Cracked wheat finger roll
Wholemeal split roll
Sour dough vienna roll
(v) Dishes are suitable for vegetarians.
All fish served on our menu today have come from environmentally friendly, sustainable sources.
Roast chicken and gnocchi
Fillet of beef and sweet potato mash
Roasted sweet pepper (v)
Hot smoked salmon
Lemon curd sponge pudding
Strawberry creameaux pannacotta slice
Cheese and port
Be sure to save some room for cheese and biscuits after that pudding. Today’s choices are served with table water crackers
– Applewood wedge
At the bar
Pop by for crisps and savoury nibbles, plus sweet treats and chocolate. And a selection of seasonal fruit.
About one and a half hours before we land we’ll be serving up breakfast. All the delicious goodies available are listed on your separate breakfast card. Just tick what you’d like, hand the completed card to your crew member and we’ll do the rest. If you prefer a quicker and more simple breakfast, help yourself to cereals and hot drinks from the bar.
There again was a separate breakfast menu card intended to be turned in before sleeping. I didn’t do so, but just flagged down a flight attendant to order breakfast.
Create your perfect breakfast.
Fresh orange juice
Cereals/Fruit. A Good start.
Corn Flakes, Bran Flakes, Rice Krispies, Mueslik Maple and brown sugar porridge
Fresh fruit salad with yoghurt and granola
Pain au raisin
The full works
Free range scrambled eggs
Hash brown potato
Smaller appetite? Why not try:
Chicken sausage roll with Tomato ketchup or Brown sauce
The drink menu was identical to the offerings on our flight from Chicago.
Gardet Brut Premier Cru
2014 St. Véran, Rives de Longsault, Domaine des Deux Roches, Burgundy, France
2015 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa
2015 Wakefield Riesling Clare Valley, South Australia
2012 Uvaggio Primitivo, Lodi, Califormia, USA
2012 Chateau Cissac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut Médoc, Bordeaux
2011 Berrys’ Rioja by Bodegas Amézola de la Mora, Rioja, Spain
Cocktail and bar list
Sapphire South SIde
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Gentleman Jack Whiskey
Glen Deveron Single Malt Whisky
Grey Goose Vodka
Bacardi Carta Blanca
Taylor’s LBV Port
Amarula Cream Liqueur
Heineken and Tiger Beers
Orange, apple, cranberry and tomato juices
Britvic American ginger ale
Coke and Diet Coke
R. White’s lemonade
Regular and low-calorie tonic water
Still and sparkling mineral water
American, filter, cappuccino, latte, espresso.
Liqueur coffees with a shot of your choice.
Delicious hot chocolate
We are proud to offer a comprehensive ethical tea range from Jackson of Piccadilly.
Ceylon Earl Grey
Cranberry, raspberry, and blueberry
Sorry for the lack of photos from the service. I really just spent most of this flight sleeping. Flying short-ish redeye flights back to back is kind of rough, at least it is for me. Even with the wider seat compared to that on the A330, this configuration is still somewhat claustrophobic with high walls but I did sleep better than on the first flight. Quite possibly just due to being really tired.
Footrest and storage on Virgin Atlantic A346 Upper Class seat
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class pre-arrival breakfast
I did wake up in time for breakfast, and a passing flight attendant was happy to bring me something. I just had the Eggs Florentine. If I was more coherent when I woke up, and would have found my menu I might have ordered something else, but this was fine.
Breakfast before arrival
In all, I enjoyed my experience on Virgin Atlantic. It was a great use of some Delta SkyMiles that had been gathering dust from flights years ago. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge in London is wonderful. I think the flights were good, but not outstanding. The seats aren’t great, but the soft product is pretty good. I would like to try this product on a daytime flight, or maybe a longer trip so I could enjoy the experience a bit more, particularly to use the bar, etc.
Now that we were in Dubai, we booked an Uber to our hotel in the middle of the desert, for what would be a very unique experience at the Al Maha Resort.