FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Virgin Atlantic, Upper Class

Dec 18, 2013
2014 / January 2014

On the Ground: Arrival at Heathrow’s T3 via the Heathrow Express was fast and efficient, followed by an expedited check-in at Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class desk. I was ushered through the private security line and was quickly on my way to Virgin’s Clubhouse. I had purposely arrived early in order to enjoy the spa services at the in-lounge Cowshed Spa — some of which are offered on a complimentary basis, including a 15-minute seated back massage, a 15-minute facial and several hair services with Bumble & Bumble products. There are also full shower facilities and spacious bathrooms.

I followed my massage with a late breakfast. There’s an impressive buffet and full table service from an extensive menu of cooked-to-order foods. Though too early in the day for a drink, I couldn’t help but admire the impressive central bar and made a point to explore the other areas of the lounge. These included a soothing area with seating around a Japanese water wall; a den with a massive television screen; a quiet viewing deck overlooking the runway; and the impressive Grey Goose Loft Bar with a gorgeous skylight, located at the top of a white marble stairway.

Pre-Flight: From the moment I boarded, I felt as though I were the only passenger on the plane. Slightly cheeky touches include a somewhat irreverent safety video, a soothing multihued lighting system and a flight deck separation wall embedded with sparkles. The courteous and friendly flight attendants were very attentive without being overbearing and seemed to enjoy being on board as much as I did. I was escorted to my seat, offered my choice of beverage, and asked if I required any assistance settling in or storing my carry-on bag. An amenity “snooze pack” was delivered and, though it appeared to be made of a rough gray felt, I later learned it was made from recycled plastic materials. The perfect size for storing an iPad, it contained the usual components along with a handy shoe bag.

In-Flight: The Upper Class cabin (with leather seats) is configured so that each suite is angled rather than facing directly forward, allowing direct access to the aisle. A wide ottoman serves double duty as a guest seat and storage space. The personal television can be angled for comfortable viewing, with the seat adjusting to a variety of angles. The touch-screen entertainment system has a multitude of choices, including the best graduate short films from the National Film and Television School.

Lunch was served about an hour into the flight, beginning with an English ham hock salad, barley and vegetable broth soup, and a selection of warm breads. There were four main courses, and I went with the Thai green vegetable curry served with jasmine rice, which I enjoyed with a French Viognier. Dessert choices were a chocolate salted caramel pudding and a British strawberry and custard tart. Following dessert, a cheese trolley made the rounds, along with Ports and dessert wines. There was also the option to skip lunch and simply graze from lighter menu choices or select items from the cabin’s galley bar at any time during the flight. A traditional afternoon high tea was served about an hour and a half before landing and featured a variety of fresh sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and beautiful cakes and tarts.

Following lunch, I requested turndown service, and one of the cabin attendants made up my bed with soft linens, a fluffy duvet, a full-sized pillow and an impressively thick mattress. I was offered a sleeping suit and slippers but declined. The fully flat bed stretched out to 79.5 inches, more than adequate for my 5-foot, 4-inch frame. I slept for several hours, awakening to the scent of warm scones.

The Experience: Virgin’s commitment to delivering outstanding customer service was evident in every aspect of my pre-flight and in-flight experience. Even the weather cooperated, with barely a bump across the Atlantic.

GT CHECKLIST

  • Less than 10 minutes for check-in
  • Friendly and helpful agents
  • Priority tagged baggage
  • Airport lounge
  • Complimentary in-lounge food
  • Priority boarding
  • Helpful and courteous flight attendants
  • Pre-flight beverage service
  • Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
  • Extensive on-demand entertainment
  • Amenity kits
  • Slippers
  • Lie-flat seat/bed
  • Turn-down service
  • In-flight menu with three entrée choices
  • Top-shelf wines and liquors

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
May 20, 2022

Accor Announces New Zealand Shores as Latest Destination for Mövenpick Brand

Mövenpick, Accor’s premium Swiss-born hospitality brand, officially launched its first property in New Zealand. Situated in Auckland, Mövenpick Hotel Auckland sets a new standard in the world of hospitality with unique and exciting amenities and a warm, contemporary design found throughout the property.

TAP Air Portugal’s Porto

When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.

Daily
May 20, 2022

Turkish Airlines Updates Amenity Kits with Coccinelle, Hackett Brands

Turkish Airlines offers premium travelers something new. After signing an agreement with fashion brands Coccinelle and Hackett, the carrier introduced redesigned premium amenity kits for its business-class passengers flying eight hours or more on long-distance flights. The new kits were introduced April 29.

Daily
May 20, 2022

3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations One Hour from Lisbon

Lisbon’s popularity has soared in recent years, but within an hour’s drive of Portugal’s capital city, lots of quiet towns and interesting regions that are still somewhat off-the-beaten path await.

TAP Air Portugal: 77 Years Young

TAP Air Portugal, or rather Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, was founded 77 years ago, March 14, 1945, and flew its first commercial flight September 19, 1946, inaugurating service from Lisbon to Madrid, Spain, aboard a Douglas DC-3.

Daily
May 19, 2022

This is NEOM

Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing a bit of a transformation, repositioning itself as a tourism destination and debuting new developments and attractions. While perhaps not a “development” or “attraction” per se, NEOM is one of these new initiatives — but one beyond many of our wildest dreams. NEOM, a special economic zone within the country of Saudi Arabia, has been dubbed “a vision of what a new future might look like” and “a city of the future.”

eFlyer News
May 18, 2022

California Welcomes New and Improved Hilton Hotels

California invites visitors and locals alike to experience some of Hilton’s newest hotel openings and renovations this year. Set to debut this fall, Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton lies between Malibu, and Santa Barbara, in Oxnard, California. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation and conversion, the resort will accept reservations beginning Oct. 1.

Celebrity is celebrating Spring with 25% off Cruise Fares!

There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*

eFlyer News
May 18, 2022

City Experiences Announces First U.S. Food Tour, Expanding Offerings in New York City

City Experiences recently announced its first U.S. food tour offered exclusively by the award-winning, international tour provider Devour Tours. This addition sees City Experiences further expand its offerings in New York City.