The best Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seats

Aug 30, 2020

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If you’re flying in business class, you want to make sure you’re sat in the best possible seat to maximise your travel. That can be hard, however, as different airlines offer incredibly varying products. And to make matters even more confusing, some airlines offer different products within their own fleets.

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While some airlines operate four classes on some of their long-haul jets, Virgin Atlantic opted for three: Upper Class (business class), Premium (premium economy) and economy. Virgin currently only operates long-haul routes using wide-bodied aircraft — each one complete with an Upper Class cabin.

Related: A350 suite showdown: British Airways’ Club Suite versus Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite

But next time you find yourself with an Upper Class ticket, you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected the best possible seat in the cabin. To learn more about Virgin’s Flying Club, you can read our guide here.

In This Post

Which aircraft offer Upper Class seats?

  • 10 Airbus A330-300s
  • 9 Airbus A350-1000s
  • 17 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners

Upper Class can be found on all of Virgin’s aircraft, but the brand new Upper Class Suite is currently only on its A350-1000s. Routes flown by this aircraft will boast the most updated, modern version of the airline’s Upper Class. In an interview between Brian Kelly and Virgin CEO Shai Weiss, he discussed plans to retrofit the Boeing 787-9s with the same Upper Class Suite, but not before the arrival of the 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft that Virgin has on order.

Best seating strategy for Upper Class across all long-haul Virgin Atlantic aircraft

Top picks: Number one, without doubt, is the Upper Class Suite onboard the A350s. Not only is it the airline’s newest, safest and most environmentally friendly aircraft, but it also boasts the newest, most comfortable and most modern airline seats of the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet.

A Virgin Atlantic A350 on approach (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A Virgin Atlantic A350 on approach (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There are two common problems that come up time and time again with Virgin Atlantic seats in Upper Class. The first being that the window seats on the Airbus A330-300s and 787-9 Dreamliners (rows A and K) actually face inwards into the cabin, rather than out of the window. So, if you like to spend your time in-flight gazing out the window, then you might end up with a stiff neck by the end of the flight.

Related: How to pick your perfect aeroplane seat

The second thing that is often discussed is that the seats on the A330-300s and 787-9s only offer a small recline in the seated position and need to be manually taken apart and turned into a bed by the crew.

Best Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seats on an Airbus A330-300 and a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Top picks: 2A-5A

Though these two aircraft are very different in many ways, the layout of their Upper Class cabins is pretty much the exact same. They both have 31 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with a bar at the back of the cabin. The major difference is that the bar on the A330 is perpendicular to the fuselage whereas on the Dreamliner, it’s parallel to the seats in row K.

Related: 6 features that set the 787 Dreamliner apart from the rest

Onboard both aircraft, row A is the place to be. The main reason being that each seat faces the back of the seat the row G in the middle, giving the illusion of slightly more privacy.

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

The reason we suggest seats 2A-5A rather than starting at 1A, is because this seat looks onto the galley and therefore might be noisy and less private than if you sit a few rows behind. There is also a bassinet directly opposite 1A, meaning you might be sat opposite a baby for your entire flight.

Another point worth noting is that service is generally started at the front of the cabin, meaning the farther back you sit, it could take longer for you to get those all-important food and drinks.

(Image courtesy Virgin Atlantic)
Seat map of an Airbus A330-300 (Image courtesy Virgin Atlantic)

Towards the front of row K isn’t a bad second choice, the main difference being that the seat is less private and has a view of other passengers’ feet.

Seat map of a Boeing 787-9 (Image courtesy Virgin Atlantic)

Best Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite on an Airbus A350-1000

Top picks: 1A and 1K

As per Nicky’s review of the Upper Class Suite on the A350, you’ll probably be happy with any of the seats you sit in on an A350-1000 as “there was really not a bad seat in the house, although Row 1 definitely had an edge, as its footwell was larger than in other rows.”

However, for an added feel of privacy and those views that we live for, any A and K window seat is slightly better than a D or G seat.

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)
Seat 6A onboard Virgin’s A350-1000 (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

It might be worth noting that the Loft, an area that was designed as a social hangout to replace the bar, is situated at the back of the cabin. This could mean that those sat in row 11 and maybe 10 and 9 might find passengers toing and froing from the Loft, and maybe being rather loud and chatty while they’re there.

(Image courtesy Virgin Atlantic)
Seat map of Virgin’s Airbus A350s (Image courtesy Virgin Atlantic)

Bottom line

If you’re spending your cold hard cash or splurging your stash of Flying Club miles on an Upper Class ticket, then there are definitely a couple of decisions to make before you click that confirm button. Double-check which aircraft operates the route that you’re about to book. Most of the time, the aircraft type will be written in the flight details while booking. Once you know what your options are, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about the seat you’d like to sit in — happy flying!

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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