March 31, 2014

Edinburgh and London in style: Part 1

Virgin Atlantic Little Red plane flying to Edinburgh

What could be more luxurious than exploring Edinburgh and London in style – from the moment you step on board your flight? Ro-Shana, Sure Online Ticketing Supervisor, found out just how fantastic it is flying in style - in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class (business class) and their Little Red (domestic) service on the first leg of her stylish adventure…

“I was asked to join a group of travel agents to go on a familiarisation trip to Edinburgh in Scotland and London in England. And the best news ever? We would be flying business class as well as staying in 4-star hotels. I was thrilled as I had never experienced business class until this trip.

Virgin Atlantic London and Edinburgh travel agent group

So many things to sort out… visas, travel insurance, forex, etc. First I had to sort out my flights and accommodation as well as my travel insurance, bank statements, Identity document copies, proof of employment and two passport photos to apply for my UK visitor’s visa -  at least 15 days before departure.

I got everthing sorted and before I knew it the day of departure had arrived! Before I left for the airport I double checked that I had my passport, travel itineraries and forex. I also made sure that I bagged my LAGS and packed a change of clothing and the essential toiletries to freshen up on-board.

I arrived at Cape Town International Airport at least two hours before check-in as I was travelling on Mango from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then I had about four hours in Johannesburg before my Virgin Atlantic flight was due to depart. These connections worked well for me as I could check-in and make my way through the airports to the boarding gates at a leisurely pace.

I was a bit sceptical about the Mango flight as I have flown on Mango before domestically and I experienced quite a bit of turbulence as the aircraft was old and tiny, but I was pleasantly surprised that the flight I was on was one of the newer aircrafts and we had a smooth flight.

Mango plane arriving in Johannesburg

I did not mind the long wait at Johannesburg International at all, because when I checked in for my flight I was issued with my Upper Class boarding card to travel to London. This gave me access to the fantastic Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge - the Clubhouse. There I wined and dined whilst eagerly waiting for the rest of the group.

The lounge was stunning and had shower facilities for travellers to freshen up too. I received a warm welcome when I arrived and the service was awesome. I was trying so hard not to look too excited and make as if I was used to travelling Upperclass all the time! I also just had to try Virgin’s signature cocktail ‘The Redhead’ as well. (Note: A Virgin Redhead cocktail consists of Bombay Sapphire, Cassis, Framboise, Raspberry, fresh lemon and bubbly).

Snacks in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse OR Tambo

Snacks in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse OR Tambo

Food in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse OR Tambo

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Lounge in OR Tambo

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Lounge in OR Tambo

When our flight was called, we were warmly welcomed on-board by the very efficient flight attendants in their stunning red uniform, escorted to our seats and were served French Champagne. Once the aircraft started moving we were given a set of pj’s for comfort and once we departed dinner was served. It was a 3 course dinner with stunning silverware and porcelain dishes - totally different to what you would normally get flying economy!

Virgin Atlantic Upper class suite

Cuisine in the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class suite

Cuisine in the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class suite

Virgin Atlantic flight to London

I was living the dream. After a phenomenal meal the flight attendants offer to make your bed. Yes, your own flatbed on an aircraft and it's so comfy. At first I was afraid to sleep at the risk of snoring and waking the other passengers so I decided to check-out the entertainment system. There were many options to keep any nervous flyer occupied for the duration of the flight. After just one episode, I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke we were close to our destination and flying over France.  After landing at London Heathrow we made our way to the next terminal by shuttle bus, went through a security check point and through to the duty free area.

Welcome to London Heathrow

We then went through another security check point to go through to the next boarding gate for our Virgin Atlantic  ‘Little Red’ flight - which actually is not so little. This flight was in economy class but the service was equally good and the aircraft was good too.  Leather seats, hot beverages and a snack. After the long journey we arrived in rainy (no surprise there!) Edinburgh and got ready for our land-based holiday to begin… "

Virgin Atlantic Little Red flying to Edinburgh

Virgin Atlantic Little Red flying to Edinburgh

Virgin Atlantic Little Red flying to Edinburgh

Next in Part 2: Ro-Shana explores Edinburgh inspecting hotels, whisky tasting and trekking across the Highlands and Lochs.

After her first international trip with Contiki, the travel bug firmly sunk its teeth into Ro-Shana. She fell in love with France, Italy and Switzerland but didn’t care much for London (until this past trip). She loves being outdoors in nature, the theatre (watching the Moulin Rouge at the original theatre in Paris was a highlight), music and would love to visit Phuket one day. 


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