Flying Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic A330-300 from Orlando to London

by joeheg

It’s been five years since we flew on Virgin Atlantic to London, and it’s been even longer since we flew in Upper Class. The main reason is that we didn’t feel the additional cost was worth it for the short flight from the Northeastern US to London.

But for my solo trip to England, I was able to find one award seat on Virgin Atlantic from Orlando to London using Flying Blue.

Virgin Atlantic flies its A330-300s on this route. These planes have the older design herringbone seats which aren’t the most popular with travelers. But I figured how bad could this lie flat seat be for the 8 & 1/2 hour flight from Orlando to London.

Virgin Atlantic 92
Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers can access the Delta SkyClub when flying from Orlando. We’ve visited the MCO SlyClub several times, so I’m not going to review the lounge. However, one thing that was different about the experience was Virgin Atlantic sent two agents to the club to take passengers to the gate. We walked right up to the door, skipping whatever line had formed, and were on the plane immediately.

Since the passengers waiting at the gate had already boarded, I didn’t take any pictures of the cabin. Instead, I settled into seat 6G, which was located in the middle row. There’s almost no storage at these seats, so I put my bags in the overhead compartment. All 31 Upper Class seats were taken when we pushed back from the gate.

The Seat

(Pictures in this post have been adjusted to compensate for the mood lighting in the cabin.)

A pillow, blanket, amenity kit, headphones, and a can of water were waiting for me at the seat. A mattress pad and an additional pillow were located behind it. We were also offered pajamas for the overnight flight, which I declined, as I brought my own.

The amenity kit is made from recycled paper. It contained an eye mask, socks, ear plugs. toothbrush & toothpaste, hand creme, face creme, lip balm, and a pen.

a black bag with white text on it

This seat has the same design as when it was introduced in 2003. It has limited recline controls, and you have to flip the seat over to convert it into a bed. There are countless reviews of the actual seat online. I found it fine for sitting, eating and working.

a seat with a pillow on it

Before departure, I was offered a choice of either juice or bubbles.

a glass of liquid on a table

I turned on the entertainment screen and checked out the options.

a screen shot of a computerThere were plenty of TV shows and movies to choose from, with a mix of new and classic titles. One thing missing was a music category. The screen’s alignment is a bit awkward, and for most of the flight, I watched the map.

a screen shot of a planet earth


I purchased a one-hour Wi-Fi pass for £6.99. It was sufficiently fast to use social media, messaging, and email. There’s also a messaging-only option for £2.99 and a full flight pass for £20.99.

The Food

Once in the air, the flight attendants came around the cabin to collect our breakfast cards. I knew I’d go to the Revivals Lounge at Heathrow, so I opted to sleep in and have a chocolate croissant and coffee.

a person's hand holding a paper with food

They also took drink orders which were presented with some crisps.

a glass of wine and a bowl of potato chipsAbout 60 minutes into the flight, the meal service started. They set up my table with a tablecloth and the signature salt and pepper shakers (by the way, here’s a lesson of the wrong way to steal those salt and pepper shakers).

a plate of food and a glass of wine

I started with the caprese salad.

a plate of food on a table

For the main course, I ordered the lamb koftas.

a plate of food on a table

I skipped out on desert as I was getting full and wanted to try and get some sleep on the flight. I went to the restroom to change into my pajamas.


The Upper Class passengers have access to restrooms at the rear of the cabin, located by the bar. The bathrooms were an average size and kept clean and stocked for the duration of the flight.

a sink in a planea group of hand sanitizers on a shelf

Onboard Bar

There’s a bar with a few stools located at the rear of the cabin. It wasn’t used on our flight, except by one passenger who used it as a computer desk.


After changing clothes, I had my seat converted into a bed. Once you understand the process, it is rather simple to do on your own. I must have been tired because I didn’t take any pictures of the bed.

A major complaint of the design is that the foot space is narrow and at an awkward angle. I agree with this opinion, as it was difficult to get comfortable while lying on my back. Side sleepers will fare much better. When first introduced, a fully lie-flat bed was a rarity in business class. However, these seats are now below average for sleeping comfort.

Regardless, once I was comfortable I did manage to sleep for several hours.

Morning and Landing

Eventually, the lights were turned up, and I could hear other passengers rustling about and eating breakfast. I changed back into my clothes and turned my bed back into a seat on my own. Once I was settled in, I was served my coffee and croissant that I had ordered earlier.

Landing at Heathrow was smooth, and we were quickly at the gate. Then, we took the long walk through endless hallways to get to passport control and customs.

Final Thought

It has been a while since we flew with Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class. The experience was much what I remembered. The seats on the A330-300 aren’t the best available but they are comfortable enough to get a few hours of sleep if you find the correct position. Virgin Atlantic’s A350 and A330neo planes have newer suite seat designs, but unfortunately, these planes don’t fly to Orlando.

The best part of the flight was the flight attendants. They were all super friendly and helpful during the whole flight. They managed to work a fully loaded cabin efficiently so that people could finish their meals and get to sleep.

For an 8-hour flight, it’s just enough time for a lie-flat seat to make sense on a red-eye. Any shorter of a flight and you don’t really get a chance to sleep.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Rick March 18, 2024 - 8:39 pm

Virgin fly both the A330 and the newer A350-1000 on the Heathrow route, one of each on most days. Often the A350 in business class is a little more expensive. Whilst theA350 suite is definitely preferable for the day time London to Orlando leg, I find the overnight reverse better on the A330 as, despite the ridiculousness angle of the seats, the increased width of the bed makes for a better sleep.

joeheg March 18, 2024 - 9:08 pm

I stand corrected. Maybe that wasn’t the case when I booked the flight but I see now that both planes do fly the route. I’ll adjust the post accordingly.

Christian March 18, 2024 - 10:12 pm

Cano water for the can o’ water? I adore the droll English sense of humor.


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