Popcorn at the ready.
Travel experts have pitted two British titans of transatlantic travel against each other in a fascinating battle of the business classes.
The Points Guy travel site filmed its experiences in Virgin Atlantic’s upper-class ‘Retreat Suite’ – which can be configured to form a quad socializing area with the adjacent seat – and BA’s ‘Club Suite’ on flights from London to JFK.
The reviewers enjoyed, among other things, ‘sexy fun and a giant entertainment screen’ on the former and ‘delicious food’ on the latter. But there were downsides on both flights.
Below are the verdicts and the trailer for the full video review.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC UPPER CLASS
Putting the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Retreat Suite to the test was Points Guy Editor Nicky Kelvin (above)
Nicky said the Retreat Suite was ‘particularly huge, comfortable and private’
Putting the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Retreat Suite to the test was Points Guy Editor Nicky Kelvin, with his ticket between Heathrow Terminal 3 and New York’s JFK on an Airbus A330-900neo costing 47,500 Virgin Points plus £627 in taxes and fees.
There were plenty of ‘ups’ for his flight.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘The Virgin Atlantic ground experience at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 is second to none for a business-class ticket. The exclusive “Upper Class Wing” is a private, efficient and unique way to arrive at the airport. Private security and a world-class lounge, up there with some first-class lounges complete the ground experience.’
He continued: ‘The regular Upper Class Suites on this aircraft are very comfortable and spacious, but the Retreat Suite is particularly huge, comfortable and private, especially for sleeping and the inflight entertainment screen is giant.
Nicky’s verdict on the food? ‘Plentiful and tasty,’ he said, but ‘less refined than you might find on other business class products’
‘Virgin provides a service that mixes incredible professionalism with a cheeky, sexy fun that you won’t find anywhere else,’ said Nicky (above)
Nicky’s JFK-bound aircraft was an Airbus A330neo (above)
‘There are welcome extras on board such as pajamas that are available on request and “the Loft” is a fun social space with drinks and ice creams at the back of the cabin.’
He added: ‘Virgin provides a service that mixes incredible professionalism with a cheeky, sexy fun that you won’t find anywhere else.’
And the downs? Nicky revealed there were a few.
He said: ‘The boarding process does not match the exclusivity of what came before it on the ground. And it’s not possible to have the biggest and best seat (the Retreat Suite) as a window seat. There are also only two seats in the cabin, so you may need to be lucky to sit there, and you’ll have to pay extra for the privilege.
‘Plus, while the food and drink are plentiful and tasty, the food is less refined than you might find on other business class products.’
BRITISH AIRWAYS CLUB SUITES
Putting the British Airways’ Club World business-class ‘Club Suite’ to the test on a 777-200 flight from Heathrow to JFK was Liam Spencer
Liam’s BA ticket costs 80,000 Avios plus £175 taxes and fees
Putting the British Airways’ Club World business-class ‘Club Suite’ to the test on a 777-200 flight from Heathrow to JFK was Liam Spencer, with his ticket costing 80,000 Avios plus £175 in taxes and fees.
What were the positives of his flight with the national flag carrier?
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘The real winner on this flight was the food. From fresh smoked salmon and asparagus to braised leg of lamb, each mouthful was more delicious than the last. Don’t forget to check out the extensive cocktail menu, too!
‘And despite being more than four years old, BA’s Club Suite feels as fresh and enticing as ever. The cabin was spotless and if you’d told me the seat was new out of the factory, I would have believed you.
Liam said: ‘The real winner on this flight was the food [above]’
Liam added: ‘As a fully-flat bed, British Airways’ Club Suite can’t quite compete with leading products such as Qatar Airways’ QSuite when it comes to comfort and space’
‘Plus, the fully-closing door adds a level of privacy that really heightens the business class experience.’
Any downsides? A handful.
Liam added: ‘As a fully-flat bed, British Airways’ Club Suite can’t quite compete with leading products such as Qatar Airways’ QSuite when it comes to comfort and space.
‘And the business-class check-in experience at Heathrow Airport is perfectly fine, if not a little underwhelming, especially when compared with Virgin Atlantic’s separate wing for Upper Class passengers.’
For more from The Points Guy visit thepointsguy.com/uk-travel. To see the full Virgin Atlantic vs British Airways video click here.