Last month I went to Dubai on a long weekend break and it was fabulous. Me and my wife could only really do a 5 day holiday so our choices were limited. We wanted some winter sun so this ruled out a number of places based on weather and flying time. With Dubai a 7 hour flight over the 11 to south east Asia or Caribbean we felt it was the better choice.
We booked standard flight tickets with Virgin Atlantic as I have found they are the best airline these days based on a few good experiences over recent years.
I’m not a fan of economy flying for this length of time but during a recent New York Virgin flight, me and my wife paid a mere £50 to have emergency exit seats while checking in at Heathrow. We had planned to try this again.
However my plan was to try and max out and try to get an upgrade for a decent price. Upgrading to Upper Class via the customer service helpline would have increased our ticket price by nearly £5,000 before reaching the airport. Here’s how we got the premium service for a little bit less.
At the check-in desk I enquired about upgrading to Upper Class just on the outward flight to Dubai. After a bit of talking and negotiating (English people take not, yes you can haggle) we got an upgrade for £900 each. Not that bad if you want the Upper Class service. However if this is too much for you then I found out something useful here, we could have upgrade to Premium Economy for just £250 each and paid another £60 for the club house. £310 each for a premium service is well worth it in my eyes.
We did upgrade to Premium Economy on the way home for a couple of hundred pounds and the service was really good. For a 7 hour flight in the day perfect amount of space for two. I would also say Upper Class is built for night flights and single business travellers. It’s pretty difficult to have conversations in Upper Class which is fine for me as i’m not a socialable person on a flight.
If you think £60 for the clubhouse seems harsh, again if you use it effectively it is decent value. During my few hours there I enjoyed watching the football match with somes snacks and a few drinks, plus dinner with my wife. We both also had a facial in the Spa!
Dubai is only 7 hours, so actually probably not that important to have a flat bed as you don’t really get time to sleep if you fancy enjoying dinner, a drink and breakfast. I probably got about 3 hours sleep on the way to Dubai. I have flown Upper Class on a 12 hour night flight, and in my opinion this is where Upper really is worth the cost.
Getting back to on flight. I’ve included two pictures of my leg room on the flight and as you can see the front row of Premium Economy with the foot rest offers enough room and comfort for sleeping.
So my advice if you want to fly Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic to Dubai for cheap, is not to. Upgrade at the airports to Premium Economy and pay to use the clubhouse at Heathrow (which is amazing by the way) and you should be able to get this for under £600 per person for the return!