British Airways Business Class vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class -- London Heathrow to New York JFK
In 2018, London to New York become the first Billion-Dollar Airline Route. In just twelve months, British Airways took $1 billion in revenue from those who travelled between London and New York. It’s staggering to think how one airline could make so much from one route.
Yet, should this come as a surprise?
After all, New York and London are two of the most popular cities in the world. They’re two of the biggest business and financial hubs, too.
Meaning it’s not only a popular route for tourists, but Business Owners and Executives alike.
Each month, this is one of our most requested routes at Elite Flight Concierge. And although there’s dozens of flights that leave daily, demand is always high.
This is because everyone is after the same seats. It isn't just a popular route, but the London to New York Business Class Tickets are among the most in-demand.
(especially the ones that offer a direct, non-stop flight across the Atlantic)
Because of this, two of the most popular options are:
- British Airways Business Class and,
- Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer direct flights between these two hubs. This is why they’re often the ‘only’ option for travellers who want to travel business class to New York.
Not just for the comfort and luxury, but to also save a lot of time.
(who has the time for a stopover in Germany or France!)
So, before you book your next London to New York Business Class Trip, it’s important you know the difference between these two airlines. They always sell-out quickly.
And although both offer incredible service, the one that’s right for you depends on your exact needs...
British Airways Business Class vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
British Airways Business Class and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class offer the same tier of service.
They may go by different names, but the level of luxury on offer is similar to one another.
They also both offer dozens of routes across the globe. And depending on where you’re flying to, determines the exact service you get.
This article focuses on the London to New York Business Class Route between London Heathrow and JFK (for a review of the New York to London route, click here).
Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have a huge presence in each of these airports, which means the service you get is exceptionally high.
But which offer is best for you... British Airways Business Class or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?
Let’s find out...
Quick note before we dive in...
Both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have innovated luxury travel, but in recent years many airlines have caught up. It’s lead many luxury travelers to ask: when are we due an upgrade?
That time is soon. Toward the backend of 2019, both BA and Virgin are reinventing their Business Class offers. We’ve seen the early features, and they look spectacular. We cannot wait to review them and offer these new services to you.
But right now, this article focuses on the existing Business Class offers.
If you would like us to keep you updated with the new British Airways Business Class Experience, and Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class’ new look, subscribe to our VIP List.
Those on this list get the most up to date news and reviews, as well as exclusive offers.
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The Pre-Flight Experience with British Airways Business Class
The first thing to note is that British Airways do not offer a chauffeur service as part of Business Class. Unfortunately this has become more and more common with airlines today.
Still, there are plenty of services available in London, and we often help our clients get to the airport in style. The fact British Airways doesn’t offer this isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is disappointing.
Once you arrive at London Heathrow, you can expect a smooth experience with little stress, as British Airways Business Class provides:
- A Dedicated British Airways Club World Check-in Desk.
- Fast Track Security
- Priority Boarding
This means no waiting in line or wasting time. Which is good news, because once through security you get to enjoy the British Airways Galleries World Club Lounge.
(and considering London Heathrow is the airlines central hub, this lounge in particular is world class)
Open between 5:00am and 10:30pm, you get access to a variety of facilities:
- Pre-Flight Dining
- Free Wifi
- Access to the Business Centre
- Spectacular Runway Views
- Private Shower Rooms
- Plenty of reading material
- and a wide selection of snacks, coffee and beverages.
You also get access to the London Heathrow Elemis Spa, complete with a complimentary 15-minute treatment. With 15+ treatments available, it’s the best way to prepare for your flight ahead.
Whether your trip is for business or personal reasons, there’s always time for a head-and-neck massage.
It’s an incredible service we recommend you take advantage of.
(and one of the true perks of flying Business Class)
This overviews the core features of what to expect during your pre-flight experience. But there’s a lot more London Heathrow has to offer. We’ve dedicated a separate article that reviews the London Heathrow Experience as a whole, including further details of The British Airways Galleries Club Lounge.
Once you’ve taken advantage of your pre-flight experience, all that’s left to do is board the plane. But before you do, let’s see how all this compares to what Virgin Atlantic Upper Class has to offer.
The Pre-Flight Experience with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
Virgin Atlantic impresses straight away by offering a complimentary chauffeur service, which picks you up from your London home and drops you off at check-in.
Fewer airlines offer this service today, and many reserve it only for First Class travellers. The fact Virgin Atlantic offer it as part of their Upper Class experience is a real win.
Once you arrive at London Heathrow, you get access to a dedicated Upper Class Desk and get fast tracked through security. It’s a real time saver, leaving you more time to enjoy what comes next.
Because you get complete access to the London Heathrow Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
(and as with British Airways, because Heathrow is their central hub, the facilities are world class)
Virgin’s brand is renowned for its style, and their London Heathrow Clubhouse doesn’t disappoint.
- Pre-Flight Dining (including a 14-metre bar that serves award-winning cocktails)
- Access to The Den (a games room with pool tables and video consoles)
- Free Wifi and Workspace in the Business Centre
- Luggage storage
- Shower and changing facilities
- and Full Access to The Viewing Deck (with amazing runway views)
In addition to this, all Virgin Atlantic Upper Class travellers get access to a 15-minute spa treatment in The Clubhouse Spa. The selection on offer isn’t as wide as BA, and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis.
They tend to fill up quickly, so keep this in mind when you plan your pre-flight activities.
Once again, we review The London Heathrow Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in more detail inside our London Heathrow Guide. For a complete list of spa treatments and all the other features you get access to, be sure to check it out.
You’re now ready to board the plane and get your trip underway, which is where the real luxury begins.
The In-Flight Experience with British Airways Business Class
As part of your British Airways Business Class Experience, you can expect to board the plane before everyone else. This gives you ample time to settle into your seat and enjoy the finer comforts on offer.
But not all Business Class seats are the same.
Most London to New York Business Class routes utilise a Boeing 747-400, meaning there’s an upper deck. The upper deck seat configuration is 2-2, whereas the lower deck is 2-4-2.
In other words, the upper deck feels more like a private jet.
(so always try and book your seat upstairs whenever possible)
Upper deck or lower deck, your seat itself is the same:
- Large seating area that reclines into a fully flat bed.
- Luxurious White Company bedding, blankets and pillows.
- Ample storage space (for your bag and other amenities).
- 12” Flat Screen TV and noise cancelling headphones.
- Access to the on-demand entertainment centre.
Whether you plan to sleep the whole journey, kickback and enjoy some entertainment, or open your laptop for work… British Airways Business Class offers you an element of luxury and practicality.
(whereas achieving anything in economy (work or sleep) is near impossible)
British Airways are also renowned for their service. And they truly do go the extra mile to ensure their Business Class travellers travel in style.
From extra amenities -- like their White Company Travel bag, including items such as noise cancelling headphones, toiletries and travel socks -- to the fine-dining options, the British Airways service is top-class.
Inspired by some of the world’s best chefs, the food in particular is a stand-out performer.
When you combine this with a wide selection of whiskies and spirits, a flight in BA Business Class feels like a mini-trip in itself.
Your in-flight experience is what upgrading to Business Class is all about. British Airways continue to offer some of the best facilities around, and their service remains world class. They are a stand-out performer against most other airlines, and it will only get better with their soon-to-be upgraded facilities.
(want to get access to the NEW British Airways Business Class experience when it launches? Sign up to our VIP List for priority updates)
It remains one of the best ways to travel business class to New York, whether your trip is for business or pleasure. But how does it compare to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience?
The In-Flight Experience with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
With priority boarding, you can expect to arrive at your seat before everyone else.
The seat itself is large -- coming in at 22 inches (compared to just 17 inches in economy). It also converts into a fully flat-bed, and because it doesn’t do this through reclining (a member of the cabin crew can “flip” it for you) it removes any bumps or lumps.
This can be an issue with many airlines and their Business Class Flat Beds. Not for Virgin.
Other additional featured around your seat include:
- Partially reclining seat that converts into a flat-bed
- A bedding bag, complete with pillows and blankets.
- Ample storage space (for your bag and other amenities).
- Flat Screen TV and noise cancelling headphones.
- Access to the on-demand entertainment centre.
- Access to the in-flight wifi service.
When it comes to entertainment and the “style” factor, Virgin Atlantic take it up a notch. This is echoed in their Upper Class Bar Area, which again is often only offered in First Class lounges.
It gives a feel that you’re inside your own private jet, and certainly makes it easier to stretch your legs and connect with fellow passengers -- an often overlooked benefit of travelling Business Class.
Your network is your net-worth, after all…
As you would expect through the Virgin brand, the entire customer service is very strong. The cabin crew are fun and energetic, and there are plenty of extra touches that help make your flight memorable.
Take the Wilbur and Orville salt and pepper shakers that arrive with your meal. After years of travellers “pinching” them, Virgin now practically encourage this with their playful message on the bottom of each set: pinched from Virgin Atlantic.
Speaking of the meal service, Virgin Atlantic offer their Upper Class travellers a variety of options throughout the flight. And because you have access to the Upper Class Bar Area, you have free rein to get drinks and snacks as and when you desire.
All in all, the entire Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Flight Experience is fun, stylish and relaxing. Whether you plan to remain in your seat and enjoy a little “me” time, or network with your fellow passengers, Virgin provide a great platform for both.
As with BA, this experience is set to get an upgrade soon -- which we are personally excited about.
(want to get access to the NEW Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience when it launches? Sign up to our VIP List for priority updates)
Before long your flight comes to an end, and you’re ready to embark into the London scene. But before you hit the city, both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have a few post-flight luxuries in store for you.
These final Business Class Rewards are sometimes what make the whole experience worthwhile...
The Post-Flight Experience with British Airways Business Class
As a British Airways Business Class traveller, you leave the plane before everyone else. This means you get a head-start on your trip, and get fast-tracked through security and customs.
Which is great, because after a long flight, the last thing you want to do is stand in line...
(especially if you have an important meeting to get to)
There’s no dedicated Arrivals Lounge that awaits you in JFK, but after a relaxing and luxurious flight you’re ready to hit the Big Apple scene.
Whether you’re in NYC for work or play, you now have ample energy to get on with your day.
The Post-Flight Experience with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
As an Upper Class traveller, you depart the plane first and get fast-tracked through security. No waiting in line, and no time wasted that you could spend in Manhattan.
And as an added bonus, Virgin Atlantic also offer a chauffeur service for you on arrival.
This more than makes up for the lack of a Virgin Atlantic Arrivals Lounge, and means you can get to where you need to be with no stress or worry.
In our opinion here at Elite Flight Concierge, this is a standout feature that Virgin offers.
Fewer airlines do this these days, and it’s great to see Virgin Atlantic take a little time to make sure you get to your hotel in style.
British Airways Business Class vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class -- Which is Right For You?
Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer a great service for those flying between London and New York Business Class. We’ve helped dozens of clients fly with both, and feedback is exceptional.
You’re sure to be happy with either, but after reading this article I hope you know which suits you best.
As you would expect from world-class service like this, the price you pay is well above the industry standard. Flights between London and New York Business Class retail at $8,700 for a round-trip.
(and up to $6,600 for a one way ticket -- that’s when you book 3-4 weeks in advance)
This is standard with both British Airways Business Class and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. For what you get, even at this price it’s well worth the investment. But we work with seasoned travellers who fly often, so we always aim to save you upto 50% off those prices above.
Whether you’re planning in advance or need to make a last-minute booking, we can help -- and if you favor British Airways Business Class or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, we’re here to help take way the stress.
If you’re interested in flying between Business Class to New York City, head over to this page and see how we can help you -- and if you’re not ready to book now, be sure to bookmark it for future.
After all, you never know when your next last-minute trip may pop up...