Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 28 – Virgin Atlantic Flight from Europe to US

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Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks.  It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited!  In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich.  We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Miles and Points Got Us Into Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!

Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:

How You Can Do It Too!

We used 100,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.  It now costs 125,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles, but you don’t pay fuel surcharges when you book Virgin Atlantic flights with Hawaiian Air miles.  The regular price for a flight is ~$4,000, so this is a good use of Hawaiian Airlines miles!  Do note that it isn’t easy booking flights by calling Hawaiian Air, and I had to call back a few times to get the ticket booked.

You get 35,000 miles with the Hawaiian Airlines (personal) card and the Hawaiian Airlines (business) card.

If you’re new to miles and points, it is easier to fly to Europe using United or American Airlines miles, than it is to earn and use Hawaiian Airlines miles.  We just, errrr, happened to have lots of Hawaiian Air miles, from when Bank of America issued the Hawaiian Air cards, which we wanted to use!

Virgin Atlantic Lounge

Daraius and I flew from Rome to London for our return flight home.  We stayed overnight at the Hilton in Terminal 4 using a free night from the Citi Hilton Reserve card and took the train between terminals.

We had a few minutes to check out the Virgin lounge.  It looked nice and we wished we would have had more time to enjoy it.  I guess we shouldn’t have slept in!

There was a business center…

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Plenty of Workspace and Privacy in the Business Lounge

a bar…

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Emily at the Bar in the Virgin Atlantic Lounge, Cocktails Anyone?

a salon…

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

You Can Get Pampered or a Haircut Before Your Flight

and lots of room to relax before the flight!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Plenty of Seating for Stretching Out

Virgin Atlantic Flight

After a quick visit to the lounge, we went to our gate and boarded the flight.  We were thrilled when we saw that we had a plane with the newer Upper Class (business class) cabin!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Emily and Daraius Happy to Ride in Upper Class!

The cabins were much newer than the ones on our first Virgin Atlantic flight from Chicago to London.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

The New Updated Seats Were Much Nicer Than the Ones on the Flight to Europe

Daraius sat next to me during the flight.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Daraius Loves the View from His Seat

He liked to trouble me every few minutes or so to take pictures!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Can’t I Watch TV Yet?!

Virgin Atlantic does not have First Class, and their Upper Class is like Business Class.  There were several other passengers in our rows.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

The Cabin Was Crowded

The seats came with lots of plug-ins to charge your electronics.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

No Need to Fight for a Charging Station in the Terminal, You Can Charge Your Gadgets in Flight!

At the bottom of the seat was an outlet that we used to charge our laptops.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Powering Up Our Computer to Write More Blog Posts!

There was also a built-in TV…

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

The TV Was Great for Passing Time During the Long Flight

that swiveled out so that you could watch it in front of you.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

You Can Move the TV Closer for Easy Viewing

The picture quality was very good and they had a great selection of movies, TV, and music.  You can even hook up your iPod or phone!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Download Your Favorite Movies to Your iPod and Watch Them on the TV

Soon, it was time for dinner.  Here’s the menu…

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

You Can Have High Tea While Flying at 30,000 Feet!

and here’s the wine list.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

There Was a Decent Wine Selection That  “Required” a Taste Comparision…

Daraius sat on my footstool that doubles as a chair.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Even Extra Seating for Visitors

He tends to be messy when he eats.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Sometimes Daraius Needs a Bib

Our first course included leek and potato soup (for me) and dill and caper infused potted salmon (for Daraius).  I loved my soup – it was so flavorful!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

A 1st Course That Would Make Emeril Proud!

Next, I had chicken with mushroom gravy, which was served with mashed potatoes and carrots.  Daraius had herb-crusted fillet of British beef with potato rosti, carrot puree, and thyme shallot jus.  I loved my main course (the chicken)!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

So Fancy, You’d Think We Were at a Restaurant and Not Eating on a Plane!

For dessert, we had a chocolate torte and cherry sponge pudding.  Dessert was also excellent!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

The Perfect After-Dinner Treats

Finally, we had a selection of cheeses, including crop-well bishop stilton, coastal cheddar, and French brie.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

We Finished With a Selection of Cheeses

Daraius was anxious to get some sleep so he made his bed.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

The Upper Class Cabin Has Lie-Flat Seats

He can sleep just about anywhere!

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Daraius Fell Asleep Within Minutes

After a few hours, we had the tea service, which included tea, small sandwiches, and petit fours.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

High Tea on the Plane, Very La De Da!

I liked the scone and sandwiches the best.

In addition to the regular dinner menu, there was a “Graze” menu for faster meal service.  The Graze selections included a gourmet beef burger, potato chips and chocolate bars, and fresh fruit.

We also went to the bar for a drink.

Virgin Atlantic Flight From Europe To US

Surprisingly, No One Was at the Bar

How You Can Do It Too!

We redeemed 100,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class before they increased the cost of redemptions.  If we booked the same flight now, you’d pay 125,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles.  But there are NO fuel surcharges.  Because you could pay ~$4,000 to fly Upper Class, redeeming Hawaiian miles (even 125,000 per person) is a great way to get Big Travel with Small Money.

You get 35,000 miles with the Hawaiian Airlines (personal) card.  And you can get 35,000 miles with the Hawaiian Airlines (business) card.

Because you can double your miles and points if you have a partner, if you and your partner both apply for the Hawaiian Airlines (personal) and (business) cards, you’ll have 140,000 miles (35,000 + 35,000 x 2).

Some readers were able to get the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards (when it was issued by Bank of America).  But I haven’t heard if anyone has been able to get 2 Hawaiian Airlines cards issued by Barclays.

If you want to use your Hawaiian miles on Virgin Atlantic (and other partners), you have to call Hawaiian Airlines at 877-426-4537 (Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Hawaii time).

Bottom Line

The food on Virgin Atlantic was great, and we liked the new seats on Virgin Atlantic!

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38 responses to “Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 28 – Virgin Atlantic Flight from Europe to US

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  13. The Virgin Upper Class seats look very narrow in the pictures….did you find them comfortable? Do the dividers retract? I have reservations in Upper Class in June and now am reconsidering.

  14. @Denise L – They were comfortable, but it wasn’t very private. I can’t remember whenter the dividers retracted or not!

  15. Part 28? OMG.

  16. Do you just have to call and check? there’s no way to check space online?

  17. Mark the Shark

    Do you really have NOTHING to write about that you’re on part 28 of this damn trip? I rarely read this blog, but when I checked it and saw part 28 of A TRIP REPORT!!!??? I realized that you must really have no content at all! why don’t you check some of the other bloggers to see what they write about, so they don’t need to come up with a part 28 for their trip report? Alternatively, you can travel a bit more, so you can have different trip reports.

  18. Eagerly waiting for your part 29-Coming back home from Airport via public transport/rental car/cab.

  19. can’t wait to see your part 30.Unpacking bags…hahaha….

  20. Haters gonna hate 🙂 I LOVE that you divide everything up because it makes it SO much easier to search by city or activity and not read a 20 page post that contains food, hotel, and activities in 3 cities. THANK YOU for taking time to spoon feed your vacations guys- it makes it easier for those of us who go back later to find something quickly!

  21. I agree with Jenny. I really liked your many reports about this trip. Keep up the good work.

  22. Bunch of Dic*s on here. If you don’t like his blog then go read someone else’s!!! Must be pretty miserable to hate your blog but then take the time to comment on it!!!! I wish I could be miserable in life but I can’t!!!! I will also be staying at the park hyatt Milan for two nights in the middle of March thanks to you!!!

  23. Really like the way you separate the segments. It gives you a chance to go In depth in showing the experiences. The pictures and explanation of the food and seats were very helpful. Keep up the way you are doing thing.

  24. Sounds like another amazing trip! thanks for the info!
    It appears a flight Chicago to London flight booked with 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles charge a huge fuel surcharge of $1300! Is this true or do you know anyway around this surcharge?

  25. @Ryan1 – Hawaiian Air usually has the same award seats available as the Virgin Atlantic website. But you do have to call back and hand-hold the reps.

    @Jenny @Scott @will @Dwight – Glad you enjoy the posts! And thanks for commenting.

    @Paul Owens – You will have to pay fuel surcharges if you use Virgin Atlantic miles. But you don’t pay them if you use Hawaiian Air miles. There’s no way around the surcharge which Virgin Atlantic charges for using their miles.

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  34. Hi There, Thanks a lot for all the good tips! Didn’t know where to ask this but looking to trade AA miles into BA, heard of a website that can do that (GIIFT) anyone already used it? Thanks 😉

  35. @Julia9865 – I’ve not used that website, but usually it is a bad deal.

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