Flight of Fancy


Jaded, globe-trotting New Yorkers: Relax. A lengthy flight need no longer be a nightmare made tolerable by Johnnie Black and Dramamine. Next time you take an overnight trip, opt for the fully flat beds of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Upper Class Suite, which makes other carriers’ first class feel like coach. It’s a whole new level of flying. With its fully stocked bar, food on demand, in-flight massage service, and other amenities, you’ll never suffer from cabin fever again. Where else can you sidle up to the bar for a nightcap at 30,000 feet? (Kitschy airplane-inspired bars—remember Idlewild?—don’t count. You may have been high but you were still grounded.)

The Upper Class treatment starts with complimentary car service from your home or office. Then it’s off to the Virgin Clubhouse—a luxury lounge where (depending on the departure or arrival city) you can while away the hours on a driving range or skiing machine or even at a library, if you’re the bookish sort. There you can also drink, eat, and be extremely merry since you don’t have to mingle with the riffraff; for this price ($7,000 average round trip, New York-London) you’re allowed to roll your eyes and turn your nose up as much as you want!

Onboard, you’ve reached your destination: the Upper Class Suite. Your amenity kit is filled with all the essentials—designer socks, name-brand toothpaste (no generic glop for you!), fancy mints, and other goodies. Now it’s time for a little rest.

Perhaps an arduous day of shopping or working on your swing back at the Clubhouse has left you spent—whatever, you deserve a catnap. Just flip your seat over to reveal the legendary seamless mattress. Virgin will even provide a “sleep suit” for maximum snoozing comfort.

When you awaken you’re bound to be famished. Order a freshly prepared three-course meal and channel surf to see what’s showing on your private television. In the mood for a Japanese program? A Chinese variety show? You can broaden your cultural horizons later. For now, tune in to your favorite episode of Will & Grace or catch that Brad Pitt flick you missed.

You’ll be landing before you know it. If you’re lucky, your vacation will be cut short and you can experience Upper Class Suite again sooner than you’d planned.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 29, 2005

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