We were picked up by our car bright and early on the morning of Sunday 19th July. The morning was grey and drizzly, a perfect London sendoff before three weeks in the sun! We had a swift journey to Gatwick, and headed straight to the Virgin Atlantic desk to check in. We splashed out on Upper Class tickets for this holiday, and this was such a treat! I'm sure there are many bloggers who go First or Upper Class a lot, but this was my first experience of it. Splendid.
We check our bags, whizzed through the fasttrack security and headed to the Virgin lounge, where we were spoiled thoroughly for the couple of hours we had to kill. Matthew had a yummy full English breakfast while I had eggs benedict, along with champagne (because honeymoon) and fresh squeezed juices. Then we read and sipped coffee (me) and a mojito (Matthew, awesomely tasty drink!) while we awaited our flight. I was hoping to have a quick treatment at the spa but alas, no dice - it was very popular and the list seemed to move to an interesting rhythm. We spent a lovely two hours chilling, chatting and getting very excited about the holiday to come.
We were called for our flight and headed on board. It was great fun to turn left for the first time! After perusing the seating plans, Matthew has selected the two seats at the front of the cabin (6A and 6K) which meant we were across from each other and able to chat and say hello as well as having our own wee cubbies. The space was awesome! At the end of each seat was a little footstool (see above) for guests to drop by and say hello, or to put your feet up while reading or watching a movie. Under there was a sweet little space for a handbag so you could reach things easily.
This was Matthew's seat - the seats gave you so much room, your own screen and light, masses of leg room and were unbelievably comfortable! They also converted into fully flat beds, but more on that later. The entertainment options aboard on Vera were great. I bought magazines and didn't read a page as I was so busy watching TV and movies. Including Gone Girl, which must be the least honeymoon movie ever.....
As boarding continued we were greeted with yet more champagne. I could get used to this!
The takeoff was smooth and in no time at all we were soaring over the south of England and being handed our menu for the three course meal served on board. A fresh and zingy tomato soup; delicious, juicy steak, and a gorgeously gooey sticky toffee pudding with cream. All accompanied by delicious wines from Berry Bros, and then rounded off with cheese, port and crackers.
After a couple more hours of movie watching, we decided to head to the bar in the sky. Yes, on Virgin in Upper Class there is indeed a small bar in the middle of the cabin. It was so fun to have a G & T and chat to the flight crew and our fellow passengers.
A bar in the sky necessitates a photo, non?
The views as we flew across the Atlantic and the continent of North America were exceptional - it was such a clear day! Most of the times I've flown Stateside before I've taken night flights, which are great but you miss out on views like the above. Greenland looked gorgeous, it's definitely a place on my bucket list.
All the yummy food, splendid wine, and spectacular views were making me sleepy, so I decided to convert my seat into a bed for a while. I didn't manage to sleep much (I'm not great at sleeping on planes) but the long bed was very comfy and cosy to curl up in. Many of our fellow travellers slept peacefully for several hours. In your seat you get a little kit with all sorts of useful goodies - a toothbrush and a teeny tiny toothpaste, socks, lipbalm, tissues, and (oh-so-helpfully) an eyemask.
Our cosy cabin, from the bar in the sky.
As we started to move from Canadian airspace to the US, it was time for tea! As someone who loves a good afternoon tea and intends to blog about many of London's finest in the next year or so, I was tickled to savour a tea at 35,000 feet. I loved this little meal - there were gooey cakes and patisserie on offer as well, but sandwiches and scones were all I had room for!
I glanced out of the window while watching Gone Girl and we were right above Missouri. Timing win. I love the little flight maps that show you where you are.
As we crossed into Utah's airspace the green and yellow fields of the Plains gave way to a harsher, desert climate. I'd never seen anything like it!
The approach into Las Vegas was clear, meaning you could see for miles and miles! Lake Mead was spectacular - a huge dash of blue in the endless arid yellow of the deserts and mountains. I loved glimpsing the Hoover Dam too.
A safe landing, and a speedy disembarkment - we got to whizz off the plane and straight to immigration. After a short pause to grab our (many, many) bags we met our driver, who whisked us off to the MGM Grand, our hotel for the first leg of our Vegas trip. Matthew had booked us an amazing suite (more on the suite itself in an upcoming post), so we went to a dedicated check in desk - hurrah for lack of queues! - and after a slight pause while housekeeping got everything ready we headed up to our room. Where the views were a little like this:
Our terrace had amazing views over the lower end of the Strip. As these posts progress you will find that amazing views were very much a theme. The Excalibur made me giggle - it was fun to wake up each morning and see a Disney-esque castle!
A quick panorama of our view. The giant David Copperfield became quite a theme....he's alwasy watching, Vegas.
New York New York was visually one of my favourites. It was amusing to peek out and see the city skyline in the middle of the desert. I can't wait to see the real one next year!
After going around the suite ooh-ing and aah-ing, we headed out for a little walk around the resort and a bite to eat.
New York New York looked just as cool at night!
By about 8.30pm (or 4.30am on our British body clocks) it was definitely time to turn in. We curled up in our incredibly comfy bed and drifted off to sleep.....
Day 2 to follow soon.