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The Definitive Guide to Virgin Atlantic’s Direct Routes From the U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

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Stephen Au
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Stephen Au

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486 Published Articles

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
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Keri Stooksbury

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Virgin Atlantic has a reputation for being one of the most fun airlines to fly. With an eccentric red and purple color scheme, a celebrity founder in Richard Branson, and an exciting set of inflight products, there’s a lot to love if you’re thinking about flying Virgin Atlantic.

Not to be confused with Virgin Australia or Virgin America (now merged with Alaska Airlines), Virgin Atlantic is the full-service carrier mainly offering service to 2 U.K. airports: London-Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN).

In this guide, we’ll be exploring all of the U.S.-bound routes that Virgin Atlantic operates. More importantly, we’ll identify the main aircraft used on each of these routes, as well as the best business, premium economy, and economy class products bookable.

Virgin Atlantic is an exciting airline readily bookable using points, which makes it an exceptional option to consider if you’re traveling to/from the U.K.

Let’s get into it!

Virgin Atlantic Seat Options by Aircraft Type

As mentioned earlier, Virgin Atlantic more or less operates long-haul or medium-haul flights out of its 2 hubs in London-Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) to the U.S. using 3 aircraft:

  • 787-9
  • A330-300
  • A350-1000

Here is the complete list of routes that’ll walk you through each of the U.S. routes, including flight numbers, operated aircraft, and flight frequency:

SCROLL FOR MORE
RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 104A350-1000Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Atlanta (ATL) – Manchester (MAN)VS 110A330-300Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x weekly
Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 232787-9Business, Premium Economy, EconomyStarting May 25, 2022, 4x weekly until October 28, 2022
Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 12A330-300Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 156787-9Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 8/24VS 8: 787-9

VS 24: A350-1000

Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x daily
Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 118787-9Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 4/10/26/138VS 4/26: 787-9

VS 10/138: A350-1000

Business, Premium Economy, EconomyUp to 4x daily
New York (JFK) – Manchester (MAN)VS 128A330-300Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Orlando (MCO) – Belfast (BFS)VS 162A330-300Business, Premium Economy, Economy4x weekly from July 3 to 24, 2022
Orlando (MCO) – Edinburgh (EDI)VS 226A330-300Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x weekly from March 29, 2022, until October 28, 2022
Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 92

VS 136 (from March 27, 2022)

A330-300 until March 27, 2022, then A350-1000Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily until March 27, 2022, then 2x daily
Orlando (MCO) – Manchester (MAN)VS 74/76A330-300Business, Premium Economy, EconomyVS 74: 5x weekly until October 29, 2022

VS 76: Daily

San Francisco (SFO) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 19787-9Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Seattle (SEA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 106787-9Business, Premium Economy, Economy5x weekly until March 26, 2022, then daily
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)VS 21A330-300Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily

As you can see, most of Virgin Atlantic’s flights go through London-Heathrow (LHR), while a minority of them go through Belfast (BFS), Edinburgh (EDI), and Manchester (MAN).

Best Points To Earn To Fly Virgin Atlantic

Earning enough Virgin Points to fly on Virgin Atlantic is easy. That’s because you can generally redeem points from a variety of frequent flyer programs to book a flight on Virgin Atlantic.

For example, you can book a Virgin Atlantic ticket using Virgin Points, Delta SkyMiles, ANA miles, or even Singapore KrisFlyer miles.

To decide which frequent flyer program to go with, you’ll need to examine which type of transferable points you have, as well as which option offers the best deal on the exact route you’re looking at.

Hot Tip: Check out the best ways to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class with points in our step-by-step guide.

Virgin Atlantic First Class Options

Unlike British Airways, Virgin Atlantic currently doesn’t have a distinct first class product. Not to worry, Virgin Atlantic’s business class is awesome!

Virgin Atlantic Business Class Options

Currently, Virgin Atlantic uses 3 different types of aircraft on U.S. flights — however, the newest Upper Class product is on the A350-1000. We’re big fans of this seat, so let’s get into it!

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 New Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class Seat During the Morning
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000 New Upper Class window seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Virgin Atlantic’s newest business class seat debuted in 2019, and its dramatically-upgraded product has been met with much fanfare since.

These new seats are currently only available on the A350-1000 aircraft, which are significantly more fuel-efficient and comfortable to fly in.

And it’s probably not a surprise that our favorite Upper Class product is on this exact aircraft. On the A350-1000, the cabin contains 44 seats in a single, large cabin spread out across 11 rows of seats.

Each row has a 1-2-1 arrangement, and every seat is a fully lay-flat bed with leather upholstery and direct aisle access.

Additionally, each seat has 20 inches of width, 44 inches of pitch, and 82 inches of bed length when fully reclined.

On each side, you’ll notice that the window seats are facing outward in a reverse herringbone geometry. The middle seats are also facing outward, which is a herringbone-style setup.

As a result, this cabin looks like a herringbone-reverse herringbone hybrid:

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 New Upper Class seat map
Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 New Upper Class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The onboard lounge, dubbed The Loft, is located at the back of the cabin, and there are galleys and lavatories at the front and back of the cabin.

In general, we’d probably recommend booking seats in row 6, simply due to the fact that it will likely experience the least foot traffic. Passengers seated in front of row 6 will likely head to the forward lavatories, while passengers seated behind will go to the rear lavatories.

We’d generally recommend you to avoid rows 1 and 11 if at all possible. Row 1 is right behind the lavatories and galley, while row 11 is right in front of The Loft, lavatory, and galley.

Currently, Virgin Atlantic flies its A350-1000 on the following U.S. routes:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 24
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 10 and 138
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from March 27, 2022

Hot Tip: Virgin’s newest A350s will be offering The Booth, a lounge-style social space for Upper Class passengers.

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic via Facebook

Although Virgin Atlantic’s “older” Upper Class product isn’t our top choice, it’s still a comfortable product you should consider flying.

This is especially true if you are debating between British Airways Club World (business class) and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, as the former has dense seating configurations (think 2-3-2 or 2-4-2 in business class!).

In any case, Virgin Atlantic has a unique cabin layout with seats set up in a 1-1-1 configuration. Each of these seats is 22 inches wide and has 80 inches of seat pitch when reclined into bed mode.

In total, there are 31 seats as shown in this seat map:

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Upper Class seat map
Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Upper Class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Although not pictured, the lavatories are all located in the back of the business class cabin behind the inflight bar.

For maximum privacy, we recommend choosing seats in rows 1 or 2. These are furthest away from the lavatories and bar, which should minimize the foot traffic you experience.

We’d recommend avoiding seats 7A and 7K, as the seats don’t have a window. Also, we recommend avoiding seat 10G due to its proximity right in front of the bar.

Unfortunately, with this type of setup, there aren’t any outstanding seat pairings for couples — we recommend G and K seats in the same row for couples, as these are generally facing each other, despite having an aisle between the seats.

Here are all the U.S. routes on which you can find Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9:

  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 8
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 4 and 26
  • San Francisco (SFO) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Seattle (SEA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Upper Class

The last business class product left is on the A330-300. Although the seat map is virtually identical to the 787-9’s, we would generally recommend flying on a Dreamliner before an A330 if you have a choice.

The seat map is a 1-1-1 setup with 31 seats total, each measuring 22 inches wide and 80 inches long in bed mode. Here’s what the seat map looks like:

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Upper Class seat map
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Upper Class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

As you can see, the lavatories and galleys are placed slightly differently — you’ll find the inflight bar in the rear (not pictured), a set of lavatories and galleys in the front, and another set of lavatories and galleys in the rear (also not pictured).

Therefore, we’d recommend avoiding rows 1, 10, and 11, if you can help it. For travelers looking to minimize foot traffic, the best you can likely do here is to opt for seats in rows 5 and 6, which are smack in the middle of the cabin.

Here are the current A330-300 routes operated by Virgin Atlantic to/from the U.S.:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Belfast (BFS)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) until March 27, 2022
  • Orlando (MCO) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Options

Virgin Atlantic premium economy class
Virgin Atlantic premium economy class. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy experience offers comfort, extra touches beyond a normal economy seat, and more amenities overall.

At the same time, it’s usually not as costly as business class tickets. So in this guide, we’ll walk you through our favorite premium economy cabins aboard Virgin Atlantic!

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Premium Economy

Our favorite premium economy cabin that Virgin Atlantic has to offer is on the 787-9 Dreamliner. The cabin is set up in a 2-3-2 arrangement with 35 seats spread out across 5 rows.

The main difference between premium economy and business class is the ability for the seat to recline 180 degrees into a flatbed.

In this case, each of these spacious seats measures 21 inches wide and 38 inches in pitch, so you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out and be comfortable.

Here’s the seat map:

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 premium economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic 787-9 premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

You’ll notice that the lavatories and galley are located at the front of the cabin — therefore, we recommend travelers to reserve rows near the back of the cabin, such as rows 24 and 25.

These seats are the most private — we generally recommend avoiding row 21 seats unless you need a bassinet.

Here are Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. 787-9 routes:

  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 8
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 4 and 26
  • San Francisco (SFO) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Seattle (SEA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Premium Economy

Our runner-up option is the premium economy cabin on the A330-300. The seats are still 21 inches wide and 38 inches in pitch with the same 2-3-2 configuration, but the cabin is significantly larger.

There are 48 seats, which is an increase of 13 seats compared to the 787-9. Here’s what the seat map looks like:

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 premium economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The lavatories, galley, and inflight bar are located at the front of the aircraft, so we recommend avoiding rows 18, 19, and 20 if possible. Additionally, 21A and 21K are missing a window.

For this reason, we recommend seats near the back of the cabin, like in rows 23, 24, and 25.

Here are the A330-300 routes available on Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. routes:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Belfast (BFS)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) until March 27, 2022
  • Orlando (MCO) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Premium Economy

You might be surprised to hear this, but our least-favorite premium economy seat is on Virgin Atlantic’s newest aircraft: the A350-1000.

The cabin is the largest, and the seats are the smallest. Also, the cabin configuration is the densest.

All of these reasons contribute to our sentiment that the A350-1000 has the least-preferred premium economy seat in Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. fleet.

Specifically, the seats are just 18.5 inches wide, compared to the 787-9 and A330-300, which both measure 21 inches wide per seat. Luckily, the seat pitch is unchanged at 38 inches of legroom.

You’ll find a 2-4-2 arrangement in premium economy with 56 seats spread out across 7 rows:

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Premium Economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Again, the lavatories and galleys are at the front of the cabin, so you’ll do well to choose seats at the back of the cabin, avoiding foot traffic. Some recommendations include rows 26 and 27.

Here are Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. routes with the A350-1000 premium economy seat map:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 24
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 10 and 138
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from March 27, 2022

Virgin Atlantic Economy Class Options

Virgin Atlantic economy class
Virgin Atlantic economy class. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Now is a great time to talk about Virgin Atlantic’s base-level economy class options.

It’s important to know which aircraft has the best seats, and which seats are the most spacious within a given aircraft.

Choosing the right seats means your long-haul flight will be much more comfortable!

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Economy

Virgin Atlantic A330-300 economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Our favorite economy cabin is the A330-300, which has a total of 185 seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement (it tapers down to 2-3-2 in the back).

Each seat is 18 inches wide, which is the widest economy seat of the 3 options. The seat pitch is anywhere from 29 to 30 inches, but the main benefit of this seat is the increase in width.

There are lavatories in the middle of the economy section and at the back, while there’s a galley at the back of the plane.

For solo travelers, the best seats are 61A and 61K — this is because the cabin narrows into a less dense configuration, which means more legroom. Alternatively, you can select 50C and 50H, which are exit row seats but are close to the lavatory.

Other seats with more legroom include all row 40 seats, row 49 seats, and 50A/K.

Lastly, make a conscious effort to avoid seats in rows 46, 47, 48, 64, and 65 due to limited recline or distance to the lavatories.

Here are all of Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. routes with this seat map:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Belfast (BFS)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Edinburgh (EDI)
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) until March 27, 2022
  • Orlando (MCO) – Manchester (MAN)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Economy

If you’re flying on Virgin Atlantic’s A350-1000 but in economy, you’ll want to pay close attention to this section.

This is our second-favorite seat map, which has 235 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Each seat is 17.5 inches wide and 31 to 34 inches in pitch (depending on where you sit).

The seat map looks like this:

Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 Economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The best seat from a legroom perspective is 54A and 54K; these are also the best seats for solo travelers but typically require an extra fee to book.

Other options with enhanced legroom include row 45 seats and row 53 seats. Just keep in mind that row 53 seats are located behind the lavatories.

We absolutely recommend avoiding rows 52, 70, and 71 due to the limited recline and proximity to lavatories.

Here are all of Virgin Atlantic’s A350-1000 routes to and from the U.S.:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 24
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 10 and 138
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from March 27, 2022

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Economy

The very last cabin we’ll discuss is the 787-9 economy class cabin.

The 787-9 is our least-preferred economy cabin due to the scarcity of preferential seats with extra legroom, the dense 3-3-3 layout, and the relatively small seats.

The seats measure 17.5 inches wide and 31 inches in pitch.

In total, expect around 192 economy seats in this cabin with the following seat map:

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 economy seat map
Virgin Atlantic 787-9 economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

For most travelers, the best legroom is at row 53, which is an exit row seat but is behind a set of lavatories.

The worst seats are in rows 51, 52, 66, 67, and 68, so we don’t recommend reserving any of these.

Here are all of Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. 787-9 routes:

  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 8
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on VS 4 and 26
  • San Francisco (SFO) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Seattle (SEA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Final Thoughts

Virgin Atlantic operates nonstop flights to a variety of U.S. airports. Although the majority of its flights are to and from London-Heathrow (LHR), there are a handful of flights involving other U.K. airports like Belfast (BFS), Edinburgh (EDI), and Manchester (MAN).

The crew aboard Virgin Atlantic generally try to make your inflight experience as fun as possible, even if you’re flying in coach.

Our favorite business class product is on the new Upper Class, exclusively available on the A350-1000 aircraft.

In premium economy, we really like the 787-9 Dreamliner’s arrangement. Lastly, our best coach product is on the A330-300, which boasts the best seat width and a number of preferential seats.

Now, you have all the tips and knowledge you need to plan your next Virgin Atlantic flight!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?

In our opinion, the best ways to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class are using Virgin Points, Delta SkyMiles, ANA miles, or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.

What are the best ways to book Virgin Atlantic premium economy class?

You can book Virgin Atlantic premium economy using Virgin Points, Delta SkyMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer miles. Unfortunately, you cannot book Virgin Atlantic premium economy flights with ANA miles.

What are the best ways to book Virgin Atlantic economy class?

Delta charges around 35,000 SkyMiles one-way between the U.S. and the U.K. in economy.

Virgin Atlantic charges 20,000 to 30,000 Virgin Points and Singapore KrisFlyer charges 25,000 miles. Lastly, ANA charges 55,000 round-trip (one-ways are not possible with ANA miles).

Is Virgin Atlantic business class the same as Upper Class?

Yes! Virgin Atlantic’s fancy name for its business class product is Upper Class.

Do you get pajamas on Virgin Upper Class?

Yes, you absolutely get pajamas in Upper Class!

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About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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