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Posts from the ‘Reviews’ Category

The Coolest Way to Fly Out of India!

There are airlines that fly you from one part of the world to another. And then there is Virgin Atlantic. I consider myself one lucky soul to have journeyed from India via London to New York City on Virgin’s Upper Class.

After an exhausting week of tight deadlines, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to 17 hours of being cramped up in a plane. My already messed up sleep schedule was going to undergo a reversal of time zones. And my mind boggled with stories of how cumbersome entering the US as a single girl on a tourist visa with no fixed itinerary can be. Arriving at Delhi airport, I was on the verge of telling myself that I was over being a travel blogger.

Then she said it, the lady in red at the check-in counter, Ma’am, you’ve been upgraded to upper class! Oh you kind folks at Virgin Atlantic, the shooting star sends you a thousand wishes.

Now, I’ve flown business class before. I know full flat beds and gourmet meals and smiling air stewards. What I didn’t know was the difference in Richard Branson’s approach to flying. This wasn’t going to be just another journey.

Pre-take off champagne

What can make you feel more welcome than a glass of champagne even before the plane hits the skies? There I sat, stretching my feet, sipping the bubbly, scrolling through the movie selection, more relaxed than I had felt in days.

Virgin Atlantic upper class, Virgin Atlantic business class

Warm welcome on board!

A private bar on board!

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a lounge bar, complete with dim soothing lights, bar stools, and fancy bottles, on board the plane, a few seats away from mine! Who cares if it was only late afternoon – you can’t say no to a cocktail at a bar like that when you’re 17,000 feet in the skies.

Virgin atlantic reviews, Virgin atlantic upper class

A bar in the skies.

An a-la-carte menu for meals

As a frequent flyer, you can hardly blame me for hating pre-packaged airline food, served in unappealing foil boxes with plastic cutlery. Imagine my joy when I received an in-flight a la carte menu I could choose from and make my own meal? Though the vegetarian selection had fewer options, my choice of a grilled veggies salad and cottage cheese curry, aesthetically served, was more than gratifying.

Virgin atlantic meals, Virgin atlantic food

An appetizer of grilled veggies before a hearty meal.

Full flat cushioned beds with mattresses and real blankets

After a hearty meal and a fair few drinks, I was ready to rest my heavy eyes. I was figuring out how to make the seat full flat, when an air hostess offered to “make my bed”. I felt the glee of a little kid as she flipped the seat into a cushioned full flat bed, covered it with a fluffy white mattress, laid a pillow, and tucked me into a cosy white blanket. I was no longer sure if I was on a flight or a fancy hotel.

Virgin Atlantic upper class seats, Virgin Atlantic upper class suites

My cosy bed in the skies.

High tea!

I woke up to the aroma of freshly brewed peppermint tea, cookies, sandwiches and hot street snacks. High tea was being served, and I could feel London calling.

Virgin atlantic meals, Virgin atlantic food, Virgin atlantic high tea

High tea, anyone?

The Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport

I only had a two hour transit at Heathrow Airport in London, and some frequent flyers on Twitter warned me that I would have no time to check out the famous Virgin Clubhouse (upper class lounge) in the mad rush of changing flights. But, the transit security check went by quickly, and there I was, overawed by the sheer grandeur of not just an airport lounge. Creative seating spaces, a poolside lounge, an observation deck, a swanky bar, a library, pool tables, a spa, a beauty salon, a deli serving delicious bakery products, it had it all. Hell, it even had a rooftop bar! For once in my life, I wished I had a longer transit.

Virgin clubhouse Heathrow, virgin upper class lounge london

The only picture I could sneak in of the Virgin Clubhouse.

The little things

This flight made me feel like something of a celebrity! But truth be told, it was the little things that made a fancy flight experience perfect:

Afternoon flights: Unlike most international airlines with dreadful early morning flights, Virgin Atlantic flies from Delhi at 1 pm in the afternoon. That means you can spend the flight watching movies, eating, drinking and making merry, rather than trying to catch up on sleep.

Movie munchies: When you’re engrossed in a movie, the cabin crew surprises you with little touches like an ice cream!

Privacy and aisle access: Every seat (cabin) on Upper Class has a privacy screen and aisle access, so you don’t have to get along with a nosy co-passenger or feel guilty about constantly disturbing someone to use the restroom. And if you feel lonely, you have the bar area to socialize.

The cabin crew: The most friendly flight attendants I’ve come across in a long time. I guess they have to be nicer to upper class passengers, but there was something genuine in their interaction that I haven’t come across often while flying.

Virgin atlantic reviews, Virgin flight

Good movie and a better meal. What more can a flyer ask for?

The night I reached New York (and had no trouble entering the country on my tourist visa, thank you very much), I felt rejuvenated, with only mild traces of jet lag. As though I hadn’t just taken a 17 hour flight across the globe, but experienced another world in the skies.

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Note: I was hosted by Virgin Atlantic on my flight from New Delhi to New York. Lucky me!

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Have you ever flown Virgin Atlantic? Is it on your wish list?

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Join me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to follow my adventures in NYC and Central America.

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A Guide to Auroville: Things to Know Before You Go.

Over 2 years ago, when I quit my corporate job to follow my dream to travel the world, I didn’t imagine I would one day land up in a township dedicated to the same ideology. Auroville is it. A place where people come to live their dreams. I’ve come across countless stories; of a market researcher turned organic farmer; a policeman turned village school headmaster; a corporate honcho turned teacher; a teacher turned mechanic. It’s a place to ditch the life you’ve lived, and live the life you’ve always wanted, even if for a few days; here your conviction to follow your passion holds more value than your salary or title (Read: Auroville: Utopia or Something Like it). Read more

24 Hours of Indulgence in Bombay!

Back when I was a Delhi-dweller, I always felt a tad bit jealous of the way people in Bombay talked about the city; the je ne sais quoi, the laid back attitude, the cosmopolitan food. Every time an opportunity took me to Bombay, I indulged in the city. I talked to street vendors peddling their wares, to baristas in coffee shops, to the cabbies I rode with, and every time, the chalta hai way of life in the “city of dreams” shone through.

24 hours might be too short to experience that spirit of Bombay, but they certainly can give you a flavor of the city, literally and figuratively. These recommendations are compiled from my various trips, and focus on the western suburbs of the city: Read more

6 Ways to Pamper Yourself at JW Marriott, Mumbai.

Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and hit the road (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). It’s been a roller coaster ride, one that has left me craving a weekend of pampering. The last two days at JW Marriott in Bombay have given me exactly that.

Presenting to you, 6 ways to indulge yourself and your taste buds at JW Marriott, Mumbai: Read more

24 Hours in Bangalore!

I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore: Read more

Lakshman Sagar: Add it to Your Bucket List!

Over the years, I’ve travelled to and stayed in many amazing places, in many countries across the globe. Even with such high expectations, sometimes a place comes along that completely takes me by surprise. A place that makes me appreciate my life as a travel blogger. A place that I know I won’t forget for a long time. Lakshman Sagar, in the Pali district of Rajasthan, was one such place. Read more

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer: A Splash of Royalty in The Desert.

My drowsy eyes prick open at the sight of a massive fort, a short drive away from Jaisalmer city. Its rustic brown façade merges with the stark wilderness of the desert, and the sheer grandeur of India’s bygone royal era calls out to me. Khamaghani. Welcome to Suryagarh. Read more

5 Awesome New Cafes With Wifi, in South Delhi.

It was a sad day when I stood at the door of Cafe Zaffiro, sometime in May, and realized it had shut down. A cosy, quiet cafe with the most awesome food, fast wifi and friendly staff, it was one of my favorite places to work out of in Delhi. That day I decided to start a fresh search for the best new cafes with free Wifi in South Delhi (Read: 5 Best ‘Work From Home’ Cafes in South Delhi). Read more

Te Aroha: Under The Yellow Rooftops.

Every stone in Kumaon has a story. It speaks of the fierce spirit of the Kumaoni people during India’s freedom struggle. It carries the whiff of tea gardens that once flourished on this land. It looks humbly upon mighty Himalayan peaks that sit in the distance. This is the story of some such stones, stones that were erected by Sumant Batra back in the nineties, stones that became my abode for a weekend this July. Read more

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