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Travel test; TRAVEL; Great getaway ideas and travel tips you can trust at mirror.co.uk/travel.

Byline: edited by NIGEL THOMPSON

WHAT: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

WHERE: Flight VS601, Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Heathrow to Johannesburg, return fares from [euro]4,275. virginatlantic.com

EXPERIENCE: This is air travel at its most rock 'n' roll.

A driver picks you up from your front door and whisks you to the airport, where you check in like a VIP in a private wing.

Then, when you've whizzed through security feeling all A-list, you get to hang out in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse until your flight is called. This is where the highrollers and celebs chill while the rest of us are killing time buying chewing gum in Boots.

Free food and drinks, spa treatments and a cinema screen to relax in front of - I almost didn't want to get on the plane!

I had an hour or so to enjoy the tasty nibbles, a couple of beers and squeeze in a beard trim (an airport first for me), which I didn't need but loved every second of. And I'll turn up much earlier if I get the chance to enjoy it again.

It wasn't easy leaving this indulgent luxury behind with the prospect of an 11-hour night flight ahead. But the red carpet stayed rolled out all the way to Joburg.

I was welcomed aboard with a glass of bubbly, a big smile and the offer of a pair of pyjamas (another first), which the chap sitting next to me had already changed into.

My first time on a Dreamliner, I loved the lighting and the way it seemingly floated off the runway almost without a sound.

We had two lovely meals (dinner and breakfast), I had a glass of red at the bar (yes, you read that right) and I slept on a plane for once (the flat bed did the trick).

There really were no excuses for not arriving feeling like a million dollars - and with just a two-hour time difference in Joburg in November I was ready to go.

QUIBBLES: I've enjoyed better in-flight entertainment. Also, I needed help to get the seat into the sleeping position.

VERDICT: I'd like to be Mick Jagger for every flight I take from now on please - a chart-topper. 9.5/10

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2017
Words:373
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