The private curb for upper class
If you haven’t yet done this, you must. When flying upper class out of London Heathrow, Virgin Atlantic gets you from curb to lounge in under 10 minutes.
Here’s how it works: Check-in starts in the limo. The Virgin Atlantic sedan arrives at your London hotel, and the driver simply asks which bags you’re planning to check and which ones you’ll be carrying on. Before you can get your seatbelt buckled, the driver has punched a few buttons on his dashboard computer and transmitted the data to the airport, and—voilà!—you’re officially checked in, and you haven’t even cleared Hyde Park yet.As the limo approaches Terminal 3, the driver veers onto a discreet side ramp and comes to a massive, fortified gate. A high-tech camera scans the car to get a good look at the driver and to see who else is inside. The gate opens, and the car inches forward and comes to a stop at a large pylon. Another pylon pops up behind the car, locking it in place, camera still scanning. After clearing a series of these James Bond-style controls, the car then glides around the corner and arrives at a porte cochère that looks an awful lot like a five-star resort, with perfectly manicured, coiffed and cheery staff waiting at the curb to greet you, boarding pass in hand. An agent asks a series of “Did you pack these bags yourself?” questions (the valets already knew which ones you planned to check), and within minutes they’re escorting you through a private security X-ray station—no lines, no waiting, shoelaces still tied—and onward to the world’s hippest airline lounge for a complimentary manicure, haircut or massage. Not that you actually need one. Richard Branson is a genius.