Virgin Atlantic reveals some of its more unusual upgrade requests

By: Virgin Atlantic

October 21, 2015

In a survey of over 1000 ground staff and cabin crew, we have revealed our funniest requests for upgrades. From blagging birthdays to broken hearts, magic tricks to marital mishaps, customers often put their creative heads on in the hope of receiving that elusive upgrade.

Would you go to great lengths for an upgrade? During the month of August, each week, we’re encouraging customers to tweet their #BestRequest for a chance to be upgraded. If you have an upcoming flight with us, you could be in luck!

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Your pass to turning left

“With such fantastic Upper Class and Premium Economy cabins on all our aircraft, it’s easy to see why our customers go to such great lengths in the hope of getting an upgrade” said Jill Brady, our Executive Vice President, Customer.

“However, with award-winning inflight entertainment, restaurant-style dining along with extra touches such as Gu Puddings, Fab ice lollies and hot chocolate in our Economy cabin, our customers are always looked after no matter where they sit on the plane.”

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Welcome drinks on board

Some of the more unusual tales customers told to secure an upgrade:

The rowing couple – One gentleman requested an upgrade so he wouldn’t have to sit next to his wife

The broken-hearted – A young man hoped an upgrade would mend his broken heart after being dumped on his birthday

The tired father – A father travelling with his family wanted to be upgraded as his baby was teething and he wanted a good sleep. Needless to say his wife wasn’t impressed!

The impatient traveller – One lady asked for an upgrade as she wanted to get to her destination quicker!

The trickster – A very famous magician offered to perform magic tricks for the crew in return for an upgrade

The overachiever – A businessman asked for an upgrade as he was in Economy but his boss was in Premium – he wanted an upgrade to Upper Class so he could wave at his boss from the bar. 

The fantasist – One gentleman requested an upgrade so he could try out the on board hot tub!!

The entrepreneur – One businessman requested an upgrade so he could meet Richard Branson and pitch an idea to him on board.

Some of the more common reasons revealed by the survey included:

  1. It’s my birthday!
  2. I’m a friend of Mr Branson
  3. We’re on honeymoon


It’s my birthday!

Our upgrade prices start from just £299 from Economy to Premium Economy and £1299 from Economy to Upper Class. Upgrade your airport experience with limos, Upper Class check in, fast track security and baggage and access to the Clubhouse with the Virgin Atlantic Guest List experience from £250 per person.

Visit our destination hub and book your flight today or find out more about how to join our seriously rewarding Flying Club.

***This competition is now closed*** Many congratulations to our winners: Mr John Murphy, Ms Amy Hookway, Ms Jacqueline Burns-Walters, and Mr Moseucaetano Menezes.

#BestRequest Upgrade Competition – Full Terms and Conditions

  1. Entry into this competition (the “Competition“) is open to entrants aged 18 years or over on the day of entry except for employees of any Virgin Atlantic company or agencies directly connected with Virgin Atlantic’s operations and/or creation of and administration of this Competition or their families or household.
  2. The prize consists of a one way, single cabin upgrade for each winner of this Competition (the “Winner“) and a guest of their choosing (the “Guest“) (the “Prize“). The Winner and the Guest must hold an existing flight booking at the Closing Time (as defined below) on any direct Virgin Atlantic route and must travel together. If the Winner wishes to travel alone, the second upgrade will be forfeited.
  3. A total of 4 Prizes will be available in respect of the entire promotion period which runs from 4 August 2015 to 31 August 2015 inclusive.
  4. To enter this Competition, send your most creative upgrade request using the hashtag #BestRequest to Virgin Atlantic through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Entries submitted via other routes or with another hashtag will not be valid. All entries must be received by 11.59 PM (UK time) on 31 August 2015 (the “Closing Time“). All entries received after the Closing Time will be automatically disqualified.
  5. The Competition entries will be judged by a panel of 3 judges who will choose the Winners based on the following criteria:
  6. How creative the entry is;
  7. How entertaining the entry is;

iii. Level of knowledge of the Virgin Atlantic brand; and

  1. The social influence of the entrant, taking into consideration:
  2. The reach of the entrant; for example, the entrant’s audience size on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram at the time of entry; and
  3. How well the entry, and entrant, engages others; for example, the volume of activity generated by the publication of the entrant’s entry including by retweets, shares, or comments on social media at the time of judging.

The decisions of the panel judges (acting reasonably) will be final.

  1. Following judging, the Winners will be contacted by Virgin Atlantic and asked to send their existing flight booking reference to Virgin Atlantic for verification purposes.
  2. If a Winner does not provide a valid flight booking reference for a flight booked prior to the Closing Time within 14 days of being contacted or before the Winner’s eligible flight (whichever happens sooner), or does not comply with any other provision of these terms and conditions, the Prize will be forfeited.
  3. Only one entry per person will be accepted and in the event of multiple entries, the last entry submitted before the Closing Time will be considered as the entrant’s final entry.
  4. By entering the Competition, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  5. Personal information submitted by entrants, Winners and Guests will only be used by Virgin Atlantic for the purposes of administering the Competition, contacting the Winners and otherwise in accordance with these terms and conditions. Please see our privacy policy at for more information about how Virgin Atlantic looks after personal data.
  6. You agree that Virgin Atlantic may, but is not required to, make your entry available on its website, any other media and in connection with any publicity of the Competition. You agree to grant Virgin Atlantic a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable licence to use, display, publish, transmit, copy, edit, alter, store, reformat and sub-license the Competition entry.
  7. The Prize
  8. The Prize will be valid one-way on any direct Virgin Atlantic route to or from the UK. The Prize cannot be redeemed on journeys which do not start or end in the UK, such as New York – London Heathrow – Delhi or Aberdeen – London – JFK.
  9. Popular dates (weekends, school and public holidays) fill quickly and Virgin Atlantic cannot guarantee availability. Some flights may already be fully booked and consequently have no seats available in the applicable class. In this instance, Virgin Atlantic will offer the Winner a total of 20,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles in lieu of the Prize, subject to existing Virgin Atlantic Flying Club terms and conditions.

iii. The Prize may not be used on Delta Air Lines, code share partners or transferred to any other airline.

  1. All applicable taxes, fees, charges and surcharges relating to the Prize shall be paid by Virgin Atlantic.
  2. Winners and Guests must abide by and are subject to Virgin Atlantic’s published Conditions of Carriage, which are available at
  3. Virgin Atlantic schedules are subject to change without notice.

vii. No further Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles or tier points will be awarded. The Winner or Guest cannot redeem additional Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to further upgrade the flights.

viii. Once a booking has been upgraded no changes are permitted. If a booking is cancelled no alternative upgrades will be offered.

  1. The Winners and Guests will be solely responsible for all other arrangements and costs and expenses including, but not limited to, transport to and from the departure and arrival airports, accommodation, car parking charges, car hire, lounge access, meals and refreshments (other than those made available inflight on a complimentary basis), excess baggage, visas (including ESTAs), passports, excursions, attractions, travel insurance and medical insurance.
  2. Virgin Atlantic will not accept responsibility for Competition entries that are delayed in transit, regardless of cause, including, for example, as a result of any equipment failure, technical malfunction or systems, satellite, network, server, computer hardware or software failure of any kind.
  3. The Prize may not be used in conjunction with any other promotion or promotional fare offered by Virgin Atlantic or any third party.
  4. It is a condition of accepting the Prize that each Winner and Guest both give consent to Virgin Atlantic to publish their name and county of residence in association with the Prize in any and all forms or media as required by law or otherwise in connection with the Competition. The Winners and Guests are expected to participate in reasonable publicity.
  5. The name and county of the Winners will be published after 31 August 2015 on the Virgin Atlantic website for a period of 30 days.
  6. The Prize is non-transferable and cannot be sold, bartered or substituted for any other prize. No cash alternative is available. Virgin Atlantic reserves the right to substitute the Prize for an alternative equivalent prize if for any reason beyond the control of Virgin Atlantic it is unable to award the Prize.
  7. By entering the Competition, the Winner agrees to release Virgin Atlantic from any liability whatsoever for any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the promotion or with the acceptance, possession, attendance at or use of any Prize (except death or personal injury caused by Virgin Atlantic’s negligence, for fraud, or otherwise as prohibited by law).
  8. Virgin Atlantic’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  9. These terms and conditions are subject to English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
  10. Promoter: Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, Registered Office: The Office, Manor Royal, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 9NU, England.

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