There?s much more to this lounge than furniture and food, though. If you?ve got a few hours to spare, as I did, check out the Clubhouse spa, which includes a dry sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and showers and where you can get any assortment of treatments, including massage, manicure, pedicure, or wet shave. Next to the spa is a Bumble & bumble hair salon (be sure to make an appointment ahead of time, as I?m told it fills up quickly). And if you?re fortunate enough to be in London on one of the few and far between sunny days, head up to the sun deck (that?s right, I said sun deck) to catch a few rays or to enjoy an out-of-this-world perspective on all the traffic at one of the world?s busiest airports.
But just as any fast track through the pearly gates is supposed to cost a lifetime of clean living and good deeds, admission to a Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse comes at a hefty price: an upper-class ticket on one of the airline?s flights, which was about $2,200 between New York and London at press time (compared to about $650 for an economy ticket on the same flight). Of course, those upper-class tickets come with additional perks, not the least of which is the exceptional delight of an airline seat that transitions into a completely flat bed. But you don?t have to be Suze Orman to understand that most Americans can?t afford a $2,200 airline ticket. That?s why it?s good to know that Virgin Atlantic, like most other carriers, also grants its most frequent fliers -- those who have reached Flying Club Gold status -- access to its lounges. Another option, if you?re flying domestically, is to check out a Clubhouse in San Francisco, New York?s John F. Kennedy Airport, or Washington, D.C.?s Dulles International. Virgin America passengers who are flying in first class or ?main cabin select? can buy a day pass to a Virgin Atlantic lounge for just $35. While these U.S. Clubhouses aren?t nearly as decked out as the Heathrow space, $35 is quite a bargain for a slice of heaven -- even in this economy.