My family and I have just returned from a week in Kenya. As a treat, I spent 400,000 of my flying club miles for the four of us to go Upper Class with VA.
We were very disappointed with the Upper Class service - especially on the return leg (VS672, 8th April 2012).
This is our third trip to Kenya, the second with VA. The previous time (our second) we went Economy class and Virgin Holidays, the first trip was with Kenya Airways in Economy. My wife feels that Kenya Airways Economy was almost on a par with VA UC (service and entertainment-wise; even the seat she didn't find that much better)...
As a family we sponsor a primary school in Mombasa and so we caught the 5.30am Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi and then the VS672, 9.50am departure. The Embraer190 Kenya Airways plane had nice faux-leather seats with large clear touch-screen In-Flight Entertainment.
We checked in for the VA flight on-line and seat allocations were maintained, check-in was nothing special.
The First Class lounge at Nairobi was dreadful. It was bad in 2010 when we last visited it (I am a Gold Card holder). We were invisible to the staff. Food was cling-film wrapped mini pizza, sandwiches or hot-dog sausage rolls - all of which needed to be placed in a microwave.
Hot water for tea was in a Thermos flask.
Having had no food, upon boarding we were informed that food (lunch) would be served at 12.00pm local (Kenya) time - 2h10 from departure - we had been up since 3.30am... My son was even declined a bread roll as "they haven't been cooked"... The Wasabi rice snacks were not an option.
The In-flight Entertainment was the Odyssey system with movies on a loop. Dreadful for Upper Class. Kenya Airways economy class in comparison has movies on demand.
We had to ask for drinks (no walking-the-aisles with drinks during the flight), the Cabin Supervisors (two-of) did not know what the wine list was from memory (petty but this is UC).
High tea was not pleasant - "Clotted Cream Scones" - blatant lie. I understand that food is loaded in Kenya and so locally sourced and so why not say "UHT Cream from a pressurized can".
My children are seasoned travellers, VERY well behaved and polite. It was almost as though the flight attendants wanted to avoid us, the level of service was so bad. Last to be served (almost nothing left to choose from at high tea), forgotten knives, napkins. Having to ask for a second cup of tea - this doesn't even happen in Economy!
I am a very frequent flyer with VA and have noticed standards declining sharply in the past 18 months. This is the first time that I have ever written to VA to complain (I have often complimented in X-Flyer surveys).
Having spent 400,000 miles for these tickets (plus tax), my family felt that the same value would have been obtained from Economy class (we still have access to the clubhouse at LHR anyway).
My advice: DONT BOTHER WITH VA UC TO KENYA UNTIL THEY IMPROVE THE PLANES AND SERVICE