Afternoon tea and high tea are decidedly British traditions, even if they're not the same thing.
Afternoon tea is, obviously enough. taken in the afternoon, whereas high tea is officially and traditionally enjoyed of an evening – a distinction mostly overlooked these days, especially in tea houses and five-star hotels where high tea is as likely to be a fancified brunch as an afternoon indulgence.
However, notions of time-specific meals can go out the window when you're scooting above the clouds at 800km/h and crossing timezones with disdain.
So it won't matter much when Virgin Atlantic serves its new afternoon tea on flights starting in the late northern summer: you may as well just sit back and enjoy it.
That should be pretty easy, with the airline's signature afternoon tea designed by master pâtissier Eric Lanlard boasting handmade sandwiches, scones and an assortment of macarons.
If you're on the ground, at Virgin's London Heathrow Clubhouse lounge, afternoon tea will be properly served daily between 3pm and 5.30pm starting later this month.
Watch for the bespoke stand filled with pre-flight delights such as prosciutto, sun blushed tomato and rocket on a stone-baked Campagne brown roll, smoke salon, cream cheese and dill mint mini croissant, broccoli, goat’s cheese and crew savoury tart, homemade plain and sultana scones with strawberry preserve, lemon and clotted cream, Eton mess verrine with strawberry coulis, apple and blackberry cake, and dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce.
That's accompanied by a pot of tea or a flute of Lanson rose champagne.
“Virgin Atlantic is famous for its award-winning food and drink, and this year we’re taking that reputation to new heights,” puns Daniel Kerzner, Virgin Atlantic's VP of Customer Experience.
“We’re excited to work with Eric Lanlard and introduce a fresh take on afternoon tea to our Heathrow Clubhouse from April, and onboard our flights from late summer. It’s the first time that Eric has partnered with an airline, and I think our customers are going to love it."