This flight was to be my first time on Virgin Atlantic, I was flying with my girlfriend over to China to spend Chinese New Year with her family.
We arrived at Heathrow Terminal 3 at 11:00, 3hrs before the flight for enough time to do a bit of shopping and plane watching.
Went straight to Virgin's check-in area for the bag drop, having already checked-in online the day before, we just needed to check the luggage in. Pretty busy there, and had to wait about 15 minutes before getting to the desk.
Virgin's own check-in area at T3
Upper Class check-in
packed as normal
walked over to gates 13-22 to see what was around ...not much, just a UA 777 that had just pushed back, an AA 777 and a Saudi Arabian 777.
to get back into the main departures area I had to go through arrivals and to transfers and go through security again, what a hassle!
My boarding pass
at Gate 42, massive queue to enter the boarding area and once in the place was fully packed, looked like the flight would be the same. About 90% of the pax were Chinese, going home for Chinese New Year celebrations.
G-VATL, my ride to PVG
Another queue before entering the aircraft
view from my seat, G-VHOT next to us getting prepared for its flight to New York.
Etihad A340-541 taxing to its stand
Safety video playing before push back
Push back was at 1350, slightly late (5 mins) as explained by the Captain was due to airport congestion. The captain then gave a detailed announcement of our routing (over the baltics, through Russia, passing over Mongolia and then Beijing before reaching Shanghai), our estimated flight time, weather conditions etc.
Runway in use today was 27R, here’s a few pics taken of the departing traffic whilst taxing and holding before departure.
Iceland Air 757-200 TF-FIN
Lufthansa 737-300 D-ABEK
BMI A319 G-DBCD
British Airways 767-300ER G-BZHB
British Airways A320 G-EUUL
Air Canada A330-300 C-GHKW
British Airways A320 G-EUUT
British Airways A319 G-EUPS
British Airways 747-400 G-CIVL
After the Emirates 773ER it was our turn to line up for takeoff
Some of the holding traffic
We began our roll down 27R at 14:12
About 20 minutes into the flight the v:port system was started and headsets and amenity kits distributed
some pics of the v:port system and controller
some window views
Our current location, about 30mins into the flight and we're already flying past the coast of Holland, heading North Easterly towards the Baltics.
The drinks service didn't start until 40mins into the flight.
here’s my lemonade accompanied by a small packet of Worcester Sauce Pretzels and a wet wipe. That’s how it was given to me.
The meal service didn't start until almost 2hrs into the flight, which I thought was a bit late, if I hadn't bought a sandwich and eaten it whilst boarding was taking place I would have been starved by now. And no more drinks until after the meal.
Dinner was a choice of either Beef or Vegetarian, I choose the Beef. A choice of tea, coffee and Chinese tea came round a few times at the end of the meal.
Portions could have been bigger, although the meal wasn't actually that great, and that’s coming from someone that usually loves airplane meals.
3.5 hours into the flight and we're around Perm
Flying through the night over Russia, lights shining on the engines and winglets were left on throughout the whole flight which I hadn't seen before. Infact I hadn't seen lights that shone on the engines and winglet before either.
Lights off in the cabin, as we flew through the night. During this time I watched The Bee Movie and Disturbia, an episode of the Peep Show, filled out my landing cards and tried to get a bit of sleep.
The seatbelt signs came on a few times due to some slight turbulence
The breakfast service came round about 1.5hrs before we were due to land at PVG.
The choice was English breakfast, Vegetable Omelette or Chinese seafood congee, I went for the English breakfast.
meanwhile the sun was starting to rise
some more cabin shots
Descending into PVG
Touchdown on 35L, ATA 08:47 (00:47z)
Taxing to the terminal, as well as the many MU aircraft, there was also UA 744, NW 744, KL 744, NZ 772 and Finnair A343. Over at the Cargo terminal there was a LH cargo MD11, ABC 744ERF, EK skycargo 744 and MU cargo MD11
A line of tails plus winglet
Parked at stand 22, next to KLM 744 PH-BFP, being prepared for its flight back to AMS
Shanghai Airlines 738 in new colours taxing, delivered September 2007
the mad rush to get up and collect all belongings then to wait before actually being able to move
a few more cabin shots whilst getting off the plane
the wing seen from the airbridge
The arrivals level at PVG was very quiet and immigration was pretty quick, then down to the departures hall
This was my first time flying Virgin Atlantic, overall, the flight was pretty uneventful and but nothing special either.
The F/As on this flight were mostly Chinese, aswell as the pax which made it feel like flying on a Chinese airline.
As the flight was mostly during the night there wasn't much to see apart from a few oil field flares over Siberia, but we did fly past my home town Amersham on departure from LHR.
Took the Shanghai Transrapid (Maglev) to the airport, the top speed of the magleve is 431kph, but this time they only took it up to 300kph. I arrived at PVG at 08:36
Pic taken from the maglev as we approached the station:
Departures level, this is the check-in for domestic flights situated on the right hand side of the terminal.
The domestic departures
The Virgin Atlantic check-in desks, not many people here! the bag drop was pretty quick and efficient
Being pretty quiet we passed through immigrations and security very quickly, no queuing at all!
One thing to say first, the terminal at PVG is horrible for photography, with all the framework of the building and not being able to get up close to the window due to there being a gap down to the arrivals level, it is impossible to get a clear shot.
Anyhow I must take some pics, no matter how bad it is.
NWA 747-400 N666US operating NW026 to NRT
Garuda A330-300 PK-GPE being prepared for GA897 for SIN and CGK
Some China Eastern international departures
A330-200 B-6123, operating a MU5007 special New Year charter to TPE
A340-600 B-6050, operating MU505 to HKG (I flew on this one HKG-PVG a few years back in 2004)
Just landed at PVG, taxiing over to the cargo terminal
First sight of my ride back to London parked at gate 21, its G-VRED, one of the newer A340-600s in the VS fleet, and in the new colours (if you can call it new??)
PVGs international departures
British Airways 777-200ER taxiing to its stand after landing 35mins delayed from LHR, its 09:57 (LT) and its due for a 10:55 departure as BA168 back to LHR
My plane, still being prepared for VS251 to LHR
MU505 taxiing out for departure to TPE as MU5007
Finnair A340-300 OH-LQB operating AY058 to HEL
ANA 777-200ER JA709A operating NH922 to NRT
Looking down the long terminal
Korean Air 737-900 HL7718 operating KE876 to Pusan
Air China A330-200 taxiing by
Air France 777-200ER arrival from CDG
GA897 taxiing out for departure to Singapore
AY058 just pushed back for departure to HEL
rare arrival here in China, China Airlines 747-400 is seen here landing from TPE on one of the special new year charters. Will be returning to Taipei as AE872 (Mandarin Airlines)
Boarding began at around 09:30 and we go down one level to the boarding gate, down on this level you can get much better pics.
22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 399 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
seems not all of it got posted, here's return flight continued...
The China Airlines 744 has just pulled into gate 20 next to us
view down the long plane from the airbridge
we're parked next to an Asiana 744M on the other side, this one is in the new colours
The flight was very empty and boarding was completed in no time. We pushed back at 10:55, 20 minutes before the scheduled block time
some pics from the window as we taxi towards runway 35L for departure
Have to wait for a few planes to land before we can takeoff
Shanghai Airlines 737-800 B-2153
China Southern A320 B-6277
Sichuan Airlines A321 B-6300 next in line for takeoff after us
11:08 and we begin our flight to LHR
Passing over Chongming Island on the North of Shanghai
New seats on this newer A340-600, the remote control is much better located under the screen rather than on the side of the armrest
even with lumbar support
Headsets and amenity kit were handed out and a drinks service came through shortly after takeoff. The amenity kit on this flight came in a much smaller bag but with the same contents.
following an odd route out of PVG
and then finally making a left turn to fly north towards Mongolia about 40 mins into the flight
some flight stats
Lunch was served about 50 mins after departure. The choice was Beef in Black Pepper sauce with Rice or Chicken breast with Roast Potatoes and Vegetables
I chose the Chicken but as I had just caught a pretty bad cold I couldn’t taste it at all! looked nice though. Again tea, coffee and Chinese tea was offered after the meal.
Cruising over Northern china through to Mongolia and on to Siberia
Lights out and blinds closed as we fly towards Europe
more window views
5 hours into the flight ice lollies and mini sandwiches are handed out, juice and water rounds came regularly.
after 2 movies (watched Knocked Up and The Darjeeling Limited) and a bit of sleep and we're already in Europe
A second Lunch is served about 1.5 hrs before landing. The choice Sweet and Sour Vegetables with Rice or was Gammon and Pineapple with Potatoes
I went for the Gammon but still couldn't taste though, again looked quite nice
Beginning our descent into LHR
through the clouds and into good old gloomy English weather
Touchdown on 09L was at 15:27 after a flight of 12hrs 19 minutes
lots of VS a/c parked at T3
Iran Air 747SP
Taxiing to our stand at T3
Arriving at gate 19 next to an AA 772ER. On blocks at 15:36, 24 mins before schedule
some pics of the Upper Class cabin after the flight
and a quick visit to the cockpit before getting off the plane
We're parked next to the special Gulf Air A330-200 A9C-KF
my plane parked at gate 19
JAL 744 JA8076 arriving as JL401 from NRT
ANA 773ER JA780A just pulled into the gate after NH201 from NRT
Immigrations for EU/UK passport holders was quick with no queues at all and into the baggage reclaim. A short wait and my luggage was picked up and I was soon heading home. Heathrow's not always as bad as they say!
That’s the end of my trip on VS to PVG, overall pretty good, liked the new style seats and great AVOD system.
Thanks for reading/looking and hope you enjoyed the pics, please feel free to leave some comments.
Foppishbum From Taiwan, joined Mar 2006, 765 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 32767 times:
Awesome pictures! I remember when my dad used to work in Shanghai and my mom and I were living in Taiwan, we had to either fly to Hong Kong or Tokyo first, then transfer plane to SHA. That was a really big hassle...
Buck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 871 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 32767 times:
What a lovely report on VS. Awesome pictures too... Looks like they gave you a better service on your way back from PVG that on your way there... Typical VS I experienced VS in winter of 06 when I went to India and my flight from JFK to LHR were not the best as they say... Took my faith out of VS. But they redeemed themselves on the flights to BOM as well as my return flight to JFK!!!
Thanks a bunch for writing this trip report and sharing it with us!!!
LACA773 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3876 posts, RR: 2 Reply 23, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:
Thankyou for the awesome photo TR! ! It's one of the best I've ever seen. You took great pics even in PVG with the glass obstructing your view. I hope you'll post some of your pics for other's to see in an album etc..
StefanPAD From Germany, joined Dec 2005, 282 posts, RR: 0 Reply 24, posted (5 years 9 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report and good pics. Thanks for sharing. VS reports are a bit rare I think. At boarding for your return flight you made a photo of the f/a. Behind them is a bar. Is the bar only for upper class? Are the drinks charged? Any experiences with this service?
25 TupolevTu154: Nice report and a great selection of photographs! Exactly the same thing happened to me last week, bit of a waste of time going upto that pier. Yet ag
26 22886: First of all sorry to all who's computer I have crashed with all the pics!! and thanks for all ur kind compliments. yeh legroom was a bit tight and I'
27 B747forever: Nice TR Love all your pics. So will you fly with VS in the future again?? The VS upper class check in looks really nice. Thank you for sharing B747for
28 Thomsonfly: Hello Nice trip report, looked like you had a good flight with us! Just to clear a couple of things up, soft drinks (eg coke, diet coke, lemonade and
29 KPWM: Wonderful trip report. Truly a pleasure to read. I've always wanted to fly Virgin Atlantic, and the A346 for that matter. The service looked amazing.
30 LHR777: Nice trip report, thank you. From your pictures, the Y-class seats on VS not only appear to have poor legroom, but look quite narrow too. BA's Y class
31 PKflyer: Hey Vin. This trip report I must say was fantastic. It had pictures, detail and has been very neatly presented. It was a shame about the meal though.
32 Phatfarmlines: This is rather unusual. What is the rationale for this type of design? Good TR BTW.