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Finally Lost My Virginity! VS LHR-HKG-LHR  
User currently offlineToby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 77 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 20326 times:

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening everyone,

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Introduction
This is my third trip report so far reporting on the LHR-HKG-LHR sector, the first with CX and the second with NZ and my millionth trip to HK! I really ought to join a frequent flier programme with an airline! I try to fly back to HK once or twice a year and was not planning on flying back this year…what with the credit crunch and all that business until my friend emailed me saying he caught sight of fares to HK with VS for 325GBP. Coincidently he was flying to KUL with the new LCC, Air Asia from Stansted around the same time as I was flying out to HK and I asked him to write a report but he refused. Some people are just no fun; don’t understand the marvels of air travel!! I didn’t believe him at first as flights to HK normally average at about 400GBP so I thought he must have been mistaken. I checked the VS website and saw that VS were having a special sale on to celebrate their 25th birthday! Wow! It was a very special fare as it was only available for one week and as my friend told me two days before the cut off date I had to book it quickity-split!

I was still debating whether to book it as although the fare was incredibly low I hadn’t planned on going and wanted to save up to get my mitts on my Honda R type dream car (drooling starts here…) I have never flown with VS but always wanted to. When I was younger my parents would never book with VS as, quote ‘they only use a small aeroplane!’ Majority of the other carriers at the time were using B747 so compared to that then I guess the A340-300 is ‘small’!! My folks claimed it wouldn’t be safe flying on such a small aircraft and that kinda stuck with me growing up!! Even now I get apprehensive boarding a 737 jet, or even worse an aircraft with propellers!

I have always had the impression that VS is a ‘fun’ airline, very colourful and sparkly; compared to the more traditional and respectable airlines like BA. My cousin tried them out once to HK and I liked the amentiy kit they gave her, you get lip balm and eye shades and everything! She did comment that the seats were uncomfortable and the crew were not much good either but this was back in the dark ages when VS sent their A340-300 there.

So it was to be, my first time flying with Virgin Atlantic  Smile

Planning
I was actually shocked to learn that VS operates twice daily services from LHR to HKG using the A340-600, I thought they only had the single flight a day. This means there must be in the region of 10 flights a day to HKG, that’s 70 flights a week!! That is unbelievable! This by far has to be the highest frequency of direct services from London to any Far Eastern destination. I wonder why it’s so popular, well if it keeps the fares down then I’m all for it!

I decided to book the earlier VS238 which lands into HKG around noon and return on the late evening flight arriving into London very early morning. After flying with CX and NZ on their morning return flights back to LHR, I must admit I would rather fly in the dark; people are just too active on morning flights -and with me being a grumpy sod I am not too keen on this!! I did check with NZ and their fares were only 30GBP more expensive and I would have gladly paid for this but the thought of having to wake up at 5.00am for the return flight was really too much...it nearly killed me last time!

!!!RANT 1!!!
May I make a rant? I promise I don’t have many! I was just about to confirm my trip when I noticed a credit card fee charge applied to my Mastercard and was disgusted at this. Both CX and NZ did not require this when I booked with them, I only thought the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet did this to get more money. I was not impressed with this so to avoid this added cost I used my debit card until I realised VS don’t accept my debit card! Grrr…Instead I booked the same flight with eBookers who did accept it -they too charge a credit card fee which I thankfully avoided!

!!!RANT 2!!!
Trains here in UK are a total rip off!!! A return ticket from my local station to Heathrow underground would set me back a whopping £60! Unbelievable! The train companies here are an utter disgrace and expensive to boot! I had no choice I had to book using the train but realised that if I booked two separate tickets rather than one single through ticket to London I could save £20 with better connection times too, it just didn’t make sense. I don’t like using trains at the best of times and making it more expensive doesn’t really encourage me to use them any more! Plus these tickets were for specific train times and should I miss a train then…well I’m screwed to put it bluntly. An open return would just be over £110. Utter disgrace!

VS Online Check in

VS website is very flashy and easy to use and navigate around. After booking my ticket I was able to log into my account and automatically assign myself a seat. A lot of the seats were not available so wasn’t too sure if they block off some seats or if the flight was going to be full. According to seatcounter.com the flight seemed pretty light which is a good sign as I would have more room to play around! What I liked is that when you log in to your account there is a countdown timer counting down how many days, weeks etc until your next flight with VS. I booked my tickets about 6 weeks in advance and the time flew by and before I knew it I was set to go!

VS online check in facility allows you to check in 24 hours prior to departure time. I was driving home from work when online check in opened so when I got home I logged in. It’s a simple procedure to check in, you enter your sex, nationality and email and that’s about it. Once confirmed you have the option of changing your seat but beware once you log out you cannot log back in to change your seat again. CX online check in is quite a mission in comparison, wanting your date of birth, passport number and expiry date, nationality etc. Once confirmed VS will send an email confirmation to you with other important information like check in locations and airport information.

Outbound
I wanted to catch an earlier train service to arrive into Heathrow so I could explore the airport a little while and hopefully visit T5 and spot some planes departing or arriving. I don’t go ‘plane spotting’ at airports and the only time I really get to see planes in action here in the UK is when I’m planning on actually flying myself; so visiting the airport is still kind of a novelty for me. After arriving into London’s King’s X station, I took the underground direct to Heathrow which is about a 40 minute journey. I decided to continue on the tube one extra stop and get off at T5 instead of the station to connect you to T1, 2 and 3.

I spent about 40 minutes exploring T5 and the area outside affording some good views of the apron and departing aircrafts. It was not that interesting and the intense sunshine made me quickly scamper to find some shade so I decided to take the Heathrow Express to T1, 2 and 3 to check in for my flight. After disembarking the train you walk through what can best be described as ‘sewers’ with electronic people mover escalators to direct yourself to your required terminal, for me T3.

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Outside T3

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VS Check in area

I sat outside on the benches in the sunshine for a bit instead of going straight to the dedicated VS check in area as it was still a good 4 hours or so until departure time. Being easily bored I made my way to the VS check in area soon after and first impressions was that the area is really spacious, modern and bright. One thing I did notice was that there must had been 8-9 VS representatives just standing doing nothing much. I think they were there to help with self check in but I thought they were far too many and not one of them said hello or even made eye contact with me!

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VS Check in desks

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More VS check in desks

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SQ checks in desks are in the same area as VS

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Not too sure what this represents but I thought it was pretty neat!

There were very few passengers in the terminal but each check in counter had someone so I patiently waited being the first and only person in line. 10 minutes passed and I was still waiting and not one VS representative did anything, I don’t know maybe they were having a go slow day?! I started to daydream and didn’t realise when one of the check in representatives, the one from last minute check in desk I think waved me over. I think he took pity on me for waiting as I was definitely not late for check in!

Him frantically waving at me and me suddenly realising!
Me: Sorry, I was miles away
Him: That’s ok where are you flying to today?
Me: Hong Kong, is the flight awfully full today?
Him: Let me just check, I don’t think so…no, it’s quite empty actually.
Me: Ah, brilliant!
Him: Did you check in online?
Me: Yes, I did but I did not enter any of my passport details.
Him: That’s ok.

After checking in I walked around the rest of the terminal and it is in start contrast to VS bright and airy check in area, the rest of the terminal is dark and gloomy. What I do like about T3 is the number of international airlines housed making it an interesting place to see all the different nationalities and uniforms.

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Ohayoo Tokyo!

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Air China

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Cathay Pacific, my second favourite airline, after BA!!

To get airside you take the escalators to the second floor where there are shops and restaurants. The liquid restriction is still in place so I had to throw away my unopened bottle of water that I thought I would have drank by the time I reached the airport. Security is still an Army assault course to get through. A boarding card check is first required and then cabin baggage and laptops to be checked followed by a body check. I was asked to take my belt off which was a pain as I was wearing a fiddly belt and I was having trouble getting the belt off. I have a belt fetish. It must had taken about 5 minutes to take my belt off and was about this close to just taking off my trousers and walking through the body check machine in my boxers...oh wait…I was going commando!! Hahaha!!

I was a little concerned that whilst I was engaged in my belt ordeal my laptop along with my passport, wallet, bag and money had already gone through the x ray machine and I was worried that someone might take my tray with all my belongings. The security staff were useless at making sure that you only retrieved your belongings; I was given no number, like at HK, where that number you are given represents your tray with your belongings. A poor show on behalf of BAA. After that fiasco then there is a passport check and then you are required to take off your shoes for a shoe x ray.

I think you need to be given a certificate of achievement for passing through all that! Once through there is not much to do in the terminal apart from shopping or sitting in the waiting hall. Since I didn’t want to shop, apart from buying a bottle of water, I decided to walk around the gate area. I have yet to see the A380 so was absolutely delighted to have stumbled across the EK A380 being pushed back for take off near gate 3! Initial impression is that it is not as big as I imagined it to be! I thought it would be much bigger! I think the 747 looks more impressive than the A380 even after so many years of the 747 flying! I am no longer in a rush to fly on the A380 and I would rather fly on a 747 after seeing the A380.

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The EK Beast!!

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A380

!!!RANT 3!!!
After security there are no baggage trolleys to use. Therefore you are left carrying your cabin baggage during your time before you board the aircraft. I was left carrying my laptop and all my personal belongings which can be quite heavy especially when you are walking to a far away gate. Most other airports I have been to do provide luggage trolleys to use after security for passenger convenience. Not very customer focused hey BAA!

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EK 773

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ANA to Tokyo

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The SQ 773

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Gulf Airlines and American Airlines

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A better picture of Gulf Airlines

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I think this one was flying to New York, maybe I could sneak on board??

The flight display screen had the gate open time of 17:15 which is the scheduled take off time for my flight. I bit concerned I asked a VS representative who was holding a card for passengers to New York and Los Angeles to board. He explained to me that the flight has been delayed by 1 ½ hours and I should wait in the waiting area until then. Great! Since I was lugging around a laptop with me I didn’t feel like trekking around the terminal but upon seeing the flight to Tokyo open at gate 36 I thought it was worth a look.

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The display monitor saying gate will open the same time as the departure time!

Upon reaching the gate I milled around and pretend to be a Japanese passenger until the ground staff manning the boarding procedure asked if I was boarding and I said no. I decided to leave in case she got angry at me! I still had a good 2 ½ hours until boarding so with not much to do I played with my NDS and waited and waited…and waited. The CX flight gate would open at 17:05 and I was a bit gutted that that flight would arrive before us in HK.

When 17:15 arrived the gate number displayed on the monitor and made my way to the gate holding pen.

Flight: VS238 (LHR- HKG)
Date: 21/ April / 09
Aircraft: A340-600
Scheduled take off/ arrival: 17:15/ 12:30
Actual take off/ arrival: 18:45/ 13:15
Gate: 17
Seat: 55K

Gate 17 holding pen is really small, surely not enough seats for a fully laden 747. Load factor on this flight was really quite low and the seating capacity just managed to hold this number of people; although some people did have to stand due to not enough seats. We were waiting for about 45 minutes in the holding area whilst the VS crew made their way onboard.

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Gate 17 holding area

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My Aircraft

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Lady Bird Aeroplane!

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Engineers cleaning the window  Smile

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Careful not to fall!!

Boarding finally got underway calling all Upper Class and Premium Economy class passengers to board first. The ground staff did apologise for the delay due to the late inbound aircraft from somewhere. I was amazed at the number of Upper class and Premium Economy passengers booked and the handful of people left made up economy, this truly would be a very light flight! Whilst on the airbridge this god-awful smell made its way, not too sure how to describe it, it might have been the food on board or something!

I was directed to my seat and initial impressions were quite good. Seat pitch was adequate and the colourful remote control underneath the screen looked very technical. The seat was comfortable and on each seat was a red blanket and headphones. I decided to pinch a few more blankets from some unoccupied seats as it got a little cold once airbourne. The Captain again apologised for the delay and informed us that he hoped to make up some of the lost time in the air and then hoping to sweet talk the Ait Traffic Controller into letting us arrive a little early in HK. The crew were predominately from HK I gather and a few UK based crew, predominately from Scotland from the sound of their accents!

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CX747 pushing back before us cos of our delay!

I had the seat next to me free and after take off alot of people moved to empty middle row seats to lay down. The entertainment system is amazing! There are so many movies to choose from with full AVOD, plus TV programmes and audio channels to listen to. The sky map is not that good to be honest; it’s a bit slow and not as interactive as it makes out to be. I much preferred NZ sky map than VS, but what I did like is that VS has a short travel guide on each of its destinations to watch which I found very interesting. I managed to watch the Hong Kong, London, Dubai, Boston and San Francisco guide, fast forwarding the ‘boring’ parts!! I really really want to visit San Francisco; heck anywhere in America would be good for me! I think this might be an urban myth but I’ve been told that the UK large food portion size is the US equivalent of their small portion which I find hard to believe, plus I have no idea what an ‘infomercial’ or ‘frogurt’ is! I have lived a sheltered life!!

Amenity kits were handed out which was a tie string plastic type bag containing red socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, pen and a charity envelope. I don’t think VS have a dedicated inflight magazine. The movie guide doubles up as a news item one pager with details on how to use the inflight remote control along with a duty free catalogue. Meals were served soon after and the choices were predictable chicken or beef and a vegetarian option. I am not a great lover of aeroplane food and seldom eat everything however the portion sizes on board are absolutely miniscule; more like a child’s portion than anything else! A small main dish, one small side dish and a bread roll with a small cake for dessert. Snacks on board consisted of self service water or orange juice with a biscuit! Maybe I should have brought a packed lunch on board! NZ and CX both have pot noodles as snacks however VS only gives these to the crew but a crew member kindly said she would give me one but I declined as I would have to eat it in the galley area.

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Meal shortly after take off

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Pasta

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At the back of the plane.

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Empty Flight  Smile

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Crew did come around frequently with water and juice during lights out. I am not a great movie lover but I did watch Changeling which is a great film and half way through some other forgettable movie. The rest I tried to sleep and to be honest I have no idea what I did the rest of the trip but before I knew it was breakfast time. Breakfast was another sombre affair and an hour later it was time for landing. The aircraft made some spectacular turns above the water before touch down and taxi to the terminal. I spotted the first BA flight of the day had arrived before us and was docked at the gate. We parked next to an Eva Air aircraft.

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Breakfast

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Breakfast

We were required to take a train to reach the immigration area after disembarking from gate 36. I have a HK ID so used the e-channel to enter. HK airport is always a pleasure, bright, clean and efficient. Collecting my luggage took about 20-25 minutes. There was an attendant carefully arranging all the luggage so it would be easier to retrieve; a far cry from LHR where the luggage belt spits out your luggage and sometimes falls onto the floor due to overcrowding of the belt.

Past customs where I had nothing to declare and then into the arrivals hall to head home. I always feel like kind of a celebrity walking into the arrivals hall with all the people looking at you and you just arrived from some far away exotic location! I take the A43 bus to Sheung Shui city which is about a 45 minute bus ride.

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Video just after take off

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Arriving in HKG with cabin annoucement

Continued below...


Seriously dude! I swear!
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineToby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 20356 times:

Hong Kong
I would like to say a massive thank you to PlaneHunter and Satchmo for letting me know about good places to go spot aircraft. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to visit these exciting locations which was a shame as I really wanted to go. I was only in HK for about 13 days and in that time I took a 4 day trip to Shanghai, opened a bank account which took almost a full day and met some friends. Any free time I had was spent shopping and saying hello to my father’s side of the family in Sai Kung. Plus my uncle and aunty arrived whilst I was in HK so I went over to see them. Next time, I hope to spend more time spotting! But thank you PlaneHunter and Satchmo, much appreciated!

So after having more than my fair share of dim sum and in particular white turnip cake (which I love) and chicken feet (which I adore) washing it down with sweet soya milk (which I’m addicted to) it was time to head back to UK.

Inbound
I was booked on the late evening flight to LHR which originated from SYD going via HKG as VS201. For some reason in the morning I felt really unwell like I was going to be sick, it was probably pre-flight sickness or something but it quickly disappeared, maybe I needed some air. At around 19.40 I jumped onto the Airport bus to check in. My luggage was so heavy I went a little overboard with presents and gifts. Arrived at the airport and checked to see that VS was checking in at aisle E.

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Empty VS check in area

There was no one at the check in and actually one of the check in attendants was standing at the front and saw me and quickly motioned me over to her desk. I enquired if the flight was going to be full and she said it was quite a packed flight! Luckily I checked in online the previous night and chose an aisle seat. It was a night time flight so there was nothing interesting to look out at the window and plus I am one of those people who likes to get up and move around the cabin.

After check in I decided to head straight through to airside. Security was very easy; no need to take off my belt or shoes but the security officer was suspect at my 75ml of fragrance. I was really scared he would confiscate it as it was a gift from a very dear friend of mine and I would have been gutted if he took it away from me. Luckily he waved me through and then I had a quick look at the departures board. No real interesting flights that I could watch so I milled around the terminal. My mum wanted me to buy some Marlboro Lights cigarettes and as I don’t smoke I was confused with all the different varieties of cigarettes you can buy.

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Get your shoes cleaned!

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I walked more or less the full length of the terminal. I am quite interested in flights to JNB from HK, I wonder if this is a popular route! I decided to hang around gates 68-71 where there were flights leaving for Brisbane, Cairns, Dubai, Chennai and Johannesburg there were many people packed into this small area. Becoming bored I decided to head to gate 60 where my plane was scheduled to board. I noticed some passengers were wearing a sticker, I think these passengers where only connecting in HK from SYD en route to London. Boarding was called about 30 minutes and from the look of the high number of passengers it would be a full flight.

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My Fav Airline!

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Herpa Wings

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This one via BKK to Dubai

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Gute Nachte Lufthansa!

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The flight to FRA

Flight: VS201 (HKG- LHR)
Date: 04/ May / 09
Aircraft: A340-600
Scheduled take off/ arrival: 23:25/ 05:25
Actual take off/ arrival: 00:10/ 06:05
Gate: 60
Seat: 57C

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My ride for the night, freshly arrived from SYD

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Just to make sure Im heading in the right direction!

Boarding was called in an orderly fashion however it was not boarded by row numbers and it was a free for all in that sense. VS economy seat colour scheme is red for the middle seats and like a brownish for the window seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. When I got to my seat, an Australian girl was sitting at the window in 57A, she was quite boring even trying to strike a conversation with her, and so I decided she was a write off!! Lol!! I made a few cheeky phone calls whilst passengers were boarding and over heard the captain introduce and welcome us on board. He said we would have an on time departure and possibly arrive into Heathrow a little earlier than scheduled. Again the crew predominately consisted of Chinese Cantonese crew and a few more Scottish FA’s who was the supervisor for this flight. Including one call Phil I think who was very tall and looked bored whilst passengers were boarding. When he talked he had a very weak voice like he was going through puberty or something and it looked like he had been crying or about to burst into tears…or song and dance!

About 10 minutes before we were scheduled to depart the captain again spoke on the PA and announced there was a technical problem with the computer and that engineers were looking into this. He apologised for saying we would have an on time departure and said this would now definitely not be the case. At about 23.40 the captain again informed us that there was something wrong with the computers and that he wanted to shut the whole pane down for 60 seconds to reboot the system. He explained that the cabin lights would be switched off and that the engines would be quiet. At this time I was too busy jabbering on the phone to my dear friend when the lights suddenly switched off and the cabin fell silent and there I was talking loudly on the phone, like an idiot! I shut up immediately and whispered to my friend that I ought to put the phone down. It’s such an eerie experience the cabin went pitch black but then the emergency lights down the aisle lit up. People were evidently agitated by this experience but I was too busy texting, like an idiot!

About 60 seconds later the cabin lights switched on and the engines began to make their monotonous whirling noise. The captain said this worked and we would be on our way once we had clearance from ATC. The Scottish FA announced that the cabin crew should get ready for a manual safety demonstration. This is the first time I have seen a manual safety demonstration and guess what, everybody was paying attention. It was done in English first followed by Cantonese. I made a quick phone call; I know it’s one of my pet hates when people make phone calls in public places but I wanted to let my friends and family know that we were no longer delayed and on our way. Good thing too as I was worried I would miss my train in London and then have to pay for a whole new ticket!

!!!RANT 4!!!
Babies should NOT fly! I know this one is an emotive issue, but I don’t care how cute little Mickey or Monica is, but being stuck in a metal tube for near 13 hours with a baby wailing in your ear is not my idea of pleasant. This one little brat had the lungs of a bagpipe and would not stop crying and one little angel starts then rest assured the next one starts and the next like a domino effect! Please no hate mail! I love babies, really!

We quickly pushed back whilst the crew were still doing the safety demo. We made our way to the active runway and I managed to see a CX747 and 777 take off before us followed by another CX747 lined up behind us. After take off the crew started with the supper service, with chicken, beef or vegetarian option as tonight’s menu. I chose the chicken which was accompanied by a small salad and sweet bread and a pudding for dessert. Again small potions, I left the sweet pudding alone and ate the salad and made myself a chicken sandwich leaving a good portion of food left on the tray to be collected.

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Full Flight

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http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1303.jpg

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1309.jpg
Served after take off.

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1308.jpg

Entertainment started which is introduced by Sir Richard Branson and then some advertisements about VS being 25 years old and how to use the AVOD system. I wanted to watch Valkyrie which I only watched half then fell asleep for much of the flight and during breakie only watched half of Bedtime Stories, I think the movie is called with Adam Sandler. I did watch Family Guy and listened to Madonna’s album which I fell asleep whilst it was plying so it couldn’t be that good! Lol! Oh I did watch the Tokyo travel guide. I very much want to visit Tokyo now; it seems like a funky place to visit. I have been before but I was quite little all I remember is eating at KFC and visiting a Hello Kitty amusement park along with Disney Land.

As I mentioned I tried to sleep as much as possible so I wasn’t sure if the crew handed out midnight snacks but I doubt they did. Again frequent water runs were performed by the crew. The flight was quite turbulent and the captain made several seat belt sign illuminations during the flight. The aircraft is equipped with a water fountain in the middle of the aircraft along with more amenity kits. The amenity kit this time round was like a pencil case rather than a string bag but same content. The toilets in the middle of the plane are much bigger than the ones at the back so joining the mile high club would be so easy! Lol!!

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1304.jpg
Left over from the previous flight?

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1307.jpg

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1300.jpg
Seat Pitch

Breakfast was served roughly 2 ½ hours before arrival and it was either full English breakfast, beef noodles or vegetarian omelette. I chose the full English and actually ate the whole lot, which was accompanied by yoghurt and a small bread roll. Tea, coffee or Chinese tea was served after all the meals were distributed. After the trays were collected I made my way to the back of the plane to use the toilet where at this time the turbulence was quite strong. The crew at the back were busy cleaning everything away and with the number of passengers congregating to use the toilets they must have wanted to shout get the hell out of my way!!

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1311.jpg
Breakfast

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1310.jpg
Yes, people were looking at me why i was taking a photo haha! I don't care!

Just a point to note, ever since the swine flu outbreak in Hong Kong the number of locals wearing face masks shot up. Employees at the airport were also wearing masks including a large number of passengers. I decided to wear a mask for boarding and take off but found it a tad uncomfortable and took it off during mid flight.

Landing started and the crew began preparation for decent including collecting the headsets and distributing sweets and checking seat belts were fastened. We made a very slow decent into London and I fell asleep during landing and woke up just before we touched down! We parked next to a Malaysian Airlines 747 and once disembarked I caught sight of the SQ A380. It was an awfully long walk to the immigration desk and I was quite intrigued that there was a biometric iris scanning queue. The line for foreign passports was unbelievable long so too was the EU and UK (including Switzerland!) passport line. Luckily a new booth opened and I joined that line. The immigration officer took my passport and grunted at me to enter, no kidding haha but heck I would be the same if I had to wake up at 4.00am!!

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll247/tobywu1983/CIMG1317.jpg
Near London

Retrieved my luggage and headed into arrivals for the train journey home via the underground. I hope you enjoyed my trip report. I plan to go back to; yep you guessed it, HK in October / November time but most likely back with BA. I normally fly with them only recently I have tried other airlines. I have now flown every airline that operates direct flights to HK from LHR apart from Qantas and as they leave HK at 7.30am, there is no way I will be flying with them in a hurry! Change the departure time then I will definitely try them out!

See you guys in November!  Smile

Thanks, Dankeschön, merci, gracias, arigato, xie xie

Toby



Seriously dude! I swear!
User currently offlineFCA767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1724 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 20120 times:

Very Nice Report  Smile I hear you on the Train Fee's...£66 Manchester-London (200 Miles) London to heathrow would be expensive too on that Express train  Smile
We get ripped of wherever possible
You've gotta try Singapore Airlines...great airline and judging from your £60 train you might live up north  Smile
Nice pics too  Smile


User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1448 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19104 times:



Quoting Toby25 (Thread starter):
I was actually shocked to learn that VS operates twice daily services from LHR to HKG using the A340-600, I thought they only had the single flight a day

VS started flying double-daily towards the end of last year. One flight terminates in HKG with the second one continuing to SYD. But, as you discovered, the terminating flights aren't loading well and I gather there are now a number of ad hoc cancellations.

By contrast, the LHR-HKG-SYD flight is very popular. I believe it has one of the highest load factors of any flight on the VS network.

Quoting Toby25 (Thread starter):
May I make a rant? I promise I don’t have many! I was just about to confirm my trip when I noticed a credit card fee charge applied to my Mastercard and was disgusted at this. Both CX and NZ did not require this when I booked with them, I only thought the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet did this to get more money.

Most if not all UK-based airlines make a charge for credit card bookings made in the UK. Most foreign carriers may not levy credit card fees here in the UK but they may have online charges of one sort or another in their home markets.


User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 19087 times:

I agree about the high train fares in Britain. They used to be very reasonable years ago. I heard that Virgin legroom is tight. So you prefer BA over NZ. I heard that NZ is a very good.

User currently offlineBW424 From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Sep 2008, 1405 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 18759 times:

Great TR!! I enjoyed reading it.

One thing though. I am not aware of airports offering trolleys for your hand luggage after you pass security??? Do you know of any??



It is what we think we know already that prevents us from learning.......
User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 2927 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 18299 times:

I would love having to travel LHR-HKG return multiple times a year, there is so much choice!

VS, BA, CX, NZ, QF - maybe some more!

Anyway, great report, although it kinda seems you stepped on that plane with negative views of VS.

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 16997 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 18287 times:

Great TR

Like the pics.

Seems you had a good experience on VS.

Looking forward for the next TR in a few months!


Thank you for sharing

B747forever



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offline9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1860 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 18264 times:



Quoting BW424 (Reply 5):
One thing though. I am not aware of airports offering trolleys for your hand luggage after you pass security???

Changi does..



9V-SVA | B772ER
User currently offlineLXA333 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 279 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 17986 times:

Thanks for your insight and trip report on the a340-600! I will be flying the beauty in exactly 2 weeks JFK-LHR for the first time on the a346! I was supposed to fly the a346 last year but knowing VS on their JFK and EWR routes they changed the aircraft last minute to 744 on the departure flight to Europe. In the summer since they use both types to NYC it happens a lot. It feels like an eternity until 2 weeks...

Is the a340-600 better than the 744 in terms of comfort?



SWISSAIR-Worlds most refreshing airline
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4207 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 17737 times:

Great report. Meals look ok to me. I like VS, had 2 great flights to/from Japan with them, on spotless brandnew A346's, back then.
btw, you're right about traffic to Hongkong, it seems so much between Europe and HK. Really every carrier is serving the route!

Rgds
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineTiktokJAKE From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2009, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 17717 times:

OMG , OMG , OMG
When watching you announcement videos on the LHR-HKG sector, I recognized that voice. I had flown JFK-LHR in Upper Class and she was a lovely CSM. It is weird to hear the same crews voice again !


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8426 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 16877 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report & pictures, thanks for sharing.

Looks like the meals have got smaller since I last flew in VS economy.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlinePhen From Ireland, joined Oct 2007, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 16828 times:

Excellent report - great detail and lots of great pics. A very nice read! I'm loving the VS check-in area in LHR - looks very swish indeed!

User currently offlineToby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 16640 times:

Hello all, many thanks for your comments, I hope you enjoyed reading my trip report.

Quoting FCA767 (Reply 2):
You've gotta try Singapore Airlines...great airline and judging from your £60 train you might live up north
Nice pics too

I would like to try SQ one day. I have heard many many good things about them. In fact I saw the SQ girls in HK on their way to SFO - they looked all dolled up!
My local station is Melton Mowbray so I have to change trains at Peterborough. I agree train fares are disgustingly expensive. It is actually cheaper to travel from Doncaster (my home town) to LHR and that is further north than Melton!!

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 3):
Most if not all UK-based airlines make a charge for credit card bookings made in the UK. Most foreign carriers may not levy credit card fees here in the UK but they may have online charges of one sort or another in their home markets.

I didn't know this. I just realised that BA charges £4.50 to pay with a credit card on their website! I might have to use international airlines to book my tickets in the future!!

Quoting Semsem (Reply 4):
So you prefer BA over NZ. I heard that NZ is a very good

I flew with NZ last time and I really liked them. However I have been flying with BA pretty much everytime I have flown since I was a child so they have kind of been a part of my life! Hence my favourite airline  Smile

Quoting BW424 (Reply 5):
I am not aware of airports offering trolleys for your hand luggage after you pass security??? Do you know of any??

HK offers trollies so do majority of the airports in mainland China. I thought most airports offered this service but I have not been to alot of airports - I just assumed!


Quoting CXfirst (Reply 6):
it kinda seems you stepped on that plane with negative views of VS.

Really? I tried to keep an open mind after hearing reviews from my family and reading previous TR on here. But I liked VS, maybe not my first choice of airline for the future but I'm a happy customer and have no problems with the airline! In fact SRB is my idol.  Smile

Quoting LXA333 (Reply 9):
Is the a340-600 better than the 744 in terms of comfort?

I hated the seat pitch on the CX A346, that was the WORST flight I have ever been on! This is only my second A346 experience and it was ok, I still like the 747 however and would rather fly Boeing than Airbus only cos the planes are bigger. The A380 doesn't really do anything for me! Weird!

Enjoy your VS experience in a fortnight's time!  Smile

Quoting TiktokJAKE (Reply 11):
When watching you announcement videos on the LHR-HKG sector, I recognized that voice. I had flown JFK-LHR in Upper Class and she was a lovely CSM. It is weird to hear the same crews voice again !

haha! that is so cool! I am not too sure who was speaking I never had the opportunity to speak with any of the crew. Although if she was serving First Class I doubt I would have gotten the chance. Oh, maybe I said goodbye to her when I was leaving the aircraft haha!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Looks like the meals have got smaller since I last flew in VS economy.

I was really shocked at the small portion sizes. I read somewhere else on a flight to NRT that the crew kept serving them loads of snacks like ice cream and biscuits. I saw none of that!

Quoting Phen (Reply 13):
I'm loving the VS check-in area in LHR - looks very swish indeed!

Yes, the VS check in area is very smart, it doesnt fit in with the rest of T3. I like it very much.

Thanks so far  Smile

Toby



Seriously dude! I swear!
User currently offlineLHR380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 16426 times:

Great TR

Nice pics, and loved the pics around the terminals.

Do like the VS area of the terminal, have had a look now and then when im working in T3 (for what it seems is your fav airline  Smile and its a nice set up for them.

I have a pic of the 741 of Iran Air you can sorta glimpse in the EK380 pics. Those gates are great to spend a break at because of the view (Of which I shall be enjoying tomorrow)

Thanks again.


User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2797 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 16157 times:

Just remember, if you ever do come to the U.S. you certainly won't find any of those complimentary luggage trolleys at our airports  Wink I actually read an interesting article that compared American airports to premier Asian ones (like HKG) which said something like Westerners view airports as functional and utilitarian entities, whereas Asians try to create an experience about it. Amazing how subtle cultural differences can lead to drastically different results!

Though, I don't like how you can't just go right to your gate until the last minute at LHR, sit down, and relax before the flight. Seems like an awful system to me.



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlineFCA767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1724 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 15658 times:



Quoting Toby25 (Reply 14):
I would like to try SQ one day. I have heard many many good things about them. In fact I saw the SQ girls in HK on their way to SFO - they looked all dolled up!
My local station is Melton Mowbray so I have to change trains at Peterborough. I agree train fares are disgustingly expensive. It is actually cheaper to travel from Doncaster (my home town) to LHR and that is further north than Melton!!

Speaking of that...I went from Sydney to Sydney Airport $20 but the station after the airport was $5...I found this out after going plane spotting...and it's only a 15 minute walk from the next station...
Well needless to say on my return flight I paid for the train station after Sydney airport on the same line...managed to get the suitcase through that *Cough* Barrier behind someone else lol


User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1639 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 15304 times:

Thanks for the TR!
Glad to see you like VS-it's a great airline and can be a refreshing change from BA. Seeing as you're a strong BA fan, and CX flies something like 5 daily flights on the HKG-LHR route, you should definately join oneworld.


User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 2927 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 15177 times:



Quoting Directorguy (Reply 18):
you should definately join oneworld.

I would agree, but, be warned, as soon as you join an alliance, like oneworld, it can get hard trying new things. After we joined star, it seems we only fly SQ. Ages since I've flown QF, MH, EK, etc. from PER to europe.

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 13871 times:

Wonderful Trip report!

The meal portions on your flights look so small! Does VS serve such portions on all their flights or is it route specific? I haven't heard good things about the catering on VS. The famous complaint to SRB on the food quality on a BOM-LHR flight comes to mind.  Wink

HKG airport is such a pleasure, as you said. Everything is just perfect!

- Vivek


User currently offlineNQYGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 13798 times:

Hey.. great report!

I'm flying this exact route with VS in July, and been looking around for an up-to-date report. Thanks a lot for sharing.. now I have some references. Though.. that full English doesn't look awfully appetising!


User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2429 posts, RR: 53
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 13744 times:

Hi Toby,

Quoting Toby25 (Thread starter):
Thanks, Dankeschön, merci, gracias, arigato, xie xie

Thanks for the great insight TR with VS! Bedankt!

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineGT4EZY From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 1760 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 13126 times:

An informative TR, just a shame about some immature comments.

Quoting Toby25 (Thread starter):
Scottish FA’s who was the supervisor for this flight. Including one call Phil I think who was very tall and looked bored whilst passengers were boarding. When he talked he had a very weak voice like he was going through puberty or something and it looked like he had been crying or about to burst into tears…or song and dance!

Why do you find it necassary to point such things out, let alone name the guy. Almost sounds like a back handed homophobic comment.



Proud to fly from Manchester!
User currently offlineFXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7126 posts, RR: 87
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 13059 times:

I used BA over VS anytime I'm in Europe for work, but I love the title of the trip report. Great pictures, btw.

 bigthumbsup 


25 Toby25 : Good day all, I've decided to join the BA programme - don't really understand it that much. What are tier points and are they different from air miles
26 Flinhion757 : I DO care when a full softball team from college is on my flight! LOL Nice report, great pics. Did you go to the bar on the A346? -F757
27 AirJamaica : Great TR. Agree. IMO the A380 is quite an ugly aircraft. Appearance doesn't impress me at all. Much prefer the B744 any day. But the B787 looks sharp
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