Flyable From Germany, joined Jul 2009, 7 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 15256 times:
Hey and Hello to everyone
and thanks for choosing this topic. Before you start reading be aware that there are no photos included and that this tripreport is more for people who are going to plan a trip to JFK from London with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Nevertheless it's, at least in my opinion, a readable and interisting trip report...
Some Facts about the trip:
I started my trip at Frankfurt am Main International Airport going to London with Lufthansa. The trip i'm going to write about is the following leg between London Heathrow and Newark and, in special, the leg John F. Kennedy heading to London. I had no troughchecked tickets and checked in online at both Lufthansa and Virgin. Lufthansa flights were Economy and on Virgin we had "Upper-Class" on the first and "Premium-Economy" on the second flight.
And now to the t.r.:
The Lufthansa flight to London had been an pleasure, even in economy. Snacks were good and the crew had been outstanding friendly. We arrived London on-time and so I had a lot of time to spent in Heatrow. I planed in about 3 hours between the flights. The baggage had been checked trough to Newark so we hadn't to take care about this. After these three long hours in chaotic Heatrow we prepared to go on the Virgin Flight which had been changed to a 747 (Cosmic Girl). But the flight did not appear on the timetables. 45 minutes late the Gate was set and we could go on. The boarding was Heatrow-like chaotic and because of the already late gate info it seemd like we had lost our slot. So we had to wait another 1.5 hours in the plane until pushback begun. At this point i hadn't been that upset because the onboard service was just great. Refreshments and hot towls were served alongside sparkling wine and a selection of juices. Virgin Upper Class is a very good product to fly in. Besides the worn down Interior and the not well working V-Port the flight had been quite and smooth one so i could take the chance to sleep. All in all, this trip was great and is advisable. I would give him a 7 out of 10.
I spent 13 days in New York which is a impressing city but nothing for a quite and recreative holiday! As a tip: Giraffe Hotel in Manhatten is one of the best choices to be made!
And now the (long) return back to London:
Our estimated boarding time was 18.25 NY Time.
We arrived at the airport at 15.30 and checked in at the counter. There the problems begun. The agent told us that there is no possibility to check- through our baggage to Frankfurt so i had been glad that i again planed in a four hour stop at Heathrow. Enough time to take your baggage and check in again one frequent flyer might think...
We did some shopping and after security we arrived at the gate at 17.30. Our A 346 (Sweet Dreamer / VS 004) came in at 18.15 and I immediately saw that something was not going normal. Engineers came in directly and the plane had to be towed to the gate. The engineers filled the cockpit and disscused for a long time with lot phone calls beeing made. At 18.45 the captain started its walkaround and i thought that we could start boarding soon. But after stopping at engine two, which was leaking, he returned to the cokpit and 20 minutes later the boarding agent announced a delay but sayed the we could board in 15 minutes. But at 19.30 (half an hour later) he announced another delay but still said that boarding would be possible in 15 minutes. At 19.50 he again came on the speakers and said something about an solveable IFE bug......? The VS 006 (744) flight which should start boarding at 19.?? stood the gate right next to ous but no announcemt was made.At 20.15 he said that all Upper and Premium Economy passengers were going to be rebooked to VS 006 because our 346 couldn't make it in the near future. So a big mess was created because all passengers went nuts... It's up to your immagination how it was after that.
After waiting another hour in the line and at the gate we finally were allowed to board VS 6 beeing told that our baggage was transfered to our flight and that all the before shopped duty free items were waiting in the new plane. After taking seats in Premium Economy (which is also a good product, try it) i wanted my duty free bag beeing told that there is nothing for me waiting. So i showed my bills and the other paper stuff to one of the crew who took it, promising to check up. When he did not return after another 20 minutes i asked again and beeing told again that i should show my bill which i hadn't. So in the end the result is: I payed 360 $ for a Svarovski ring and a swatch- watch which is no longer mine... Some axxholxx (sorry for the expression) took it.
We waited for another hour in the plane surrounded by screaming babies and without air condition until the last passanger had boarded. The babies came into premium economy the following way. A family of four (the babies and the parents) booked one seat in Premium Econ. and another in Econ. and the parents switched between these two seats , always leaving the babies in Premium Econ. The children were badly brought up, nothing about an hour of crying but when two children cry for over three hours this has nothing to do with the lack of sleep. I still get angry when thinking of these parents... So far for that! We finally took off around 11 pm. and enjoyed an 5 1/5 hour long flight off crying and no sleep.
When we landed in London our Lufthansa flight was going to start boarding but normally we could have made it if we hadn't waited at the baggage area for 30 minutes waiting for our baggage. At this point i lost my nerves a bit for the first time. I went to the Virgin Atlantic baggage desk just to be told that our baggage hadn't been on VS 6 and is still in the bunk of our "Sleep Dreamer" in New York!!! So i lost my Lufthansa flight and the next one cost me 400 pund per person which i had to pay because Virgin won't pay any cent of it... I had to take this flight because the next day i had to work... I was done with the world after running from terminal 3 to T1 and again the same way two more times because of disscusing with Lufthansa and Virgin who didn't want to talk over phone with each other. Here i started to hate Heatrow a bit.
Finally i came back to Frankfurt 800 pound lighter and some impressions richer.
This Virgin Flight would be an 1 out of ten.
As a tip for others who are going to do this trip: Check through!!!! And don't fly Virgin!!!! They have really good products, friendly onboard crews and acceptable prices but they treat their customers like shix! Sadly, because the flying itself with Virgin is a really great way to travel.
Thomsonfly From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 229 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 14681 times:
Did you leave JFK on the 11th Aug? If so, I can assure you that the situation you found yourself in was far from the norm and my experience of the situation a much more positive one. The flight number by the way would have been the VS046 as the VS006 is MIA/LHR.
I was under the understanding too that unless the ticket is booked through the carrier has no responsibility regarding your onward carrier/connection? I thought an airline was under contract to get you from A to B in which case VS fulfilled?
Flyable From Germany, joined Jul 2009, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 14310 times:
Quoting Thomsonfly (Reply 1): Did you leave JFK on the 11th Aug? If so, I can assure you that the situation you found yourself in was far from the norm and my experience of the situation a much more positive one. The flight number by the way would have been the VS046 as the VS006 is MIA/LHR.
Sorry, you're right, it had been VS 046. And yes again, this for me as a frequent flyer had also been the worest experience ever made.
Quoting Thomsonfly (Reply 1): I was under the understanding too that unless the ticket is booked through the carrier has no responsibility regarding your onward carrier/connection? I thought an airline was under contract to get you from A to B in which case VS fulfilled?
This is my problem. I didn't book through, so no money from VS for the missed LH flight...
But my point is, that VS operates under EU Norm and there it says, that if a flight is canceleld, the operating airline must take care for missed conections, even if not through- booked.
Quoting Basefly (Reply 3): I had an similar experience with VS years ago, this time flying in on BA from CPH and on to JFK on VS.
I was told by VS ground crew that i could not check my baggage onward, only to be told by BA on the return leg from LHR that it was indeed possible. Oh and our 744 ALSO went tech in JFK.
LH checked my baggage on the first flight through to Newark. Only VS didn't on the return.
LondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1592 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 12733 times:
Quoting Flyable (Reply 4): But my point is, that VS operates under EU Norm and there it says, that if a flight is canceleld, the operating airline must take care for missed conections, even if not through- booked.
It depends on the nature of the cancellation. Airlines tend not to pay compensation if the delay is caused by "technical" reasons. It's a grey area.
In general, avoid booking connections with separate tickets because you never know what can go wrong and especially at a busy airport like LHR.
Quoting Flyable (Reply 4): LH checked my baggage on the first flight through to Newark. Only VS didn't on the return.
The first airline is responsible for getting the bags to you if they go astray en route. So, in order to save money, it seems VS is not prepared to through check when passengers book separate carriers (eg those airlines with whom VS has no marketing agreement).
Lxa333 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 301 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11901 times:
I flew on the same day 11th of august on VS 045 coming back home to New York from summer break on 747 "lady penelope". I didn't experience anything of that sort, departure at 2 20(roughly 20 min delay) and arriving at 4 46 which is a 6 minute delay. I've never had a single problem on VS after flying on it several times. Wish you better luck next time.
Reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1530 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 10766 times:
Actually I book a lot of VS offline fares (i work for a tour operator) from countries other than the UK: They DO have good through fares i.e. from Vienna to Miami or from CPH to Miami as well. Usually it is allowed to use any airline as feeder, althourgh from VIE it makes more sense to Use BA rather than OS due to the fact that BA is arriving at T3 (I have no clue why not T5) from Vienna.
Nevertheless I don't know if they have good fares from AMS. You can't book connections from offline destinations on their website, which is odd. Especually because they have a link on their website to skyscanner or dohop (not sure which one) in order to book "individual" feeders...
However if it's a through fare on one ticket it should never be a problem to check through lugguage. The only thing is that BA can't give you a boarding pass in VIE for the VS leg, you need to stop by at the transit counter or gate of the VS connection flight.
CityofAthens From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10294 times:
Shame about the bad travel experience - we all have these bad days occasionally, and your post demonstrates the dangers of not booking through especially when flying through LHR, which I agree is still not a great experience (though better than before if you can imagine that!)
Thanks for the report.
Quoting Reifel (Reply 10): BA is arriving at T3 (I have no clue why not T5) from Vienna.
A lot of VIE flights are operated by B757s which cannot accommodate containers in the hold; T5 can only handle containers so 757s have to use T3.